Packages and closures for packaging

Closures for detergents. One element, plenty of tasks and challenges!

Until recently the list of packaging functions seemed to be complete. The packaging and its closure were supposed to tightly secure the product against a leakage, dispense it in the most comfortable and secure way, as well as fulfill marketing functions. Today that list gets longer and longer month by month. Soon another parameter will be added to it – weight reduction.
How to meet all these requirements, and, at the same time, remain free in designing and marketing the product?

Stopping childlike curiosity

One of the main functions of closures for cleaning preparations and those which may potentially pose a threat to children is their tightness, difficulty with opening and dispensing. The intended use of CRC (Child Resistant Closure) products is to effectively secure a medium against children’s curiosity Their desire to learn about the world is adorable and enviable in its perseverance, but being adults we must anticipate and prevent the dangers that lie in wait for them. If the detergent gets into the eyes, is swallowed, of gets in touch with child’s sensitive skin, it may have serious consequences.
Using at least two elements with the CRC marking may partially put us at ease. These elements include a safe cap or nozzle, which we will properly close after each use, and hiding detergents from children.
Planning the use of a CRC cap, we always need to remember that it will be ineffective without a proper bottle.

What to dispense and how?
Another item which has always featured in the list of packaging’s functions is the manner of dispensing. Seemingly, a classic nozzle of a trigger sprayer may be just a trigger sprayer, but it may also create foam or dispense a medium as a stream. Selection of the right type of dispensing depends on the preparation's intended use. In the case of a carpet stain remover which should stay on a stain for a few minutes, application in the form of foam will make sense. What will be ideal, if we want the detergent to enter into a slit or, for example, into grouts, is a thin and dense stream. However, spray, i.e. spraying a liquid in the form of mist in the radius of approx. 30 cm in the widest point, is recommended for products which are supposed to cover larger surfaces.
What's really comfortable is using two functions in one – spray/stream or spray/foam. In such a case, it is the consumer who decides which form is the most practical and proper for the surface to be cleaned.
When selecting a closure with the foam function, we should be aware of the fact that in order to create foam, a foaming agent needs to be added to the medium, as its absence leads to uncontrolled “spitting” effect.
In order to make the product more comfortable for the client, and avoid a surprise in the form of a stream when foam is expected, we can indicate the closure type on the label.
Sales functions
The packaging and its constituents must sell the product. Shelves in shops are laden with detergents, and their packaging is supposed to attract clients’ attention, and keep it for long enough to make them take the product, go to the check-out with it, and later return to buy it. Graphic studios outdo one another in designing labels and packaging. They use tricks thanks to which consumers are acquired. Analyses of the appearance of a rack on which competing products are displayed help develop a strategy to make a specific product stand out. If the shelf is 'flashy,' calm content will provide contrast which attracts attention, but if competitors have also made their products look milder – it's time for rebranding and focusing on more energetic colors and patterns.
We should be one step ahead of everyone else, as if sales are going well or very well, we can interpret it as a sign that it's time for a change. After all, the competition doesn’t sleep, and imitates the actions taken by the winner! While others are developing a method to copy you, think about surprising everyone with new solutions!

The above-mentioned list of packaging functions is revised on a monthly basis, and new requirements sometimes appear faster than solutions. How to move with the spirit of change?

Appearance isn’t everything

Apart from the appearance, industrial design places emphasis on numerous other aspects. In order to meet them, we need to be aware of the target group. Given the age bracket, we have to get to know the preferences and strong points of that group, but what will be the biggest favor is to meet its limitations. Suggesting a solution of not so obvious problems they face in everyday life will be a positive surprise for the client.
Those who think about detergents almost always target a group which can boast a high level of physical fitness. In the era of social media, we are bombarded from all sides with motivating slogans that the age is just a number, and limitations are in our heads. If, however, the age affects manual fitness, and the head says “I can do everything”, the manufacturer should use solutions which show  - yes, with our product you can do everything!
Sometimes thanks to little details, such as a longer trigger or proper bottle shape, people who have difficulty handling small items will notice a solution for themselves and an answer to specific needs.
Currently, obtaining the CRC certificate requires tests on a group of preschoolers, so maybe soon our aging population will require 'Senior User Friendly' certificate tests.
Maybe subtle statements on labels informing that a product doesn’t require a high level of manual fitness should become an everyday thing?

Miracles in spray!  
More and more manufacturers notice and understand that the trigger sprayer is one of the most convenient and practical forms of closure, and, consequently, try to offer as many products as possible in the liquid form and provide the client with maximum comfort of use.
The youngest members of the family of liquid detergents include starch, and even the whole iron in spray, chlorine-based products for cleaning toilets, shoe polish and toothpaste.
A client appreciating his comfort will gladly choose packaging that guarantees convenience and controlled dispensing. Offer your product in the liquid form, as it will pay off!

Mono-materiality – long story – short

Everything is supposed to be environmentally 'friendly' these days, but if we wanted to use caila cups instead of plastic bottles, it would quickly turn out that this lovely plant has ended up in the endangered species list. For this reason, we need common sense in everything.
Increasingly popular recycling, which we want to believe is conscientiously practiced, makes us think about each component of the packaging, right from the design stage, as waste.
“All plastic” trigger sprayers and foam trigger sprayers contain neither a metal spring, nor a glass ball, which are a standard elements in other trigger sprayer mechanisms. Consequently, thanks to the information on the label we can throw the entire empty packaging to plastic waste.
“All plastic” is also a perfect option for strong detergents which could react with a steel spring, as it won't react with plastic in an uncontrolled manner.
Although the above-mentioned environmentalism accompanies us at every step, at the same time the chemical and detergent industries are developing very dynamically. The ongoing pandemic has also made its “disinfection” contribution to the whole picture. More and more people pay attention to impeccable cleanliness, as well as the comfort of application.
In response to the pandemic reality, disinfectants, nano silver liquids that create antibacterial coatings on surfaces, and antibacterial cosmetics have emerged. They have become a natural item on the daily shopping list, and will probably stay in many consumers’ lists even after the return to the normal life. Comfort and safety of use need to be ensured. What exemplifies such a solution is trigger sprayers or their cosmetic versions, such as mist sprayers and mini triggers.

Weight limitations
The BDO acronym, which has been unknown until recently, is now obvious to all entrepreneurs from each industry. Companies which launch on the market products in single-use packaging follow BDO guidelines and their updates extremely closely. The changing regulations will soon lead to an increase in fees for refuse brought to the market. On one hand, manufacturers try to include these costs in the price of the product, and, on the other hand, they look for solutions to reduce these fees. They are charged based on the weight of the packaging used, so attempts at reducing it are obvious. Over the years, the weight of both glass and plastic packaging has been reduced, the main motivation being transportation, its cost and load capacity. It was in the period when nobody took care about the CO2 emission. It's as late as today that weight reduction aimed at limitation of emissions of harmful gases is being talked about loudly.
Currently, when it involves real costs, manufacturers demand that the weight is kept to the minimum.
At this point, however, we have to refer to the basic function of the packaging, that is the protection during transportation and use. We can reduce the thickness of the bottle wall and the plastic consumption in the closure, but unfortunately we can't reduce this to the point when the strength of the packaging is uncertain. Insufficient amount of the material, e.g. in the trigger sprayer, may also turn out to be risky.
There may be products on the market that weigh really little, but their quality will leave a lot to be desired.
Companies which don't conduct rigorous quality control before shipping goods to the client may expose consumers to the risk of injury with cracked plastic parts.
Polpak Packaging, being the market leader not only when it comes to the number of the closures sold, but also their quality, carries out rigorous tests, e.g. drop tests, dynamometer tests, etc. which, at the prototyping stage, will allow finding a perfect balance between the weight limitations and the amount of plastic.

When the “3R” chimera destroys itself
Many years ago the 3R – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – hierarchy of dealing with waste was established.
Reduction was supposed to reduce the amount of waste, as well its weight and size. However, when we are about to reduce weight to the point beyond which the product can’t be used for the period for which it should be used, we kill the 'Reuse' principle. Consumers who are convinced by the idea of refilling stations available in more and more drugstores or shopping in bulk containers will increasingly have to turn to retail products, as bottles and closures will not be suitable for long-term use.
Lotion pumps and bottles can be recycled when they have appropriate size and quality parameters. Consequently, the question arises whether thin bottles or cracked trigger sprayers will be considered as full value raw material by recyclers?
Rejection of  one-size-fits-all solutions, apparent cost savings and populist approaches to environmentalism is extremely important in every aspect of the manufacturing process, but when it comes to the choice of packaging and closure, it must play the all-important role.
Selection of each item must be well thought over and considered in terms of a given product. Are CRC features needed, can I afford to reduce the plastic content, or maybe the cost of a final product, which will be the best in terms of the quality, is worth incurring for what I want to offer to my clients?