Packages and closures for packaging

Limits of slimming down

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), as defined in Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC, is 'a set of actions obliging producers of products placed on the market to take financial or financial and organizational responsibility for their management throughout the life cycle of the product, that is, both during its period of their use, but also when it becomes waste, including separate collection, sorting and treatment.
 That obligation can also include organizational responsibility and a responsibility to contribute to waste prevention and to the reusability and recyclability of products Producers of products can fulfill the obligations of the extended producer responsibility scheme individually or collectively.”

It, therefore, means that you are responsible for what you’ve created or what you have put on the market. From the very beginning until the very end.
The provisions of this directive don’t apply to us, as a supplier of closures, in terms of the new law, but will apply to our clients, as they are the ones who put our products on the retail market.

Consequently, we feel obliged to comment on it.
The EPR is to take effect next year, but we are already receiving inquiries about the possibility of slimming our products down, as the 'quasi-tax' associated with the EPR will be charged on the weight of waste entering the market.
Although we associate weight loss with health-promoting activities, unfortunately, it may not end that well for our products.

When designing closures for packaging, we take into account both esthetic and technical factors. The variety of our offer and the possibility of modifications should meet the market needs in terms of esthetics.
The second aspect, however, doesn't give us much room for maneuver.
The choice of the thickness of the material used in them was determined by several factors - durability, determined in proportion to the expected period of use. It was intended to be the period in which a product should be consumed.
The second type of optimization had to do with economy, the manufacture of the product had to be as cost-effective as possible, but also its subsequent transport had to be as cheap as possible, and that is determined by the weight.
Every micron in the thickness of, for example, a trigger sprayer, multiplied by the millions of such products we transport between the factory, our warehouse and the end client turn into extra kilograms. Those kilograms would increase not only transportation costs, but also CO2 emissions, which we have been closely paying attention to for years.  We can therefore confidently state that, in economic terms, our products are already optimally slimmed down.

Apart from being economically and environmentally efficient, our products must be safe!

Today, the 'extended producer responsibility' is understood unambiguously, but for years the word “responsibility” has meant something more to us.
Our responsibility is to deliver to clients a safe and full value product. At the same time, we have to provide tips on how to treat it once it’s no longer useful in its original function, i.e. what waste fraction it should be thrown into, so that it can be recycled.
If, in line with the 'new' responsibility, we began to supply products that are lighter, thus thinner, less durable, and consequently brittle, our existing responsibility would lose its meaning.
Plastic is a material which can have sharp and dangerous edges when it breaks down or cracks. Such damage may take place during transportation, and expose the person unpacking the goods to injury. The closure could also be damaged while the consumer is using the product, e.g. cleaning or taking care of the body. Complaints and maybe even lawsuits could redefine responsibility for what is marketed.

Transportation and storage themselves can put products at risk. The weather conditions in which they take place are really varied. Heating the plastic increases its plasticity, which under uncontrolled conditions leads to deformation, whereas subsequent cooling would fix the new, unplanned shape. The entire body of the closure and tube are exposed to such a reaction. Surrealistic shapes could be interesting, from the artistic point of view, but finding amateurs of such applied art among our client could be difficult.
We recommend that our products aren’t exposed to temperatures outside the range of 5 - 40 degrees centigrade, and for a thinner plastic layer this range would have to be much narrower. If transportation companies complied with them, they would incur additional costs
Internal quality control

Quality Control is one of the most important departments of our company, and its employees don’t accept any compromise. A separate text has been written about the work of this department, but it’s worth briefly mentioning two tests that our products undergo. The first of them is checking the closures’ durability by means of a dynamometer. Each of them has a certain pressure force standards it needs to meet. By reducing the thickness of the plastic used, you may find that the product will already crumble at the testing stage, thus disqualifying the entire batch from sale.
The second one is the drop test. The product is thrown in special conditions. After all, nobody said  that laboratory work has to be boring. This test is a simulation of the conditions in which the product is transported, stored and used. If our closures or packaging were to break at any of these stages, it would pose a danger to the user, which our quality control won’t allow! 

Quality vs environment protection
Another noteworthy aspect is the juxtaposition of the product's durability with environmental considerations.
Even if it's a single-use product, it must be of sufficient quality to serve its purpose. It would be highly unecological to let a client use a trigger sprayer that would start to disintegrate halfway through a bottle of cleaning fluid, forcing them to look for a new closure on the market.
Apparent savings - made by us as a producer on material and by the entity placing the product on the market on EPR fee per product weight would ultimately be uneconomical for the consumer and environmentally unsound for the Planet.

Re-fill service without a lotion pump
More and more cosmetic companies and drugstores offer refill services for cosmetic or detergent products. We can buy a bulk pack or doypack of, for example, handwashing liquid to refill the  bottle with a lotion pump we already have.
We can also take advantage of the refill services offered in drugstores, for which we also need our own bottle.
Consequently, if our closures were as lean as possible, on the brink of breaking, they wouldn’t allow us to be green.

We often notice that certain actions branded as “environmentally friendly” have nothing to do with that.
We don’t disregard common sense in everyday choices made by company purchase departments or private individuals.