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Reducing the CO2-emissions of packaging by 23%

At BKI Foods in Aarhus, Denmark, three layers of packaging have turned into two in the well-known red BKI coffee packaging. This has resulted in a 23% CO2 reduction while the packaging is now 100% recyclable. The transition has not been without problems. Both operators, the management and distributors have been closely cooperating to get the production working smoothly with the new materials.

The goal was to make it easier to sort the trash of the emptied coffee package from BKI, when the biggest industrial coffee roastery in Denmark began a phasing-out process. A process from one type of packaging into a substitute that is more eco-friendly.”It is an increasing demand from customers and the surroundings, that we are working from a sustainable perspective. We were completely clear about the zero tolerance for being confronted with not being part of the development. Therefore we ourselves began to develop the reusable foil for our coffee”, says Jakob Skovgaard, Manager of Packaging, based on the process that the company has been going through the last couple of years.

Beforehand the packaging consisted of three layers – two different layers of plastic and one metallic layer in the middle. After years of development work, the end result is a bag that certainly does not look the same to the consumers as it used to, but differentiates in terms of now consisting of two plastic layers and the fact that it is 100% recyclable. Additionally, it enforces a 23% CO2 reduction and a 15% reduction in the use of foil.

Operators have a keen look at the machines

Even though the final results always are a big satisfaction for the company, the road has always been full of challenges, which demanded broader cooperation across the entire company. “We have had a problem with our new foil. It creates static electricity, while it runs on the machines. A challenge like this is solved by ideas from the daily machine operators and the foil suppliers”, says Jakob Skovgaard. “The advantage of involving the daily operators is, that it is actually those people who look at the machines every day. Therefore they often come up with good ideas in terms of how upcoming challenges can possibly be solved”, explains the Manager of Packaging.

One of the people who are engaging with the machines on a daily basis and contributed in developing the new foil is Jesper Laursen. He is an unskilled operator and has worked with machine maintenance and product packaging at BKI coffee for six years. “It has been difficult, but I really enjoy being challenged in my everyday work instead of doing the same tasks all over again and again every day. It has helped in developing products, which had never been seen on the market before – starting from scratch until the final product reaches the store – that is cool”, says Jesper Laursen.

Interdisciplinary cooperation pays off

Manager of Packaging, Jakob Skovgaard accentuates the broad cooperation as the crucial reason, that BKI succeeded with their new foil. “The most important part of having succeeded in a project like this is our great cooperation. When one is cooperating, you need to collect a group as interdisciplinary as you can. In our case, it has been the supplier, our daily operators, our buyers, the production management as well as technical managers”, says Jakob Skovgaard and adds: “We are very proud of this particular result, and we can use everything we have learned along the process, in our future work in changing foil into packaging. We are not done – this is only the beginning”.

Source: Industriens Uddanelser