In the at-times heated debate over plastic packaging, this central aspect is often neglected: when it comes to protecting sensitive and easily spoiled food products like cheese, meat or sausages, in many cases there are hardly any equivalent alternatives for plastic packaging. “Choosing not to use plastics often means making significant sacrifices in product protection and shelf life,” says Erik Bouts, Spokesperson for the Senior Management of the SÜDPACK Group. Meat products, for example, have a longer shelf life of up to 25 days – without compromising on quality and hygiene. And SÜDPACK films deliver similar benefits for many other food products.
“Plastic packaging and sustainability are by no means opposites,” Erik Bouts says. “On the contrary: nothing has such a strong negative impact on the climate budget as the loss of resource-intensive products due to spoilage or damage. Our films prevent precisely these types of loss – and actively help protect human beings and the environment.”
Just how essential this aspect is can be seen in the current SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 pandemic: “Thanks to their excellent barrier properties, our films also and especially protect their contents from contamination by bacteria or viruses,” says Erik Bouts. “Our solutions are extremely durable – without compromising the quality of the packaged product.”
This high level of protection explains why the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture now has classified film packaging solutions as system-relevant: by ensuring safe transport and helping citizens to plan and set aside provisions, they are a critical component of providing the population with safe, uncontaminated food products. Consequently, for the past several weeks film production has been running at full speed at SÜDPACK headquarters in Ochsenhausen and its other sites. “Our employees are giving their all to ensure there are no shortages in the availability of film packaging”, emphasizes Erik Bouts. “In some cases, we’ve added extra shifts – and at the same time, introduced even stricter safety measures.”
Safe packaging for medical products
Not only for food products but also in the Healthcare sector film packaging solutions have become practically indispensable: in order to ensure the safety of patients and medical staff alike, sterile packaging is required for syringes, bandages, diagnostics and countless other healthcare products. Film packaging solutions are the first choice here since they not only protect against damage but also against contamination with germs.
SÜDPACK Medica manufactures tailor-made film packaging solutions for a broad range of medical, pharmaceutical, and diagnostic products – some of which are now being used to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19. In Switzerland, SÜDPACK Medica has been a system-relevant KRITIS supplier and member of the Swiss MedTech association since many years. “In this critical situation, we bear a special responsibility”, says Thomas Freis, Managing Director of SÜDPACK Medica. “Ensuring the safety of our employees, society at large, and patients around the globe who depend on safe health technology, pharmaceutical and diagnostic products is part of our core values.”
For the past 30 years, SÜDPACK Medica has manufactured packaging solutions in accordance with the most stringent hygienic standards, and in ISO 7 and ISO 8-certified clean rooms. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, SÜDPACK Medica has made these standards even stricter and introduced additional measures to ensure e.g. the necessary distance between individual employees. “Our production sites are running at maximum capacity to safeguard the availability of urgently needed packaging for medical products,” says Freis. “We reassess our priorities on a daily basis, so as to best respond to the most time-critical demands in connection with COVID-19 and do our part to combat this pandemic.”
Part of a comprehensive sustainability strategy
Protection and safety, both in its manufacturing processes and in the products themselves, are central elements of SÜDPACK’s company-wide sustainability strategy, as manifested in their roadmap for sustainable film packaging: achieving resource conservation through downgauging as well as better overall recyclability through the use of recyclable materials and renewable raw materials are two important parameters that SÜDPACK uses to measure its own progress in terms of sustainability. Over the past few years, the company has made major advances in all these areas: today, SÜDPACK offers more sustainable product variants in every product segment of its portfolio. “We’re proud of the fact that we’re now one of the leading providers of safe and sustainable film solutions,” says Erik Bouts.