On 5 June 2019, the EU published a far-reaching directive to reduce plastic waste in the oceans, which came into force on 2 July 2019. In addition to a complete ban on certain disposable products such as cotton swabs or straws made of plastic, the regulation also includes a provision on closures for plastic beverage bottles, which poses significant challenges to the industry. According to the legislative text, plastic closures must remain attached to the bottle during consumption by July 2024 at the latest.
What sounds like a simple task at first represents a major technical challenge for closure manufacturers, the bottlers and the supplying machining industry. Even if the technical solution is apparent, the time frame of five years is short for converting the entire European beverage industry to tethered caps.
The requirements of the beverage industry towards the new closures are clear: while maintaining consumer convenience and quality, the new closures must not affect the cost of production, the bottle design, the bottle neck, the filling line or the capper. In addition, the closures should be available both as light-weight press-on caps, which are mainly used in non-pressurized bottles such as still water and as screw-on caps for higher demands on the tightness of the closure.
BERICAP has succeeded in fulfilling all these requirements, even if this necessitated a re-design of the existing closures. “Within the product development process, it quickly became clear that the screw caps had to be redesigned no matter which technical solution is proposed,” states Volker Spiesmacher, Director Head of Product Sales and Marketing at BERICAP. “The tether requires more space in the area of the tamper evidence band. Hence, the screw caps had to be redesigned.”
BERICAP Tethered Caps solutions can be applied to all major neck finishes
The four technical proposals for screw caps now presented by BERICAP can be applied to the same closure shell which is a redesign of the current closure. All proposals can be applied to all major neck finishes available on the market. However, some proposals perform better, if small details of the neck are adapted – this modification process can be closely examined and discussed with BERICAP experts.
The BERICAP proposals allow for a market introduction of the new closure design suitable for tethered caps at an earlier stage than the actual tethered screw cap solution has to be implemented. Thus, the redesigned caps can be readily manufactured with all technical prerequisites for a tethered version set in place when they become mandatory in 2024. The redesigned cap can then be introduced at a time that is in line with marketing activities. In addition to the screw-cap solutions, BERICAP also offers press-on caps for standard necks as well as a premium solution with customized neck finish which offers the highest weight savings on neck and closure.
“Quite typical for BERICAP, the presented tethered cap solutions do not only offer products that fulfill the EU requirements for various applications and markets but more so allow a step-by-step transition of our customers’ filling lines towards the use of tethered caps with minimal to no cost implied”, Spiesmacher concludes. “We are in conversation with our customers now and fully support them during the transition process”.
BERICAP is one of the leading global manufacturers of plastic closures, with 24 factories serving customers in over 100 countries across the world. With four central R&D centers and its own mold shop, BERICAP is particularly committed to developing innovative plastic closures to support its customers’ success.
The company puts a strong emphasis on quality. Best manufacturing practice in the BERICAP Group is centrally coordinated and implemented at each plant to ensure superior quality and will be continuously leveraged to raise the quality level further. All BERICAP plants are ISO 9000 and BRC-IOP or ISO 22000-certified.