BPIF Cartons’ members respond to COVID-19

BPIF Cartons’ members have played a major part in ensuring food, drink and healthcare related packaging has been delivered to brand-owners and retailers despite the huge disruption the pandemic has made to so many people’s lives.

The importance of the packaging sector has led to many governments around the world declaring packaging as an ‘essential’ industry and vital to maintain highly organised supply chains. Jon Clark, BPIF Cartons’ General Manager, said: “All our members have remained operational during these unprecedented times. They have had to adapt established working practices to safeguard the welfare of their employees. Many have also gone further and helped to manufacture vital PPE, made donations or organised activities to raise money for Covid-19 related charities. All these initiatives add up to make a huge difference.”

These are just some of the companies that have contributed:

WestRock’s MPS has also been repurposing some of its equipment and skills to help provide much needed personal protective equipment. WestRock’s site at East Kilbride, that supplies cartons to the drinks industry, has been using its specialist 3D printers to produce some of the plastic components needed to create an effective face mask. The site has help supply the local NHS Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow which is acting as the specialist centre to deal with severe cases of the virus.

Graphic Packaging International (GPI), a leading supplier of food & beverage cartons, has designed, manufactured and donated 50,000 face shields to a number of hospitals, care homes and GP Practices around the UK, including the Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust and the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Bristol. In addition to the PPE initiative, GPI has also donated the equivalent of $5,000 to a food bank located near to each of its facilities.

Alexir Partnership, whose customers are largely in the food sector, ensured the supply chain was uninterrupted despite facing huge spikes in demand as consumers stockpiled goods. At the company’s co-packing plant, a super-fast response ensured food banks were stocked for the elderly and vulnerable groups – which is still ongoing. Cartons were also supplied at a marginal cost to a leading brand owner who donated profits from new lines to NHS Charities. The Alexir team also personally played their part by raising £3,600 for NHS Charities through sponsored activities.

Flint Group Offset Solutions Division has adapted production capabilities in its Varn Pressroom Chemicals manufacturing plant in Irlam, Manchester by starting to produce and supply alcohol-based hand sanitisers according to the World Health Organisation approved formulation. As well as being made available in the workplace and industry, these hand sanitisers have also been donated free of charge to primary schools and care homes in the UK.

RAP UK repurposed its food packaging operations to manufacture disposable PPE face-shields (conforming to Category 1 PPE EU Regulation 2016:425). The material used in the shield’s construction is a high barrier protective film, commonly used in the packaging industry to protect food against bacteria, virus and other harmful pathogens. The PPE is helping to ease the lockdown in the UK and work safer. The robust RAP Face Shield is also economical making the solution a sustainable and viable option.

Coveris, specialising in the manufacture of laminated filmic board products for the food-to-go industry, has dedicated several operational lines to produce Rainbow Visors for various single-use applications. Coveris, who collaborated on the project with two other companies, had to adapt its production processes, conduct trials, and scaled up capacity to meet the technical standard required.

Harrison Packaging wanted to support its local community and partnered with Age UK Teesside, the company’s nominated charity, to donate chocolate gift packs to raise the spirits of local elderly residents isolated due to Covid-19. Also, aware that many local charities were struggling during these unprecedented times, Harrison extended its support to embrace ten other local charities.

Transcend Packaging has adapted its manufacturing processes to produce protective face shields. Made from reinforced paper boards and recyclable materials, the inexpensive visors are designed for single use and to be recycled. Transcend collaborated with Life Sciences Hub Wales to meet all standards required for use by NHS Wales, frontline and key workers, and nearly 3 million shields have been manufactured. The versatile face shield can be used by all sections of the population.

For more information, please contact Jon Clark

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