1. really crystal clear?
Can glass packaging make a significant contribution to greater sustainability in the packaging sector?
The challenge: There are many: the reduction of material, of energy requirements, a longer shelf life and also better break resistance and the use in the reusable sector as a long-lasting high-barrier material with a wide range of applications.
The solution approach: One would be, for example, the refinement of glass for more strength, the use of regenerative energy, simpler production processes (such as the solution of ReViSalt) and the standardization of packaging to enable broad areas of application.
Sustainability potential (one to five stars): With new technologies, certainly 4-5 stars.
2. zero waste city?
Is the Zero Waste City concept applicable to all cities?
The challenge: What would be needed is the provision of a simple take-back system, sufficient space for take-back stations and, finally, the bundling of transport in urban areas.
The solution: Installing your own collection stations, using the expertise of the waste management industry and establishing washing centers. However, municipal communication with households will be particularly important. And finally: the transformation from waste fees to reuse fees would have to be initiated.
Sustainability potential (1-5 stars): 3. The problem will be competition with private operators, but the advantage will be the logistics and infrastructure already in place.
3. AI vs. plastic
Can AI make a significant contribution to increasing the recycling rate of plastic packaging?
The challenge: It is obviously difficult to predict qualities of plastics from the consumer waste stream (yellow bag) that can then be used for recyclate. The use for food and body care products has also yet to be achieved. In addition, consumer acceptance must be correspondingly high or the packages must not differ from Virgin Material.
The solution: better sorting, because the labeling of packaging per se allows a more accurate quality classification. New methods of pretreatment can also increase the necessary consistency of quality.
The sustainability potential: 2 to 3 - at least as long as many recyclate applications for foodstuffs are still not legally permissible.
4. binding without composite?
Can we ever use fiber composite packaging without compromising product protection or food shelf life?
The challenge: Fiber packaging must be equipped with barriers and functions to protect the products on the one hand, and at the same time allow paper recycling to recover at least the fiber content.
The solution approach: A variety of new barrier solutions are currently coming onto the market. These are either bio-based or fossil-based, as thin barriers that are sprayed on, or films as well as laminations that must be able to be removed in the recycling process.
Sustainability potential: 4 stars, once paper recycling and fiber recovery are possible.
5. What does artificial intelligence know?
How much will AI be able to help us assess or improve packaging concepts in terms of sustainability?
The challenge: Certainly, it is not easy to create a single source of truth to have a basis for assessing the multiple parameters, to put these multiple levels of relationships of the parameters into the right context, and to weight the parameters in a comprehensible way. And then these results must be prepared in such a way that they can also be understood by companies. So it boils down to the question: which AI solution is right?
The solution approach: AI will probably not present the final solution, but in a short time it will put the diverse parameters into an assessable context. Companies will receive a basis with which they can subsequently weight the various options for themselves. However, due to the complexity of the interrelationships, AI can also be used as an 'authoritative' specification for decision-making to refer to. So what the AI 'says' is then the legitimate solution.
The sustainability potential: only the AI probably knows that.