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Navigate The Path To A Better Bottle

Don’t forget the four paths to bottle optimization: economics, function, aesthetics, and environment.


Brand owners invest incredible energy developing and marketing their products. And they don’t let the energy level drop when selecting the bottles required for those products. This packaging needs to protect the contents, attract consumer attention, reflect the value of the brand, and meet goals for recycling and sustainability. 

But whether you’re about to launch a new product or looking for ways to optimize the bottles in your current product range, optimizing design and manufacturing can be a complicated endeavor. Break it into manageable chunks by considering the four paths to bottle optimization.

 

Economics

In the packaging industry, the difference between financial success and failure can be as little as $0.01 per bottle. Typically, more than 50% of the cost to produce polymer bottles comes from raw material cost; so there’s a great incentive to reduce the amount of polymer required per bottle. It sounds easy, but lightweighting brings its own challenges. Reduce the weight (bottle thickness) too much, and you lose mechanical performance and potentially compromise the packaging function. Think: bottles that arrive at the store crushed by the rigors of shipping. Reducing polymer use is not the only way to lower total cost per bottle. Other considerations include:

  • Cost-to-color reduction
  • Optimized layer structure
  • Material selection
  • Buoyancy offset
  • Improved changeover

It’s often possible to identify multiple complementary design changes that will amplify per-bottle savings.

 

Aesthetics

A bottle’s appearance speaks volumes about what consumers can expect from a product. Dark blue bottle in the shampoo section of the store? There’s a good bet that it’s marketed to men. Pink and sparkling? Sounds like bubble bath for kids. Some color cues are fairly obvious, but as the number of niches within a product group grows, it’s critical to understand how even slight changes in the aesthetics of a bottle can influence consumers. And don’t stop with color; a package’s touch, shape and even smell also should be carefully considered. When you get all of these right, your bottles’ aesthetics will attract consumer attention and deliver the correct product messaging to your target market to enhance your brand’s value and your reputation. 

 

Function

Depending on the product, your bottles may need a number of functional attributes. Additive technology exists to deliver greater function to bottles, including: 

  • Gas barrier solutions (Oxygen, MVTR)
  • UV absorbers & light blocking
  • Infrared reheat absorption
  • Acetaldehyde scavenging
  • Drop impact performance
  • Anti-static performance
  • Ease of evacuation
  • Scratch and mar resistance
  • Anti-counterfeiting technology (overt and covert)

In many cases, functional additives can be blended with colorant to make dosing even easier and improve manufacturing quality and efficiency. 

 

Environmental footprint

There are many ways to meet your goals for sustainable manufacturing. The challenge is minimizing environmental footprint without negatively affecting design, aesthetics and bottle performance. What steps can you take to meet your environmental goals? Some options to consider:

Increase regrind content without affecting appearance and function

Reduce energy use during conversion with cycle time reduction (CTR) additives and infrared absorbers

Consider protective packaging that extends product shelf life 
Select material combinations and package designs that are easier to recycle
Use functional additives to maximize lightweighting potential

The most effective way to reduce the environmental footprint of polymer bottles is to reduce their weight - with all of the considerations that go into that. Take a step in isolation, and it could create problems in other aspects of your bottle optimization program. 

Tackle the challenge with an approach that includes all four paths, and you will be well on your way to an optimized bottle.

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