A warm welcome to the latest business to join the 3M BIC community – ECO PACK Technologies – an innovation company specialising in developing and commercialising sustainable packaging solutions for Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical companies that supply to major FMCG retailers.
Martin Leeming, Managing Director of ECO PACK shares more about the future of sustainable packaging, the company’s plans for product development and breaking into global markets and why the 3M BIC is a great place to work.
Tell us about ECO PACK Technologies and the team based at the 3M BIC.
We have recently been acquired by Ault Alliance Inc, an American company specialising in disruptive, digital technologies that have sustainability and productivity at their heart. We are now in the process of recruiting a team of Engineers and Commercial people who are passionate about the Environment and can take ECO PACK Technologies to the next level.
What projects are you currently working on?
We have developed and commercialised a fully digital stretch wrap packaging machine to replace wasteful and expensive heat shrink tunnels used in secondary (transit) packaging. Heat Shrink Tunnels require many Megawatts of energy and many tonnes of plastic in order to form robust packs so, by eliminating heat from the packaging process, we can reduce energy requirements by over 90% and plastic use by up to 70%.
What’s more, because heat has been eliminated, we are able to use biodegradable and compostable films. We are now working on projects to broaden our product offering and to support our existing customers in their constant efforts to improve productivity.
What made you move to the 3M BIC?
As we scale up, we need to have the right infrastructure in place to deliver the projects we already have and to recruit the talent that we need. Access to 3D printing and the expertise available from the Engineering and Business functions at the University of Huddersfield is the perfect way for us to leverage our own in-house design expertise and provide challenging and rewarding projects to students. The conference and display facilities are also a great way for us to engage customers in a setting that is second to none.
Why do you like being based at the 3M BIC?
In short, it’s a win win. It’s a great place to work! We have our own office which overlooks the river that provides a quiet and professional workplace, yet we have access to a lot of equipment and expertise literally on our doorstep. We are looking forward to engaging with a lot more of the facilities that are on offer.
What should we be looking out for in your industry?
The UK Plastics Pact and Net Zero are on their way and moving to our “Cold Wrap” technology ticks all the boxes. Companies must meet the targets set by the UK Plastics Pact by 2025 namely; to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging; for 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable; for 70% of plastics packaging to be effectively recycled or composted and for a 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
Targets for Net Zero are set by companies themselves, but most have ambitious target to reach Net Zero by 2030 or 2035. Reducing energy use by over 90% and plastics by up to 70% significantly reduces the carbon footprint of Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers.
What are the future plans for ECO PACK Technologies?
There are millions of heat shrink tunnels worldwide and we want to replace them all. Once we are firmly established in the UK, we have our sights set on Europe, the USA and Asia. It’s a big ask, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!
More information about ECO PACK can be found here.