DS Smith Plastics Bilzen takes a leap forward in the sustainable development of beverage packaging by designing a returnable pack that fits inside reusable crates and can be stacked without a crate.
The beverage crate industry was one of the first industries to adopt what is now known as a truly circular approach to packaging products. The DS Smith Plastics design team in Bilzen, Belgium was challenged to take the concept to the next level by designing a solution to combine returnable crates with returnable packs. The amazing teamwork of the young and environmentally conscious design team resulted in Fillbee®, a returnable four or six pack that can be designed for any shape of bottle. The packs fit in beverage crates or can be stacked. The innovation offers benefits on multiple levels.
Today, returnable bottle crates are used with loose bottles or with one-way packs. Therefore, breweries had to invest in two types of filling lines. The new returnable pack fits into regular returnable crates, so the bottles can be placed directly into the baskets on the existing filling line for loose bottles, thus simplifying the production line complexity and lowering investments tremendously.
The shelf ready packaging protects the bottles and is easy to take home, easy to store and easy to return empty bottles to the store. The durable packaging can be stacked when full thanks to the unique feature at the bottom of the pack that prevents direct pressure on the crowns of the bottles to avoid CO²loss. Furthermore, the large, recyclable IML labels allow for easy branding at POS and the application of barcodes to scan the products.
Waste prevention is the most efficient way to reduce CO² emissions. This ‘mini crate’ was designed to fit in a closed loop deposit scheme and meets all the requirements to minimize environmental impact: combined with reusable glass or PET bottles, they are 100% reusable and 100% recyclable, eliminating consumer waste completely. Furthermore, DS Smith Plastics has the technique to produce crates and Fillbees out of 100% post-consumer waste.