As part of its sustainability initiative, UNITED CAPS has developed a new polypropylene mixture that requires 40% less plastic than conventional materials as the basis for its GREENCAP product. CEO Benoît Henckes explains its advantages, and outlines his company's customer-led ethos.
Benoît Henckes: UNITED CAPS has invested in the development of sustainable caps and closures such as the GREENCAP, which is a groundbreaking closure for baby milk powder. The polypropylene mixture that was specifically developed for it reduces the use of plastic within the product significantly and, therefore, noticeably improves the CO2 balance.
The GREENCAP is the thinnest, lightest closure in its class. It can be processed at 550 caps a minute, which is twice as fast as standard alternatives. Clients profit particularly from the high material stability and flexibility of a product that weighs about 50% less than conventional equivalents, and you won't find a lower price among comparable polyethylene products.
Demand is high, with almost 300 million GREENCAPS produced every year. If these were to be stacked on top of each other, they would form a tower 1,352 miles high, which is about the distance between Liverpool in the UK and Rabat in Morocco. Production plants are located in Greystones (Ireland), Hoboken (Belgium), Wiltz (Luxembourg) and Messia (France).
All caps and closures are exclusively produced within the EU, under strict rules regarding work safety, employee protection and wage fairness.
UNITED CAPS is also committed to climate protection. In the last four years alone, it has able to reduced its CO2 emissions by 14% and energy consumption within its factories by a tenth. It also reduced production of waste materials by 40%, and 85% of all factory-generated rejects are recycled. Every production plant is ISO 14001 certified.
Firstly, all caps and closure systems are sufficiently safe, consistent and high-quality to make the processing efficient and environmentally friendly. Secondly, production must use as little material as it can. Thirdly, products must be as light as possible. These priorities enable UNITED CAPs to preserve the environment as well as resources, and to reduce CO2 production during transportation.
Yes, it does. Research and development is an important factor in its success. About half of its developing projects are customised order developments. The iconic flower-shaped closure for the Belgian water brand Wattwiller is a good example. Its low opening torque enables extraordinary convenience, with no compromise on product safety. The other half are standard products, but these also often set trends in the market. The GREENCAP, for example, exceeds today's standards and already fulfils the requirements of the future. Another great example is DOUBLEFLOW for edible oil. This is a precision pouring instrument that features a unique droplet shape that provides unprecedented control and security. It's light, attractive and spill free.