By TOMOYUKI IZAWA/ Staff Writer
March 9, 2019 at 07:30 JST
Industry leader Toppan Printing Co. has developed an innovative paper container for shampoo and other liquids, featuring a seamless base to prevent water from seeping in.
The "Cube Pack" uses about 75 percent less petroleum-derived raw material than conventional plastic products, company officials said, but the path to innovation did not come easy.
"To start with, we had to change our way of thinking, which was quite a task in itself," said 51-year-old Noriyuki Sasaki of the development team.
Conventional paper packages for bathroom use typically are not water proof, causing mold to grow over time.
Some existing paper package products, such as those for beverages, are designed to prevent liquid from seeping out, and one of the first tasks was to move away from that line of thinking, the team said.
The Cube Pack is made by gluing two sheets of paper together and blowing air into the space in-between, eliminating the problem posed by paper edges on the bottom surface.
Toppan is currently making machines capable of inflating the Cube Pack.
As plastic waste flowing into ocean waters has become an urgent global issue, there is an increasing need for products that use less or no plastic material.
Toppan began shipping samples of the new product in February to daily goods manufacturers, cosmetic makers and other clients. It is hoping to set the price of Cube Pack products at about the same level as their plastic counterparts and have them sold commercially from around autumn next year.
The plastic components of the new product include a film for waterproofing and freshness preservation, the cap and the pump. Toppan plans to replace them in the future with bioplastic, which is made from plants or other raw materials.
Toppan has received inquiries about the Cube Pack from potential partners in the food, pharmaceutical and other industries, company officials added.
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