Paper production in Laakirchen and Steyrermühl is undergoing radical changes. The two sites - in future both part of the HEINZEL GROUP - are to grow together into a center for sustainable packaging papers, renewable energy and wood processing. Several key projects are planned and the projects are being presented at a press conference of Laakirchen Papier AG on Wednesday, December 6th: from the conversion of the paper machines to the production of sustainable packaging papers to the conversion of the energy supply to renewable energy sources through the use of existing recyclable and residual materials to the expansion of district heating. The HEINZEL GROUP is pursuing ambitious climate targets, focusing even more on the circular economy and planning to significantly reduce its consumption of fossil natural gas.
At Crown, we continue to prioritize initiatives that enhance sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is reflected in our Twentyby30 sustainability strategy, which includes a commitment to dedicate at least half of Research & Development (R&D) efforts toward minimizing the footprint of our products and manufacturing processes. Our ambitious plan also strives to decrease GHG emissions by reducing packaging material use by making aluminum cans 10% lighter in weight by 2030 (compared to a 2019 baseline).
In 2021, after several years of intensive development efforts, our R&D and Customer Technical Services (CTS) teams achieved a 4% global average reduction in our standard 12 oz. (330 ml) can weight. The CTS team, composed of expert engineers offering training and production analysis support, was pivotal in ensuring these lighter-weight cans did not sacrifice performance or the critical barrier and strength properties that brand owners’ demand. Lightweighting efforts add to metal’s superior properties in terms of recyclability and the benefits are compounded as the material circulates through the process time and time again. Weight reductions allow us to produce more cans with the same amount of aluminum used previously for standard cans, which has a positive impact on GHG emissions through energy savings.
To celebrate these achievements, our own commemorative can, known as “Libra,” was born. Weighing less than 10 grams, it is a creative way to celebrate years of collaborative partnership with our customers, who helped us achieve this lightweighing milestone by making their equipment available for full line filling and processing simulations with the CTS team. The commemorative cans were decorated using our advanced Accents™ variable printing technology and feature 24 different variations printed across two runs. They were produced in our plant in Kechnec, Slovakia.
All Crown employees in the EMEA region received a personalized “Libra” can as part of the celebration. The design also features a quick response (QR) code which links directly to a fun and engaging augmented reality experience about recycling, developed by Zappar. Players were challenged to recycle cans to score points and were able to take a quiz to test their knowledge about metal recyclability and increase education about the issue.
We are confident that the “Libra” can will be among many more celebrations with customers, suppliers and industry partners as we support the transition to the Circular Economy together.