Canadian Plastics

Plastics Stewardship Award

Canadian Plastics   

PAR-PAK LTD. No stranger to the spotlight--company president Sajjad Ebrahim was CPIA's Leader of the Year in 2008--packaging supplier Par-Pak Ltd. is back in public view, this time as one of two Stewardship Award winners.Looking for just...


No stranger to the spotlight–company president Sajjad Ebrahim was CPIA’s Leader of the Year in 2008–packaging supplier Par-Pak Ltd. is back in public view, this time as one of two Stewardship Award winners.

Looking for just one reason why? You won’t find it. The Brampton, Ont.-based company was instead selected for having succeeded with a slew of sustainability goals.

Let’s start with its recycling policy. “We recycle 100 per cent of our internal trim scrap and have a program with our customers who buy our sheet to buy back their trim scrap,” said Sajjad Ebrahim.


“Also, we installed a state-of-the-art purification and filtration extrusion line and pelletizing process in 2009 that lets us decontaminate and purify post-consumer recycled PET to be utilized back into food packaging. The system also helps us reduce CO2 emissions, the material going into landfill, and the energy required to make recycled PET versus virgin PET.” The company also recycled 319 tons of cardboard, packaging material and metal pipes in 2008, and 300 tons in 2009.

Moving along to energy conservation, Par-Pak has made significant changes to their operations to cut energy use, and employs a designated energy specialist to look for ever-newer ways to trim consumption. To date, the company has reduced energy consumption in lighting by 65 per cent by retrofitting fixtures in office and production areas with high-efficiency bulbs, installed tube heaters in production and warehouse facilities that use two-thirds less energy, and reduced water usage in its production plant through a new closed loop water cooling system that allows reuse of water.

Finally, Par-Pak is an active member of the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Association of Post-Consumer Plastic Recycler (APR).


Lightweighting–designing a product to use the thinnest material that will still meet specs for strength and appearance–is the ultimate green manufacturing “two-fer,” reducing both carbon footprint and production costs. It’s also a mantra at beverage manufacturer and distributor Nestlé Waters Canada, CPIA’s second Stewardship selection.

Case in point: the company’s new Eco-Shape(R) 500 ml PET bottle. Weighing just 9.16 grams on average, the bottle contains 27 per cent less plastic than its predecessor Eco-Shape bottle from 2007; and 60 per cent less plastic than the company’s original, pre-Eco-Shape 500 ml PET bottle from 2000.

This latest version of the Eco-Shape 500 ml bottle–currently rolling out in the company’s Pure Life and Montclair brands–is 100 per cent recyclable, said John Challinor, director of corporate affairs with the Guelph, Ont.-based company; target end uses as recycled material include carpeting, automotive parts, toys, and clothing. “Beginning in 2006, we made a determined effort to lightweight our various bottles,” Challinor said. “Since 2007, we’ve been able to reduce our plastics requirements by 4.59 million kilograms annually, our C02 emissions by eight per cent annually, and our high pressure compressed air consumption by 40 per cent.

” The company is also on a continual hunt for

ways to trim secondary packaging materials–and, as with plastics, with notable results. “We’ve eliminated cardboard side walls from the majority of our 24-packs of bottled water, for example, and downsized our paper labels since 1998,” Challinor said. “The current label is 35 per cent smaller than its immediate predecessor, and saves approximately 20 million lbs of paper.”

As befits a Stewardship Award winner, the company’s green activities also extend to helping fund Canada’s municipal recycling infrastructure across the country, and playing a role in introducing Canada’s first public spaces recycling program in Quebec in 2008. “A similar program is scheduled to be unveiled in Manitoba later this year, and a successful pilot program has recently been completed in Ontario,” Challinor said.


Swiss-born Werner Amsler cut his teeth in plastics back in 1970, when he joined the former Premier Plastics in Toronto as a moldmaker before rising to plant manager. Following a five-year stint with Bekum Plastics Machinery’s Canadian office, Amsler opened blow molding company Swissplas Ltd. In 1990, he started R&D and technical consulting firm W. Amsler Enterprises Inc. Four years later, W. Amsler Equipment Inc. was founded, and began manufacturing all electric PET blow molding machines and accessories. The company now operates from a 16,000-square-foot plant in Richmond Hill, Ont., and this is where we find Amsler today, as the first recipient of CPIA’s newly minted Plastics Innovator Award.

Amsler said he decided early on to make fully electric machines instead of standard hydraulic presses–and with the fully electric unit as its guiding light, his company has spent the past 15 years pushing the boundaries of stretch blow molding technology. With machines in over 10 countries, the lineup now ranges from one to six cavities for container sizes between 50 ml to 23 litres, and for outputs exceeding 9,000 per hour.

There’s no sign of a slowdown, either: a new two-cavity machine, for instance, can produce bottles from 50 ml to five litres, with output of the five-litre unit an impressive 2,400 per hour. A three-cavity convertible machine, meanwhile, can produce 500 ml bottles at 4,500 per hour utilizing all three cavities, two-litre bottles from two cavities at 3,600 per hour, or five-litre containers from a single cavity at 1,000 per hour. True to the modern ideal of green technology, the three-cavity machine has 50 per cent more output than its two-cavity counterpart but an energy usage increase of only 12 per cent.

And that’s not all: Other innovations from 2009 include a fully automatic loading system for wide mouth preforms up to 89 mm, a flexible PET machine series allowing for adjustable cavitation on PET blow machines, and a modular semi-automatic palletizer with optional fully automatic operation through the purchase of additional modules.


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