• 20th January 2021

Tin Packaging & Sustainability

What kind of material comes to mind when you hear the word “sustainable”? Recycled paper? Wood from FSC-certified forests? Bamboo? All of those are mainstays of the sustainability world, but in 2021 we should be adding tin to the list too.

What is tin?

Tin is a metallic element that has been used by humans since the Bronze Age. Because tin resists corrosion, it has long been used as a coating on stronger metals like iron that are prone to rusting.

Today, tin is still used in this manner. Typically it’s applied to steel in a thin coating to prevent corrosion and add shine. This substance, tinplate, is used by food manufacturers to create storage tins, but it’s increasingly becoming an attractive packaging material for other companies looking to boost their sustainability credentials.

Tin 3Why is tin a sustainable material?

Tinplate is considered a sustainable material because it’s almost completely recyclable – in fact, in 2018, 82.5% of tinplate packaging in Europe was recycled. Tinplate can be reformed multiple times without a loss of quality, and can be used to make all sorts of products and items, including bicycles and car parts.

Tinplate is largely recyclable because it is made with steel, an alloy containing natural materials that make it ideal for being melted down and reformed over and over again. Additionally, tinplate is well suited to the recycling process because it’s magnetic, which means it can be quickly and easily extracted and sorted using magnets.

Traditionally, steel production requires a lot of energy, but this has reduced significantly in the last 50 years – according to one source, by 60%. According to the same source, 95% of water used in modern steel production is cleaned, cooled and returned to the source, often cleaner than it came out.

How can tinplate be used in other types of packaging?

A big benefit of tinplate is that it’s extremely versatile. It’s lightweight yet strong, and is resistant to corrosion, meaning it’s an ideal container for lots of different substances, including food.

Additionally, you can print onto and embellish tinplate to create a number of different finishes, giving it all sorts of potential applications within the luxury packaging sector. The takeaway? If you’re a luxury brand looking to step away from wood, paper and plastic, tinplate should be your new favourite material.

Case Study: Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select

Our pack for Jack Daniels is a fantastic example of how tinplate can be used in luxury packaging. We crafted a chic tin container, printing and adding embellishments to give it a premium finish with the look and feel of charred wood. Emboss was used to both enhance the branding and create subtle textural details that mimic wood grain. 

With its strong, lightweight case, hinged lid and inner fitment, the finished pack also functions perfectly on a practical level. 

We’ve crafted tinplate packs for Tanqueray London Dry Gin, Tanqueray No. Ten and Finist Vodka. Click the links to view these packs and learn more about we worked with tinplate to create a premium finish each time.

Sustainable packaging with GPA Luxury

Here at GPA Luxury, we’re committed to making our packs sustainable wherever possible. As part of the GPA Global family we’re always trying to do better when it comes to sustainable procurement, ethical labour practices, and the use of eco-friendly materials. 

That’s why we’re always on the lookout for projects that embrace sustainable materials and methods. If you’re a brand looking to craft a sustainable pack with a luxury finish, get in touch today.

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