Same Safety, Less Waste: New Packaging For MaxiCaps Sterile Filters

Feb 15, 2021  |  4 min read

Smaller, lighter, and recyclable – the packaging for the MaxiCaps sterile filters is designed to meet all these requirements. Which challenges does this pose? What exactly does sustainable mean in terms of packaging and how can it influence traffic?

This article is posted on Sartorius Blog.

Eva Schäfers presents the old (left) and new packaging (right).

"For the new MaxiCap box, sustainable means that for the same number of products, there are about 140 fewer fully loaded trucks driving along the highways," said Eva Schäfers, Head of Packaging Development at Sartorius, in summarizing the advantages of the eco-friendly packaging. This is achieved as follows: The newly designed transport packaging uses 58 percent less cushioning material, reducing the weight by 28 percent. Smaller and lighter means that a good third more products can fit on a pallet. This simplifies logistics and ensures a better environmental balance, as fewer CO2 emissions are released into the air.

However, the road to achieving this was not an easy one. The first attempts to produce packaging entirely from corrugated cardboard failed. The reason was simple: the product determines the type of packaging needed. In the case of MaxiCaps sterile filters, safety is paramount as customers use these products primarily in cleanrooms. Therefore, a corrugated cardboard solution cannot guarantee that the requirements on product safety will be met.

A red liquid is used to check whether the material is tight and thus sterile.

Eva describes it as follows: "When I buy milk, I need a tightly sealable package, such as bottle or beverage carton. I can't bring milk home wrapped in newspaper. It's no different with Sartorius products," Eva states. "Our customers expect flawless products that are free of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Only then can they be used in a cleanroom. We make this possible by designing suitable packaging. When materials like cardboard alone don't work, we use an appropriate alternative, always going by the principle of using as little packaging as possible and as much packaging as necessary."

On the left , the new packaging with mono material, on the right, the old packaging where the protection is not dividable for recycling.

Same safety, less packaging waste

The new packaging is based on an optimized design that enables all the materials to be completely separated and thus recycled. The old packaging could not offer this added value in this form. As a result, Sartorius supports not only its own sustainability efforts, but also those of its customers, because they can return the materials to be used in closed-loop recycling.  

The now smaller and lighter cardboard box still meets the same standards as the previous version.

Diverse product requirements

Every product has its own requirements for suitable packaging. To best understand these, Eva's team of seven members works very closely with the Product Development Department. "Products have different shapes, materials and sensitive areas so we need to know these in detail. This is the only way we can uphold our primary credo of absolute product safety in our packaging," explains Eva.

Eva simulates whether the packaging protects the product even if it is dropped from a certain height. 

Through rigorous transportation tests at accredited testing institutes, packaging experts can simulate adversities that a product will experience in transit. This involves exposing a product in its packaging to different temperatures, humidity, air pressure and movement. Only if a product passes simulated global transportation conditions along with subsequent integrity and functional testing will the packaging receive approval for use.

All this must be taken into account – and not all packaging is the same.

Media Contact