Procter & Gamble (P&G) is taking the greening of plastic packaging into its own hands.
Using internally-developed new technology that is said to reduce resin usage, cut down energy consumption and additionally speed product to market by up to 50%, the Ohio-based consumer goods giant is starting its own packaging company.
Called iMFLUX, the wholly-owned subsidiary, which refers to itself as a `technology and innovation leader in plastics processing’ is currently hiring 221 workers for its startup plant in West Chester Township, Ohio.
Nathan Estruth, a 22-year P&G veteran has been named ceo. Previously he was vice president, corporate platforms for P&G, a group that develops new technology.
A collaboration with P&G’s packaging department three years ago gave birth to iMFLUX.
Gene Altonen, vice president, research and development for iMFLUX is credited as the inventor of the iMFLUX core technology, which centres on the injection moulding of plastic. In his 23 years with P&G, he holds 40 patents and has 25 more pending. Jared Kline, vice president of customer care, immersed himself in the injection moulding industry prior to the company’s launch to “understand the end to end process,” according to the company.
Also singled out as a key player, Dave Le Neveu was named cfo and vice president, business development. His focus “will be creating breakthrough value creation for the company and its strategic partners.”
The new packaging will be used by P&G brands, but moreover is expected to be sold to non-competitive manufacturers.
P&G cfo Jon Moeller, speaking in October, described its proprietary technology as “breakthrough.”
When implemented across all its brands it could result in $150m in cost savings, reduce resin usage by 150m pounds and cut energy usage by 250m kilowatt hours annually, said Moeller.
IMFLUX spokesperson Amy Hogan declined a request for more details, saying only: “iMFLUX plans to deliver new technology, software and process engineering, delivered as an end-to-end solution with outstanding customer service.”
P&G has been slashing staff and consolidating operations in a sweeping $10bn restructuring program, so the investment in iMFLUX has been drawing attention.
Deutsche Bank Analyst Bill Schmitz estimates that P&G spends about 15% of its cost of goods on packaging materials including polymers.
“We believe this initiative could considerably reduce the resin content of the company’s packaging,” wrote Schmitz in a research note. “A quick review of the company’s patent filings shows considerable activity in a wide range of packaging innovations design to reduce costs and lessen environmental impact.”
The activity at P&G, Schmitz believes “is a clear signal the company has high hopes for this initiative.”