By Rhys Handley, Friday 06 April 2018
Prince Charles visited James Cropper’s Colourform unit for the production of plastic-free packaging last week, as the project moves ahead in collaborating with businesses.
First announced at the Packaging Innovations London show in September 2016, the Kendal-based facility is enabling the £92m-turnover luxury papermaker to develop from its “cupcycling” process which has produced paper stocks from the recycled disposable coffee cups.
The Prince of Wales toured the unit last week (26 March) to take a look at the products produced by Colourform, all of which are 100% renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.
“At Colourform, we are following a rigorous scope of research that has analysed global innovation trends while exploring the wider potential of our unique capabilities in fibre innovation, colour application, design and global service provision,” said chief executive Phil Wild.
“Since launching we have won contracts for plastic-free packaging in sectors ranging from high-street cosmetic brands to consumer electronics. While there are other companies who make moulded paper fibre packaging, what differentiates us is colour and fibre source.
“Because of our papermaking heritage, we can match any colour and can use a variety of sources of material including the aforementioned coffee cups, making it very attractive to brands looking to find a viable alternative to plastic, whilst elevating their brand identity.”
As Colourform’s presence within the James Cropper group has expanded, the company has continued to invest time and money in the project – it now runs four dedicated production lines and its team has grown in the past 18 months from five members of staff to 16.
Matthew Miller, formerly business director at the James Cropper 3D Products subsidiary, was involved in the conception of the facility and has now transferred to a new position as Colourform’s business leader. The project has also taken on a new design team to develop 3D concepts for presentations to clients, as well as having a dedicated commercial team.
The production facility is on two levels covering 400sqm of floor space.
Key to James Cropper and Colourform’s strategy is the promotion of sustainable practice in the wider business community. During Prince Charles’ visit, the firm held a summit in collaboration with Business in the Community where figures from different sectors discussed the challenges of tackling the UK’s waste problem and maintaining value.
“Sustainability is important for all businesses,” said Wild. “We would welcome other paper companies to consider the part they play in addressing the issue. It’s important we all take a role in developing solutions to reuse valuable waste materials and give them a new lease of life.”