The road to a zero-impact pack: Spinosi’s evolution

Objectives and achievements

  1. Environmental sustainability
  2. FSC® certification of the sustainable management of the forests from which the paper used originates
  3. Biodegradability of the plastic film thanks to a bioplastic derived from the processing of corn starch
  4. Certification of the recyclability of the packaging in class A according to the Aticelca 501 method
  5. Recycling of over 90% of the pack

The context

Marco Spinosi, Vincenzo’s son and Nello’s nephew, has been running the family business together with his father and brother Riccardo for more than twenty years. Over the years, Spinosi has established itself as a reference point in the Italian market for the production of egg pasta, and in particular the characteristic Maccheroncini di Campofilone IGP, a historic product that has become part of the tradition of the Marche region. The company has always been concerned about sustainability, applying a series of measures to preserve the environment and reduce the waste of resources. In recent years, the growing sensitivity of the market and of individuals has led to a sudden acceleration of this process, prompting the family to ask itself how it can guarantee the end consumer the best product in terms of sustainability. The first step was to limit the use of energy from non-renewable sources: by installing a photovoltaic system, production can benefit from more than 25% clean energy. The need to reduce environmental impact also passes through the analysis of the production process and the materials used, and among these there is also the packaging of the product.

Spinosi has been collaborating with Cartotecnica Jesina for over 30 years. A partnership between people before that between companies, born between Vincenzo Spinosi and Renzo Paoletti, and naturally continued by the following generations. The evolutionary process started by this synergy is still active today: starting from a generic packaging in recycled fibre suitable for contact with foodstuffs packaged manually, we have arrived – following targeted technical consultancy by CJ – at a packaging for automatic production lines, produced with sustainable and certified raw materials, with superior standards to guarantee suitability for contact with foodstuffs and with recyclability certification.

Evolution step by step

As mentioned above, at the beginning of the collaboration with CJ, the company used recycled paper packaging with a polypropylene window suitable for food contact. This solution had one major disadvantage: due to the long shelf life of the product, in some cases the recycled cardboard gave the pasta a distinctive smell.

The first major evolution took place in the 2000s, when the decision was made – following tests – to use a pure virgin fibre paper, CKB: a Kraft board that guarantees high tenacity and resistance to humidity, and which in fact eliminated the problem of odours even during long storage periods, also thanks to the use of low odour and low migration inks.

Over the past few years, growing awareness of environmental sustainability has prompted Spinosi to look for alternative solutions with the help of its partners. CJ was ready, proposing a renewable alternative to polypropylene window, PLA: Polylactic Acid is in fact a bioplastic derived from the processing of corn starch that guarantees the biodegradability of the plastic film.

The last improvement took place in 2020. Spinosi’s request is clear: demonstrate the sustainability of packaging. At CJ, we have taken two complementary paths: the use of FSC® certified paper and the certification of recyclability according to the Aticelca 501 method. The first, thanks to the Forest Stewardship Council® certification body, guarantees sustainable management of the forests from which the paper used comes. The latter, on the other hand, determines the degree of recyclability of a predominantly cellulose packaging through laboratory studies. According to the Aticelca 501 method, the packaging used by Spinosi is recyclable in class A. An extraordinary result, obtained thanks to the use of first class materials that allow more than 90% of the pack to be recycled.

Why undertake such a process?

What I have just described goes far beyond the standards required by Italian and European regulations, and in many cases goes beyond what is required by large retailers. However, the decision to pursue this path is the result of the desire to be able to give the consumer a product that certifies its recyclability, and to be able to communicate this clearly, so as to give considerable added value to the product itself and to the company.