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14 June 2017

CoolSeal - Reinventing Packaging

Written by Stephen Clarke, Posted in Fish Net Blog

CoolSeal LogoPlease tell us when and how you got into the packaging business.

I worked for the manufacturer of the raw material, and sincerely believed I could do a better job of converting the product than the existing box industry would do, especially as they were ignoring the material for self-interest reasons. Started Tri-Pack in 1974

How has your company taken a proactive stance to combat the ocean plastics problem?

I cannot claim to have done so.  My stance has been based on efficient re-cycling, and carbon reduction.  The ocean waste problem as emerged only quite recently to us, and now we will indeed try to offer alternatives which can reduce this waste.

Please tell us about CoolSeal, what is it and how does it help industry reduce carbon footprint? 

Basically it is the replacement of one thermoplastic product with another one, i.e. replacing eps with pp. There are many benefits to the user, which are nothing to do with carbon footprint.  The carbon savings come from production methods, in which we use much less energy to produce the product. The next saving comes from transport of packaging to users, which delivers a reduction in road miles of 80% due to reduced volume.  (This is exaggerated in remote fishery areas such as the Norway coast for example where distances are huge and difficult.)  The next carbon saving is in the delivery logistics of the fish itself, with a volume reduction of at least 30%, which also delivers cost savings of course. Finally there is a carbon reduction in that the material is 100% recyclable in a much easier way then eps, with a huge variety of post use applications for the waste.

What (if any) alternative materials to plastic for packaging is your company utilizing? 

We are dedicated to our material and focus on it exclusively.  We have a growing application for combining with carton materials however, where customers use a pp base tray for strength and water resistance, and cover it with a highly decorated carton lid.

Stephen Clarke and Team

You are working with an organization called Waste Free Oceans. Please tell us about this.

I was introduced to this organization by its chief exec whom I have known for many years. His CV is totally built around the recycling industry in Europe, and his knowledge and enthusiasm makes him a perfect man for the job. We don’t support them financially up front, but we are quite willing and able to build in long term royalty payments in the event of success in Hong Kong for example, which is an initiative they brought to us.  We also have made products out of re-cycled product for them as give-away examples of re-cycled PP.

What sort of steps do you think the seafood industry can take to create real solutions to the ocean plastics problem? 

I can only speak for the seafood processing industry which is generally land based.  It would help if they opened their eyes to the problem, but in fairness they are permanently beaten up by aggressive supermarket buyers who have no interest whatsoever in such things.  Supermarkets have a huge disconnect between their top level stated aims to do the right thing, and the actual business of buying and selling. The seafood industry needs support from their selfish customers, which is in short supply.

WFO perceive that the bigger problem actually comes from the fish catching side of the industry, with overboard waste, discarded nets and the like, and they have an education issue to find a solution which actually pays the fishermen.

About the Author

Stephen Clarke

Stephen Clarke

Stephen Clarke Tri-Pack back in 1974 with the objective of making and selling fish boxes for the local market in Grimsby. Says Clarke; “With the advent of international pressure to become more environmentally aware, and the very obvious dislike of EPS in the UK CoolSeal was born in 2001, and is now 70% of our market place, the remainder being forestry, industrial and horticulture.”

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