Innovation

Sustainable solution for the logistics industry

ETERNA is involved in the development of a reusable alternative to the usual foil wrapping for pallets

Reducing plastic waste

Jute fabrics are made from renewable raw materials.

At ETERNA, sustainability is not limited to shirts and blouses. If there are sustainable ideas from other industries, ETERNA is glad to help with expertise and drive. This was the case when Johannes Stockbauer was looking for a partner for his company SLC - "MARKENPRODUKTE STREFIX" to implement his idea for a foil wrapping alternative for pallets.

In logistics, it is common practice for many transport providers to wrap a packed pallet with ten to twenty layers of foil to hold the goods together and secure the packaging. "I've been in the brewing industry for 38 years," reports Johannes Stockbauer, "and the flood of plastic from foil wrapping has been on my mind for years." At the beginning of 2020, he came up with an idea that he gradually developed further together with Stadler GmbH and the ETERNA production team – and which is now already in use on a trial basis, for example at the Hacklberg brewery in Passau.

The idea is as simple as it is effective: Instead of plastic film, packed pallets can be wrapped with a jute fabric coated with wax. A rubber band with metal eyelets and hooks is used to fix it in place. The jute fabric is not only made from renewable raw materials (except for the eyelets and hooks), but is also reusable. Depending on how it is treated and handled, jute can be reused around 50 times. The solution is therefore ideal for companies that have a closed cycle for pallets, for example, delivery warehouses for supermarkets that regularly get back the empty pallets and thus also the jute fixings.

The jute alternative saves about 60 kilometres of plastic film per 1000 pallets and 15 wraps. The time saved is also enormous: while the pallet can be wrapped in jute in about 25 seconds, wrapping by hand takes about two and a half minutes. Ingeniously simple – and yet no one had put this idea into practice before. Johannes Stockbauer has had the utility model secured and has already been certified by the Institut für Nachhaltigkeit & Ökonomie (Germany’s Institute for Sustainability & Economics). In future, the product is also to become climate-neutral. The CO2 saved is quite significant: calculated by the aforementioned institute, it amounts to approximately 11.8 kilograms per conventional pallet.

After developing suitable fabric, ETERNA continues to be involved in this flagship project: the jute fixings are sewn in ETERNA's own production facility in Banovce, Slovakia. After test runs, large quantities can now be produced there. In addition, the ETERNA partner factory in northern Macedonia will produce the fixings too. From there, the sustainable idea can gradually replace foil wrapping in all industries.