2010 Greener Package Awards winner AquaFresh from GlaxoSmithKline utilizes new decorating technology that adds the holographic glimmer while maintaining recyclability.
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare’s new 6-oz Aquafresh White & Shine toothpaste carton was chosen as the winner of the Personal Care/Cosmetics Packaging category due to its use of a technology that at least one Greener Package Awards judge, John Bernardo of Sustainable Innovations LLC, says has the “potential for a huge impact.” HoloBrite™ filmless holographic technology from The Specialized Packaging Group (SPG)  is used to achieve a shimmering holographic appearance without the use of a film lamination. This process results in a package that can be recycled in traditional paperboard recycling streams without the concerns of contamination due to a polyester layer and metal content.
According to Mike Larocca, packaging development manager for GSK Consumer Healthcare, one of the main challenges in developing the carton was achieving a high-end finish comparable to that of a traditional holographic laminated carton. “As a consumer product in a competitive environment in the oral care category, premium aesthetics and shelf presence are important keys to success,” he says. “To match the high-end finish, this required extensive development work with various inks, surface treatments, and holographic finishes using stock and custom applications. The final product had to meet tight specifications for high-speed automation, scuff-resistance, and the distribution environment.”
Holographic effects on the Aquafresh carton are created when the HoloBrite printing process is combined with Henkel North America’s  MiraFoil® metallic coating. The coating is applied to the SBS carton before it is printed in a single pass on a hybrid printing press using several proprietary processes. Typically, holographic decoration on an SBS carton requires a complex supply chain involving manufacturing and metallization of the holographic film, shipping to a facility for lamination to paperboard, then shipping to the folding carton facility for printing and converting. “This [HoloBrite] folding carton is produced using a simplified supply chain with fewer manufacturing and shipping steps,” explains Larocca. The finished carton also is 5% lighter than its predecessor.
Larocca concludes: “The application of the step-change technology for this package could start a trend to obsolete—or significantly reduce—laminated paperboard cartons and the associated recycling challenges.”