3rd November 2020

With TetherTube, ALPLA is a step ahead

Simple, practical and good for the environment. That describes ALPLA’s latest innovation. The lightweight mono-material tube is completely recyclable, can be used as a refill enabler, amongst other things, and is easy for the consumer to use. The real highlight, however, is the closure.

In June 2019, the European Union started the fight against the pollution of the world’s seas with a new directive. In addition to the prohibition of various single-use products made of plastic (such as drinking straws and cotton buds), the legal text also contains new requirements for the closures of beverage bottles. From 2024, the closures of bottles or composite packaging with a capacity of up to three litres must remain firmly tethered to the containers during drinking and also after use. Already at the beginning of 2020, ALPLA presented concrete solutions for the so-called tethered caps.

With TetherTube, ALPLA is thinking one step further and implementing these requirements also with tubes. The closure with integrated tamper evidence is connected firmly to the tube body. When the tube is opened, there are no loose individual parts such as sealing foils or closures.

A single piece

But they are not as simple to produce as to use. They consist of the tube body, shoulder and closure and often have a sealing foil for better product protection. TetherTube, however, consists of one piece – that means, it is made out of one material in one single production step. Finishing steps in the production process are completely eliminated. The finished tube is delivered to the customer with an open end where it is filled and welded shut.

Before it is opened for the first time, TetherTube is sealed impermeably. The closure can be twisted open effortlessly at a defined tear-off edge. Despite this, the tube can stand a fall from a height of two metres directly on the closure without causing a leakage at the tear-off edge. It is intuitive to use; arrows at the tube head guide the consumer. These arrows also increase the rigidity of the closure and simplify handling. The band is long enough; the cap can be turned back and thus does not get in the way while emptying the contents of the container. If the contents are not completely emptied out, the tube can be reclosed with the upper tip of the closure. This closure is dust-proof. To reclose, the stopper is put into the opening until it can be heard to click into place.

In addition to the obvious advantage of the tightly connected closure, the tube offers numerous further advantages:

  • Weight: TetherTube for a volume of 50 millilitres only weighs six grams.
  • Choice of material: the tube and closure are made of only one material. According to the area of application and viscosity of the contents, HDPE or LDPE can be used. The use of up to 100 per cent recycled material is possible.
  • Recyclability: the tube consists totally of recyclable polyethylene (HDPE or LDPE) and is optimised for recycling. Thus, in the interests of an efficient circular economy, new tubes can be produced from tubes (no downcycling).
  • Convenience: handling is simple and intuitive; the tube can be opened effortlessly. Thanks to the tethered closure, accidental dropping of the closure and searching for it are ruled out. During use, the closure does not need to be held and handling is not impeded thanks to the long tether band.
  • Areas of application: TetherTube is suitable for fluid and powdery contents and can therefore be used for a wide range of applications. The design can be adapted to each type of content, for example with regard to the material selected or reclosability.
  • Refill and e-commerce: this practical packaging solution is also ideal as a refill enabler (e.g. concentrates for household detergents). The requirements for the outer packaging can be optimised in the online delivery. The consumer does not even have to be at home to receive the package as the packaging fits into a standard letter box.

Author profile

Florian Heider

Florian Heider, Project Manager for Innovation

Florian studied economics and engineering with a focus on innovation and system engineering in Weingarten, Germany. The 26-year-old gained initial professional experience at a start-up in the bicycle sector and in the area of pharmaceutical packaging. He has been a project manager for innovation at ALPLA since January 2020 and is particularly involved in the search for frugal packaging.

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