St. Regis Packaging, the Sri Lankan company that patented the Kraft Liner Board Rigid-T-Sack now widely used in bulk packaging of large leaf teas, has become the first paper sack manufacturer to receive the Sri Lanka Standard (SLS) certification for both Kraft Liner Board Sacks and Multiwall Paper Sacks.
Under a mandatory requirement of the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA) for bulk packaging, effective from 1 January 2016 all paper tea sacks must carry the SLS logo in order to ensure the quality of teas despatched by producers to the Colombo Tea Auctions, are not adversely affected by moisture and crushing of large leaf teas due to poor quality packaging.
In response to the CTTA mandate, the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) developed two standards – SLS1474:2013 for Kraft Liner Board Sacks and SLS1492:2014 for Multiwall Paper Sacks that are used for the bulk packing of large leaf and small leaf teas respectively.
In order to ensure compliance with these standards from 1 January 2016, all paper sack manufacturers are required to display the SLS logo and the manufacturer’s name on tea sackssupplied to tea factories for packaging of tea for the weekly auction in Colombo.
“Conformity of products by St. Regis Packaging with the stringent quality standards required for the SLS certification in respect of both types of bags used in the bulk packaging of Ceylon Tea, is extremely timely in the context of the challenges faced by our tea Industry,” SLSI Director General Dr. L.N. Senaweera said. “St. Regis is a pioneer and leader in this sphere, and has contributed significantly to helping tea producers and exporters meet quality requirements by providing technically sound, high quality food grade packaging that maintains the integrity of the produce packed in the company’s products.”
St. Regis Packaging Director Ajith Fernando said his company’s achievement of the SLS standards eliminated the need for further extensions to the 1 January 2016 deadline for the implementation of the CTTA mandate. “One of the factors that have contributed to a decline in the quality of Ceylon Tea is the use of sub-standard paper sacks that do not offer the required moisture barrier,” he said. “Given the decline in prices and other challenges facing the tea industry, producers can no longer afford to continue using such sub-standard packaging, and should insist that their paper sack suppliers have the SLS logo with immediate effect.”
In 1996, St. Regis changed a 130 year old tradition by inventing and patenting the Kraft Liner Board Sack, enabling tea producers to replace the costly and environmentally unfriendly plywood chests used up to that point in the packaging of large leaf teas.
The Rigid-T-Sack with a special fold that prevents crushing of large leaftea and the Multiwall Paper Sack manufactured by the Company use a triple laminate inner ply that has ametalised Polyester liner laminated to the paper using Low Density Polyethylene that provides a highly effective moisture barrier.
“Some unscrupulous paper sack manufacturers are known to have simply pasted the metalised Polyester liner to the paper with glue, resulting in the moisture content of the teas increasing and affecting quality,” Fernando said.
“The CTTA and the Sri Lanka Tea Board requested SLSI to develop standards for both types of paper sacks to put an end to this unethical practice, and the use of recycled paper inside the sacks and giving them a new exterior, thereby hoodwinking the buyers.”
Besides inventing the Rigid-T-Sack, St. Regis also has many other firsts to its name, including becoming the world’s first manufacturer of bulk packaging for tea to receive the ISO22000 and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) certifications, a feat it achieved in 2007. In May 2014, the company received PAS223:2011, developed by a Steering Group representing global leaders in food packaging and food manufacturing companies, and in February this year was the first manufacturer of bulk packaging for tea to be certified compliant with FSSC22000, currently the highest food packaging certification in the world.