Leading Danish packagingspecialist Færch Plast headquartered in Holstebro, Denmark, isincorporating NatureWorks' PLA into its packaging line which servicesEuropean food industries.
Developed and supplied by Cargill Dow, the material is a plastic packaging alternative produced entirely fromannually renewable resources, such as maize, which competes on a performancebasis with ordinary plastic material.
Færch Plast produces packaging for the food industry and retailersthroughout Europe. Products range from trays, containers and lids toheat-sealable packaging for ready-made meals. The company's new packagingline made from NatureWorks PLA is designed for cold fresh foods, such as meat, salads and pasta.
"We believe that innovative technology is a key to positioning ourselves andour customers at the forefront of the food industry," said Jens Bornstein,managing director, Færch Plast. "Such technology, like NatureWorks PLA,allows retailers to showcase products that offer added point-of-sale value,while providing modern consumers a more ecologically sustainable packagingsolution."
Færch Plast's new line of packaging made from the material is suited tomanual and automated packaging lines, with automatic de-nesting, filling andconveying. This allows food manufacturers to use existing equipment topackage their consumer goods. Characteristics of NatureWorks PLA also makeit a natural choice for food packaging due to its flavour and aroma barrier,gloss, clarity and printability, as well as rigidity.
"Our extensive history in food packaging helps us develop innovativepackaging solutions and marketing opportunities that allow us to support ourcustomers' product goals from start to finish," Bornstein continued."Offering NatureWorks PLA as an alternative to the plastic packagingmaterials that we know today, takes our customers into a new generation ofconsumer goods packaging."
Now available on a commercial scale, 140,000 metric tons of the materialcan be produced yearly by Cargill Dow. Packaging made from NatureWorks PLAis a reality for the food industry and consumers, said Lisa Owen, commercialdirector, rigid packaging, Cargill Dow. "NatureWorks PLA makes itpossible for the food industry to have a natural-based package for a naturalproduct, which is a key selling point to consumers. Where NatureWorks PLA iscurrently available in stores, consumers are reacting with positivefeedback."
The material is produced using the renewable resource-based resin by'harvesting' carbon from plants, such as maize, after it has been removedfrom the air during photosynthesis. This is achieved by tapping into thecarbon stored in plant starches, which are broken down into natural plantsugars. The carbon and other elements in these natural sugars are then usedto make plastic, called polylactide (PLA) through a simple process offermentation and separation. NatureWorks PLA is 100 per cent matter derivedfrom maize.
Cargill Dow explained that the heat, energy and transport used in theproduction process involve fossil fuels. Consequently, the entire processuses between 20 and 50 per cent less fossil fuels than traditionalthermoplastics.
Færch Plast is a Danish company founded in 1969. Production andadministration is situated in Holstebro, with a sales office located inObernai, France, and a subsidiary, Harrison Europack, in the UK. The company's main market is in Europe, where it is recognised within the market for foodpackaging.