New Ice to begin compostable packaging production

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bioplastic

New Ice yesterday announced that it would begin manufacturing a new
class potato-starch based compostable containers for dry, damp
or wet foods.

The announcement yesterday follows grants of patents for the process in the US and Europe. The patents disclose methods for manufacturing biodegradable or compostable containers as replacements for plastic and Styrofoam food packaging. The company is currently running a pre-production manufacturing line at its home-base in Durango, Colorado, where it is testing products for prospective customers. "The process covered by the patents provides an improved method and materials for forming moldable biodegradable containers that can hold food products in dry, damp or wet conditions,"​ the company stated. The company has also received patents in some Eastern European and Asian countries, including Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan, said New Ice founder Giles Instone. Additional patents are expected to be granted in other countries during 2008. "We came up with the concept about six years ago and have spent the intervening time developing and testing the formulation and investing in the concept,"​ he stated. "Everything is coming together now." ​ The company plans to produce a number of products over the next few months that are "functional, cost-effective and truly compostable", he said. The company will initially market products to packagers of fruit and vegetables, followed by the meats and poultry segments. The product line will conform to ASTM D6400 and other international standards for compostable materials. The company also has offices in the UK and Australia. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Instone Group. New Ice is the not the first player to enter the biodegradable and compostable packging market. Over the past five years packaging suppliers have been introducing various forms of biodegradable materials to replace plastics and foams. These materials are made from a variety of plants, in the main corn, in response to projections that consumers and recycling regulations will drive demand for environmentally-friendly packaging. Some companies predict that the market will grow by about 20 per cent a year, and the products are an alternative to petroleum-based packaging such as the widely-used polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This year Cargill announced it was teaming up with Japan-based Teijin to produce polylactic acid (PLA). A similar alliance has been formed between DuPont and Plantic. Materials such as PLA and PHA are made from a variety of plants. To produce PLA manufacturers use a chemical polymerisation process to transform renewable raw materials such as corn into a biodegradable biopolymer. Meanwhile biodegradable polymers such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), PHV and PHB are produced by the actions of genetically modified micro-organisms. Demand for bioplastics in Europe experienced its first boom last year, according to a survey by the European Bioplastics Association, which has about 70 members. Currently bioplastics account for less than one percent of the European plastics market. PLA is a plastic biopolymer, wholly derived from corn, which is compostable and biodegradable

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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