PepsiCo works with Pakit on novel plant-based packaging technology

By Michelle Knott

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Packaging waste, Recycling

Vancouver-based sustainable packaging develop Pakit has announced that it is working with PepsiCo to develop its technology, which turns cellulose fibre from a range of plant materials into moulded board.

Pakit says its technology provides a recyclable and biodegradable option for food packaging such as trays or clamshells.

This is a growing market as regulators increase the pressure to reduce food-related packaging waste.

Last year Seattle became the first city in North America to ban single-use foodservice packaging unless it is recyclable and biodegradable, for instance, while San Francisco and Toronto both have restrictions in place.

In the EU since 2008, between 55 and 80 per cent by weight of packaging waste must be recycled in line with the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.

Save energy and water

Pakit claims that its patented process offers environmental benefits during production as well as in post-use composting and recycling.

The process relies on heat and pressure to form the board from a pulp of wet plant fibre. The sintered bronze tooling used in the presses has a porous surface, making it easier for the water in the wet board to escape as steam.

Pakit claims that this makes it easier to dry the board and helps to reduce the overall energy consumption to around one third that of conventional packaging manufacture. The machines also recycle almost all the water from the process.

According to the company, the combination of pressure and heat in the fuses the fibre networks within the board, making them so strong that material 0.6 mm thick can withstand up to 20 kg of weight without warping. The board is also said to be smooth and resistant to moisture and grease.

Pakit has its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, but its research and development centre is in Norrköping, Sweden.

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