The Ingeo biopolymer was recognised by the Cradle Products Innovation Institute which provides a framework to ensure materials can be safely used again.
Ingeo is made from 100% renewable plant material, instead of oil, and is commercially compostable, so it does not have to be changed in any way, according to NatureWorks.
The cradle to cradle certified program assesses products for safety to human and environmental health, design for future use cycles, and sustainable manufacturing processes.
The biopolymer was evaluated in terms of material health, reutilization, renewable energy use, water stewardship, and social responsibility.
Steve Davies, director of corporate communications and public affairs at NatureWorks told FoodProductionDaily.com that the firm had to prove the polymers C-2-C capabilities.
“The company provided extensive documentation to the certifying body on the Ingeo manufacturing process and also documentation of potential impacts in terms of health, end of life, energy, water, and social responsibility.
“It is important to demonstrate that credible third parties find your material and its manufacture adheres to the principals of sustainability. This is what separates reality form unsubstantiated marketing claims,” he said.
“Among the very largest corporations and those smaller corporations that differentiate themselves with their environmental credentials, C-2-C is very important.”
A silver certification means it met all requirements at basic level, including the energy required for manufacturing (final assembly), characterized energy sources and develop strategy for including renewable energy and adopted company wide water stewardship guidelines among other criteria.
Silver optimum: for now
When asked if NatureWorks would try and fulfil the gold and platinum criteria, Davies said silver is the optimum for Ingeo in terms of cost and benefits ratio for now.
“We’ll continue to assess this as we make further process and product improvements in the future.
“While C-2-C is important for all products and technologies, we believe it is especially important for “new-to-the-world” products like Ingeo.
“With any new technology, there is often information that cannot be readily publically shared for competitive reasons.
“Robust third party certifiers like the C-2-C institute provide a mechanism, wherein confidential information can be shared under a confidentiality agreement with the certifier, and held up to their rigorous scrutiny.”
NatureWorks said it invested significant resources in certifications, peer reviewed articles, and engagement with non-governmental originations in seeking certification.
Davies said the firm believed the certification raises the bar for the competition.
“But even more importantly it draws attention to the importance of viewing products over their life cycle and in particular how the product can continue to benefit society after the has been through its service life.
“Ingeo is used in a host of rigid and flexible packaging materials everything from deli containers to fresh produce packaging to Danone Activia yogurt cups.”