DuPont invests $100m in Texas packaging resin facilities
DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers - which supplies the packaging, automotive, industrial and consumer industries - will increase production capacity of its ethylene copolymer assets.
Ethylene copolymers are used to make items ranging from food packages to golf balls, and can be processed to provide a range of characteristics.
A series of investments totalling more than $100m (€77m) will be made over the next three to four years at the facilities in Orange and Victoria. More than one third of the investment is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
Yasmin Siddiqi, global packaging director, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, told FoodProductionDaily.com the investment will support growth in speciality resins, which include the Appeel peelable sealant resin and Surlyn ionomer resin.
“While these resins are used in many industries, they have valuable attributes for food packaging,” she said.
“DuPont Appeel helps make packages easy to open, while protecting contents against spoilage, leakage, contamination, and tampering. These are typically used for flexible lidding on rigid containers for yogurt, snacks, dry cereals, and more as well as in flexible structures, including bag-in-box.”
High performance packaging can help reduce food waste, and DuPont is looking for products that are sustainable and cost effective, Siddiqi said.
“The Surlyn ionomer offers the kind of high-end performance characteristics that help eliminate the need for some lower-cost resins in packaging structures to reduce the total amount of material.
“This significantly improves sustainability and lowers total packaging cost. In 2011 in Europe alone, switching from polyethelyne resin to the Surlyn ionomer resin eliminated several hundred tons of non-renewable packaging raw material and reduced that packaging’s carbon footprint by 20%.”
Applications for meat packaging
The Surlyn resin provides low-temperature seal initiation, hot tack strength, and puncture resistance, and it can seal through contaminants like grease. As an example, this means it can be used to keep meat packaging products fresher for longer, she said.
“Meat waste has a very high environmental and economic impact, so a reduction in meat waste significantly improves sustainability. When you throw away pound of meat because it turned brown or smells bad, you also throw away a significant amount of greenhouse gas.”
Every year, one third of the food the world produces is lost or wasted, said Siddiqi.
“Food loss and waste is one of the complex issues and vulnerabilities that threaten food security, which exists when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.
“Through collaboration, we believe the global food packaging industry is well positioned to prevent food losses and waste.”