Speaking at the Sustainable Foods Summit in Amsterdam (June 4-5), Andy Sweetman, marketing manager, packaging and sustainability, Innovia, which makes and supplies polypropylene and cellulose films for speciality packaging, labelling, said the ‘one to watch’ is poly(butylene succinate) (PBS).
PBS synthesized from succinic acid and 1,4‐butanediol exhibits Balanced performance in thermal and mechanical properties as well as thermoplastic processability compared with other common plastics.
“An emerging material we are quite interested in is PBS which is increasingly coming from renewable sources,” said Sweetman.
“There are four resin suppliers looking to bring this to market in the next couple of years, this is the ‘one to watch’. Tetra Pak is also starting to use renewable polyethelyene.”
According to Sweetman, over 50% of products on a supermarket shelf are laminates in a conventional pack but a recycling nightmare.
He said each package has a three to four layer construction for example, coffee packs, and each layer brings something different such as an outer layer, core layer, barrier, inner layer, containment, sealant and protection.
“The bio-laminates challenge is taking every element and changing it so that it becomes bio compostable,” he added.
Caffé Molinari organic coffee
As an example, Innovia has partnered with Italian coffee company, Caffé Molinari to launch an organic brand constructed in two-layers; a white, metallized, NatureFlex outer layer laminated to a bio-polymer sealant inner layer.
Working in collaboration with Goglio, an international converter, the coffee packs were developed specifically for Caffè Molinari and includes an aroma protecting bio valve, designed and patented by Goglio Plastic Div.
Also, Visionary Foods, in the UK, has launched a paper outer layer for a natural look for its Kale chips with a metallized NatureFlex barrier.
Sweetman added, GEPA fair trade company in Germany is progressively switching its materials to Innovia for its chocolate bars.
“Until now, Coca-Cola has been the only company to showcase a 100% plant derived polyester plant bottle,” he said.
Coca-Cola has been using the PlantBottle – made from up to 30% plant-based material – since 2009. Claiming it as a world first, the company revealed its new 100% plant material bottle at the World Expo in Milan this month.
The bottle is also fully recyclable, and functions in the same way as traditional PET plastic bottles.
“By bringing in renewable forms of materials ie the Plant Bottle the industry is making a step forward in terms of sustainability but doing it without affecting current recycling systems, it’s a very clever use of materials,” said Sweetman.
“Manufacturers haven’t been concentrating that much on film but we are reaching a point where we have to look at every element now, the sustainable packaging jigsaw, start of life process, performance, and end of life.”