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01 | 2010

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Foam PLA Foam Trays

Foam PLA Foam Trays Article contributed by Doug Kunnemann, NatureWorks LLC, resp. for commercial activities focused on food packaging and food service ware in the United States Two organizations, Sealed Air Corporation in Duncan, South Carolina, USA, and Dyne-a-Pak in Laval, Quebec, Canada, are North American pioneers in the development of fresh food foam trays manufactured from NatureWorks Ingeo PLA. As a result of their efforts, brand owners and retailers have a performance alternative to polystyrene foam trays — an alternative that lowers greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption as well as delivering the potential for food waste diversion from landfill. Sealed Air was first to bring a solution to market in North America with Cryovac brand NatureTRAY, an Ingeo foam meat, poultry, and fresh produce tray. NatureTRAYs are certified industrially compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute to the ASTM 6400 standard for biodegradable plastics. (Ingeo resins also meet EN13432 composting standards.) Retail grocery customers can select from a variety of sizes. Sealed Air also offers a line of robust NatureTRAYs designed specifically for the needs of meat, poultry, and fresh produce processors. In May 2008, NatureTRAY received the Institute of Packaging Professionals AmeriStar Award for excellence. One of Sealed Air’s most recent NatureTRAY customers is Prima Bella Produce, Tracy, Calif. Prima Bella utilizes the tray for its line of fresh corn on the cob (see photo). Billions of polystyrene trays are produced in North America every year. Sealed Air estimates that even if a relatively small percentage — under 10% — were converted to Ingeo foam, the environmental benefits would be significant. For example, replacing 90 million polystyrene trays with Ingeo bioresin would save over 1,300,000 liters (340,000 gallons) of gasoline, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of over 18,000,000 km (11,184,681 miles) driven. “As the economy continues to rebound, an increasing number of companies will be in position to adopt these products,” said 30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/10] Vol. 5

Foam Richard Douglas, director of sales and marketing for Sealed Air Corporation Cryovac brand rigid packaging and absorbents group. “To meet near and long term demand, we are continuing to invest in production capabilities that will manufacture NatureTRAYs with ever greater economies of scale.” Dyne-a-Pak sells polystyrene and bioresin-based foam trays in Eastern Canada and in the Northeastern region of the United States. The company’s Dyne-a-Pak Nature foam tray is made with Ingeo polylactide and has been on the market for about one year and represents a multiyear research and development effort. This product has received a QSR Magazine-FPI Foodservice award for manufacturing innovation. “The manufacturing characteristics of Ingeo were relatively similar to polystyrene in terms of extrusion and thermoforming, which meant the bioresin would fit well with our manufacturing processes,” said Mario Grenier, Dyne-a-Pak vice president and general manager. “We also wanted a resin supplier that had the technical expertise to partner with us during the research and development stage as well as one that could assure a steady supply of resin. NatureWorks met both of these selection criteria.” Dyne-a-Pak sells to grocery chains, food distributors, fast food outlets, bakeries, and meat packers. The Dynea-Pak Nature foam tray, which has a density around 0.056 g/cm³ (similar to regular polystyrene trays), is offered in a range of sizes. This bioresin foam tray is certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute to the ASTM 6400 standard. The tray was also successfully tested for conformance to the EN13432 compostability standard by Organic Waste Systems in Belgium. Dyne-a-Pak reports that production of the Ingeo used in the Dyne-a-Pak Nature foam tray requires 50% less water and 49% less fossil fuel to manufacture as compared to petroleum-based polystyrene products and emits 60% less greenhouse gas than an equivalent amount of polystyrene. Grenier said that Dyne-a-Pak originally entered the bioresin foam tray segment of the market because it wanted to offer an alternative to polystyrene — an alternative that was sourced from renewable resources. He anticipates that as the market matures the lower carbon footprint of the Ingeo-based foam trays will become a major selling point. The company has observed a marked rise of interest in its Dyne-a-Pak Nature foam trays during the last quarter of 2009 and attributes this fact to gradual improvements in the economy and a trend toward reducing the environmental impact of packaging products. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K magnetic_148, 175.00 lpi 15.00° 75.00° 0.00° 45.00° 14.03.2009 10:13:31 Prozess CyanProzess MagentaProzess GelbProzess Schwarz Magnetic for Plastics • International Trade in Raw Materials, Machinery & Products Free of Charge • Daily News from the Industrial Sector and the Plastics Markets • Current Market Prices for Plastics. • Buyer’s Guide for Plastics & Additives, Machinery & Equipment, Subcontractors and Services. • Job Market for Specialists and Executive Staff in the Plastics Industry Up-to-date • Fast • Professional bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/10] Vol. 5 31

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