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Issue 01/2014

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  • Bioplastics
  • Plastics
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  • Biodegradable
  • Germany
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People Cover Story PLA

People Cover Story PLA foam protects ice cream By: Michael Thielen Sandro Zandonella, and his ancestors of the Zandonella family, have produced and sold gourmet ice cream for four generations - not in Italy, as the name would suggest, but in Landau, Germany. The ice cream specialties are not only sold in their local ice cream parlours but are also available in single-serve and multi packs, as well as in household size containers. Zandonella have recently introduced their new brand Sandro’s Bio with an exceptional natural taste, as Sandro Zandonella, Managing Director and inventor of Sandro’s Bio explains. The flavour line comprises classics such as chocolate or vanilla, cocktail types like Piña Colada as well as the very trendy vegan sorbet specialties. All these products are made with biological 1 or organic 1 ingredients grown locally in the vicinity of their company. “Zandonella is proud that the gourmet quality of their ice cream has been frequently confirmed in blind taste tests,” says Werner Oelschlaeger, Managing Partner of Zandonella. “We are always happy to invite new testers to compare our products with other ice creams, which is always a fun day…,” he adds. PLA BioFoam ® And what is it, which makes Sandro’s Bio unique? “This product is the first ice cream, worldwide, to be packed in PLA BioFoam made by Synprodo,” explains Mr. Oelschlager. This PLA particle foam is comparable to EPS (expanded polystyrene particle foam, sometimes also referred to as Styropor ® ). BioFoam is made from non-GMO crops, notably sugar cane. It is also compostable in industrial composting facilities, where a respective infrastructure is available. The ecological advantages of this packaging material are in line with the advantages concerning the deep-freeze-logistics and customer convenience, i.e. the ice cream can retain its deep-freeze temperature about one hour even in a warm environment, such as inside a sun-heated car. The first packaging product for Sandro’s Bio ice-cream made from BioFoam is a half litre household size container. In order to ensure maximum product safety, and not only with respect to the temperature, the whole packaging product is rather complex. The insulating outer box and lid are made from BioFoam. In addition a thermoformed inlay made of PLA and a PLA lidding film are used. Then the pack is wrapped in shrink film and an outer sleeve made of paper. It is the declared aim of Zandonella to replace even the shrink film and the sleeve by bioplastic materials by the end of this year. Werner Oelschlaeger, himself quite interested in environmental issues since his university times, explains to bioplastics MAGAZINE Zandonella’s motivation for using BioFoam: “One reason was some critical comments from our customers concerning the use of polystyrene. In addition to the fossil resources there is pentane being used as a blowing agent,” he says. “BioFoam gives us the unique position of using a packaging product that, just like expanded polystyrene before it, allows the ice cream to be kept safe and cold, but which is made from renewable resources and with CO 2 as a blowing agent.” For Oelschlaeger it is important that the agricultural products which are used for their packaging do not compete with food. 26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/14] Vol. 9

Foam Sandro Zandonella with a farmer in his local area During the development of the PLA packaging system, which was performed in a rather tight time-frame, some challenges had to be faced and solved. For example an existing mould, previously being used for the EPS version, could not be used, due to different wall thickness requirements. Together with Synprodo (Wijchen, The Netherlands) and even assisted by the expertise of the bio-packaging specialist Bio4Pack from Rheine/Germany, all problems were solved in time, so that a launch of the product at the BioFach trade fair in February in Nuremburg/Germany became an achievable goal. End of Life As an end-of-life scenario of the new Sandro’s Bio PLA foam packaging the company pursues different approaches. Of course all bioplastic parts of the packaging are compostable and even the whole system (foamed box, liner and lid-film) will be certified compostable according to EN 13432. Thus in areas where the respective infrastructure of bio-waste collection and commercial composting is available, a cradleto-cradle closed loop is the perfect solution. In countries such as Germany, where currently only bio-waste bags are allowed in the bio-waste collection bins, a source-separation into the yellow bins/bags-system is the most reasonable approach. Here the biobased plastics will end up in a waste-to-energy recycling process and renewable energy can be exploited. Since the plants have sequestered the same amount of CO 2 from the atmosphere as is being exhausted during incineration, this also is a closed loop. And certainly, as soon as sufficient PLA ends up in the waste stream, it should be separated and recycled into PLA or lactic acid again. The only thing that is being considered a No-go is littering. And this should certainly be communicated to the end consumers. Come and see the BioFoam-ice cream packaging and taste the delicious ice cream at BioFach (12-14. Feb., Nuremberg/Germany) Hall 9 – booth 326 1: Both words by the way are not exactly “precise“ terms to describe, what is really meant here. Unfortunately in many countries these expressions are being used to describe products that are produced on a “as much as possible” natural way, without using pesticides, fertilizers or even genetically modified organisms. MT www.sandros-bio.de www.synprodo.com www.bio4pack.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/14] Vol. 9 27

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