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Issue 02/2018

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Thermoforming / Rigid

Thermoforming / Rigid Packaging Sustainable meat trays Compostable packaging creates a green revolution in meat packaging With the introduction of a sustainable packaging for fresh meat, Bio4Pack (Rheine, Germany) has taken an important step on the road to more applications for biobased plastics. An entirely new packaging segment has been opened that until recently could only be serviced with traditional packaging materials made using fossil resources. The introduction of compostable meat trays can therefore be called a true world first. More than a decade of development results in a unique packaging For years, it has been the mission of Patrick Gerritsen, Bio4Pack’s director, to realise a fully circular economy. He wants to make as many packaging materials as possible – preferably all – biobased and compostable. The result of this ambition is that Bio4Pack has grown from a developer and supplier of compostable packaging materials for vegetables and fruits to an organisation that also develops and produces compostable and sustainable packaging materials for e.g. (ground) coffee beans, coffee capsules, candy bars and potato chips – all with the required certifications to prove that the packaging materials are biobased and/or compostable. However, the most recent development can rightfully be called the most impressive. After more than a decade of development, Bio4Pack is the first packaging supplier to develop a compostable packaging, made of renewable vegetal materials, that meets the strict standards for packaging meat products. This world first has opened up an entirely new product category for the application of biobased plastics as raw materials. EN-13432 certification as a result of close collaboration The development of the biobased packaging for meat took quite a long time. During the process, Bio4Pack encountered a number of challenges that resulted from specific material properties. The meat tray is made from sugarcane derived PLA. PLA is a strong yet relatively brittle material. To protect the packaging against damage, the developers spent a long time looking for the right impact additive that would give the packaging sufficient strength without affecting its compostability. Furthermore, it proved difficult to find a compostable green pigment to give the tray the right colour. Eventually, the company managed to develop a packaging that meets every single requirement of the strict EN-13432 standard for compostability. The tray itself, the top film with anti-fog properties, the absorption pad (made of cellulose), the label, the glue and the ink are all fully compostable in accordance with this standard. The packaging therefore features the so-called seedling logo to let consumers know that they can throw it in their organic waste container after use. Butchery ProMessa (Deventer, The Netherlands) played an important role in the production of the compostable packaging by actively contributing during the testing phase. During this phase, the developers focused specifically on the shelf life of the packaged meat. The barrier properties of the packaging’s film are essential to the product’s shelf life and therefore to food safety. Furthermore, ProMessa tested the new packaging to evaluate its suitability for mechanical processing, because despite all the environmental benefits it offers, the reliability and efficiency of the production process as a whole cannot be compromised. The positive results of this test made ProMessa decide to start using the new biobased meat packaging on a large scale. Just released and already a massive success That the new compostable packaging satisfies a need is evident from the large demand that already exists for it. Bio4Pack has therefore accelerated its investments in the development and production of different sizes of compostable packaging materials for fresh meat. Furthermore, the packaging materials no longer exist only in green; black and transparent, clear versions are also available. With the development and application of compostable meat trays, Bio4Pack has taken another step towards the realisation of a circular economy. MT www.bio4pack.com | www.pro-messa.nl Compostable meat trays (from left to right) Patrick Gerritsen, Bio4Pack - Leon Kamperman and Hendrik Bom, ProMessa 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/18] Vol. 13

Automotive bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/18] Vol. 13 11

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