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Issue 06/2020

  • Text
  • Renewable
  • Biodegradable
  • Films
  • Carbon
  • Biobased
  • Products
  • Packaging
  • Materials
  • Plastics
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Films / Flexibles Bioplastics from waste-streams Basics: Eutrophication

Films/Flexibles/Bags By:

Films/Flexibles/Bags By: Chris Schaefer Senior Marketing Director Sidaplax Gentbrugge,Belgium PLA films for packaging What every brand should know Fruit + Nut Pouch (left), Nutritional Bar right A unique time of package transformation. Consumers are actively seeking brands that incorporate more natural, renewable materials into their packaging. These materials reduce waste and lower their company’s carbon footprint. As companies set their sustainability goals, many are including source reduction and compostability in their objectives. It’s all part of building brand equity through more natural, sustainable packaging. For brands, no matter what is included in their Sustainability objectives – compostability, plant-based packaging, less reliance on fossil fuels, material source reduction, lower carbon footprint – PLA bioplastic films meet all of these. Transitioning to packages with bioplastic PLA film is straightforward. Information to help the transition, and additional near term developments within PLA sealant films, are included here. Brand equity and natural packaging A product’s brand equity is often connected to more natural packaging. Brands are intentionally mirroring any attributed property of natural, organic, plant-based, Fair Trade-sourced products in the packaging that holds the product. This is true for example for NUMI Tea (Oakland, California, USA). Numi’s tea envelope contains EarthFirst ® PLA sealant film by Sidaplax, Gentbrugge, Belgium. For communication to consumers, Numi created a plant-based packaging logo which is included on their package. Wander Beyond Brewing - an inventive microbrewery (Manchester, UK) – is using EarthFirst PLA sleeves for their brand decoration. The intentional alignment of natural products and natural packaging tangibly communicates their brand values. Reduce carbon footprint Incorporating PLA film significantly reduces a company’s carbon footprint. Carbon Footprint reductions translate to great offsets in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) impacts. (Photo: NUMI) 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/20] Vol. 15

Films/Flexibles/Bags In the case of Numi’s Tea, exchanging EarthFirst PLA for BOPP in 100 million sachets translates to 90,000 tonnes of CO2 or the equivalent of 375 million miles of driving. Wander Beyond Brewing’s PLA change from PETg in 5 million shrink decoration sleeves translates to 69,900,000 tree seedlings being grown for 10 years. Positive even with limited compostable infrastructure Brands are transitioning to biobased AND biodegradable packaging even with currently limited industrial compostable infrastructure. There are still benefits to PLA films, and bioplastic packages in general, even if packages do not make their way to an industrial composter. One of the greatest benefits is a lower greenhouse gas (GHG) impact. Sourcing naturally from annually-renewable plants (with no competition to human crops), is more environmentally positive. Even if a compostable package ends in a solid waste stream, it has a positive Origin of Life (OOL) and decouples from traditional fossil-fuel based packages. Compostable packaging provides an unparalleled opportunity to capture food waste. Europe generates an estimated 52 million tonnes of food waste annually at Retail and Consumer levels combined [1]. Industrial Compost sites that accept packaging encourage food waste in packaging. Closed loop systems Quick service restaurants and sports venues are ideal candidates for compostable packaging. PLA sealant films within sandwich wrap and foodservice pouches are functioning today in closed loop systems within quick service restaurants and sports venues. An important added benefit is food waste diversion with packaging waste. Bioplastic packages have a different feel and sound. Consumers will likely notice a different feel and sound with PLA film packaging. There’s often a sound of sustainability depending on package materials. Positively communicating this intentional difference to consumers is encouraged. The best way to accelerate compostable packaging transitions is by talking with bioplastic material manufacturers. A great place to start is material suppliers who manufacture base films while also coordinating with packaging converters who manufacture packaging. Both are excellent resources into what is possible for biobased packages. Often, material suppliers have great knowledge of, and great connections with, material manufacturers who supply other layers of a package. Not to put too fine a point on it – PLA sealant film companies have healthy relationships with bioplastic print web companies. It is likely, very likely, they’ve already tested multiple iterations of their films. Call on them. Home Compostable PLA Home Compostable PLA sealant films will be available near term. Home Compostable development is underway and expected in 2021. With either an additive or a blend of PLA and other biocomposites – PHA for example – home compostable films become a near term option. Importantly, in a package lamination, all individual materials would also need to be home compostable for certification. Commercial globally today Modifying packages with bioplastic PLA film is straightforward. Any sustainable step is positive. Non barrier, softer (more PE like) and barrier sealant films are commercial today. One of the greatest opportunities for source reduction is optimizing packages from 3 to 2 layer structures. EarthFirst barrier sealant films – both clear and metalized – combine barrier and sealant into one film. PLA sealant films can be used in an extensive range of flexible packages and as shrink sleeve decoration films. Ideal formats for sealant films are any type of pouch - stick pack, fin seal, stand up pouch, 3 side seal, fractional packages. In terms of packaged product these are packages containing powder and dry mixes, fruit + nut, tea, coffee, nutritional bars, pet treats and any food product in a flexible package. PLA bioplastic films are commercial globally and widely in the market today. Brands are reducing plastic in packaging which is naturally lowering their carbon footprint and enhancing brand equity. Hopefully this increased brand equity translates to more successful products and more profitable businesses. What are you waiting for? References: [1] Recommendations for Action in Food Waste Prevention, Developed by the EU Platform of Food Losses and Food Waste, 12 December 2019 www.sidaplax.com Photo: Wander Beyond Brewing bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/20] Vol. 15 21

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