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New bottle sleeve from Kite Packaging leverages strength of the hexagon

Kite Packaging has launched a biodegradable and recyclable bottle sleeve that it says can boast “extreme strength and cost-efficiency.”

The employee-owned business utilised its team of in-house experts to produce the solution, which is being sold as “Flexi-Hex”. The sleeves are produced from 85% recycled paper and can, according to the company, be easily recycled after use.

The pinch top box ensures a completely plastic-free design by eliminating the need for tape while reportedly providing a safe and secure fastening. Used in conjunction, Kite says that these products provide excellent protection while minimising environmental impact.

The product’s honeycomb-inspired structure features expandable hexagonal cells. In addition, Kite says that its Flexi-Hex products significantly enhance the unboxing experience, which is crucial for securing repeat customers and establishing a reputable brand image.

Hexagons are renowned for their structural strength. It is the company’s view that this makes the sleeve suitable for packaging delicate items including glass bottles, ceramics, or homeware.

In a statement, Kite Packaging commented: “The cellular construction intertwines optimal strength with incredible flexibility, enabling you to compress the sleeves for space-saving storage before opening them up to protect your goods.

“This versatility is tailormade for guarding against any knocks and drops that can occur in transit, granting your goods an exceptional level of protection.”

Source

https://packagingeurope.com/new-bottle-sleeve-from-kite-packaging-leverages-strength-of-hexagon/

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Unilever Transforms Deodorant Package for People with Disabilities

Refillable packaging for the new Degree Inclusive deodorant is easy to open and apply for people with visual impairment and upper limb motor disabilities.

As society becomes more aware of inequalities in life, brands are acting to show they have heard, and to show they care. One such example is the new Degree Inclusive deodorant from Unilever, currently in trial.

Degree Inclusive is the first deodorant product that comes in packaging specially designed for people with disabilities such as vision loss and missing or impaired upper limbs. People with limited arm mobility have trouble twisting a deodorant cap, turning a stick, or pushing down on a spray can — typical actions required with current packages. So, Degree reached out to occupational therapists, engineers, consultants, and designers from Wunderman Thompson — as well as getting input from people living with disabilities — to create an easy-to-apply deodorant package.

Unique features of the prototype package are:

• A hooked design for one-hand use.
• Magnetic closures for easy cap removal and reclosing.
• Ergonomic grip for easier application for users with limited mobility or no arms.
• Braille instructions on the label for users with impaired or no vision.
• A larger roll-on applicator to reach more surface area per swipe.

As society becomes more aware of inequalities in life, brands are acting to show they have heard, and to show they care. One such example is the new Degree Inclusive deodorant from Unilever, currently in trial.

Degree Inclusive is the first deodorant product that comes in packaging specially designed for people with disabilities such as vision loss and missing or impaired upper limbs. People with limited arm mobility have trouble twisting a deodorant cap, turning a stick, or pushing down on a spray can — typical actions required with current packages. So, Degree reached out to occupational therapists, engineers, consultants, and designers from Wunderman Thompson — as well as getting input from people living with disabilities — to create an easy-to-apply deodorant package.

Unique features of the prototype package are:

• A hooked design for one-hand use.
• Magnetic closures for easy cap removal and reclosing.
• Ergonomic grip for easier application for users with limited mobility or no arms.
• Braille instructions on the label for users with impaired or no vision.
• A larger roll-on applicator to reach more surface area per swipe.

You can see people using the new product/package in this video:https://www.youtube.com/embed/AuV0evL5YyQ

Degree has invited 200 people with disabilities in the US to try this new product, working in partnership with The Chicago LighthouseOpen Style Lab, and Muscular Dystrophy Association. Participants have been asked to share their feedback on the product and the package, including functionality and messaging. Their input will help improve the product/package for its future commercial launch.

Design studio SOUR created the 200+ prototypes for Degree’s user trial. “While the early prototypes were 3D printed in-house for rapid iteration,” says Pinar Guvenc, partner at SOUR, “the final prototype has been produced through reaction injection molding.”

She tells Packaging Digest that the prototype holds approximately 40 milliliters of liquid deodorant, but the package is flexible in design so it could hold 50 to 75 ml for the commercial product.

Scents and sensitivities.

In addition to addressing physical disabilities, Degree Inclusive also takes other key issues into account: gender neutrality and sustainability.

Degree opted for a gender-neutral package and fragrance. As Guvenc explains, “A gender-neutral fragrance has been created as the pack is also designed to be gender-neutral. The scent is also very light to account for people with sensitivity in sense of smell.”

Two other considerations might be an influence in this decision as well:

• One, the number of disabled adults in America (about 28 million, according to 2019 US Census numbers) is a small percentage of total adults (about 252 million). So, the relatively small target audience probably couldn’t support multiple stock-keeping units (SKUs). Hence, a gender-neutral package makes sense from a financial and production point of view. However, once the commercial package is available, Degree might find that consumers who are not disabled could be interested in buying this product because of the slick-looking package that’s highly functional.

• Two, a gender-neutral package and fragrance shows sensitivity to today’s social attention on gender identity. That could resonate with like-minded consumers from a marketing/messaging perspective.

Regarding sustainability, the personal care product comes in a durable plastic package ultimately designed to be refillable to help reduce plastic consumption. But the refill pack doesn’t exist yet, according to Guvenc, so we don’t know what it looks like or how easy it would be to handle and replace. “The refill pack will be designed after gathering feedback on the roll-on prototype trial,” she says.

An affordable refill pack could also be part of the economics of the package, which looks pretty expensive compared to the typical deodorant applicator. Degree’s public relations firm was not able to answer our question on the product’s suggested retail price since this product is just being trialed.

But the model of high-end, or even luxury, packaging that’s designed to be robust enough for multiple reuses seems to be catching on with sustainably-minded consumers, as evidenced by the success of Loop, the circular shopping platform that enables consumers to buy branded products in durable, not disposable, packaging.

Source

https://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/unilever-transforms-deodorant-package-people-disabilities

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Australian first: recyclable toothpaste tube from Colgate

In an Australian-first, Colgate-Palmolive has launched a recyclable tube for its Colgate toothpaste and is making its packaging technology available to all competitors.

With 50 million toothpaste tubes per annum sent to landfill in Australia, this is a welcome development from Colgate-Palmolive.

The new packaging technology, developed by global team of Colgate engineers, was five years in the making. The high density polyethylene (HDPE) tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as kerbside recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label program run by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.

Perhaps the biggest win for local industry is that market leader Colgate-Palmolive says it will be sharing its tube technology with interested companies and competitors.

The high density polyethylene (HDPE) tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as kerbside recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label program.

The high density polyethylene (HDPE) tube is the first of its kind to be categorised as kerbside recyclable under the Australasian Recycling Label program

Perhaps the biggest win for local industry is that market leader Colgate-Palmolive says it will be sharing its tube technology with interested companies and competitors.

Simon Petersen, general manager, Colgate-Palmolive South Pacific, said, “Colgate-Palmolive wants all toothpaste tubes to meet the same third-party recycling standards that we’ve achieved, so we are openly sharing our technology with toothpaste competitors as well as manufacturers of all kinds of tubes.”

According to Petersen, making toothpaste tubes part of the circular economy will help keep plastic productive and eliminate waste.

“There is a lot of work ahead, but launching Colgate Smile for Good is a major first step.”

Recyclable tube development

Most toothpaste tubes are made from sheets of plastic laminate – usually a combination of different plastics – sandwiched around a thin layer of aluminium. The mix of materials makes it difficult to recycle through conventional methods. 

The Colgate Smile for Good tube has changed this by using HDPE. According to the company, having previously thought HDPE was too rigid a material to form a squeezable toothpaste tube, Colgate engineers developed a solution that could combine different grades and thicknesses of HDPE laminate into a tube that meets recycling standards, while still protecting the product and holding up to the demands of high-speed production, while remaining comfortably squeezable.

Small steps make big things happen

The Smile for Good range includes toothpaste in two variants, mouthwash, dental floss and the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush.
The Smile for Good range includes toothpaste in two variants, mouthwash, dental floss and the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush.

The recyclable tube development is another step in Colgate-Palmolive’s ongoing effort to help Australians make small, sustainable changes for the better, including the launch of the Colgate Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrush and its TerraCycle partnership.

The company says Colgate Smile for Good is improving the brand’s sustainability profile to help achieve its global target of 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025 and Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.

The new Colgate Smile for Good range also contributes to Colgate’s ongoing work supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

The development of the Smile for Good tube technology saw Colgate-Palmolive named on Fast Company World’s most innovative companies list in March 2021.

Colgate Smile for Good toothpaste is now available for purchase across all major retailers in Australia.

The toothpaste is available in two variants: Smile for Good Protection and Smile for Good Natural White. The range also includes Smile for Good Protection mouthwash, Colgate Bamboo Charcoal toothbrush, and Smile for Good dental floss.

Source

https://www.packagingnews.com.au/latest/australian-first-recyclable-toothpaste-tube-from-colgate

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Stora Enso and Pulpex partner to scale fibre-based bottles

Stora Enso and packaging technology company Pulpex have joined forces to industrialize the production of paper bottles and containers made from wood fibre pulp.

The joint development agreement is formed exclusively between Stora Enso and Pulpex, a sustainable packaging technology company established by Diageo, the maker of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness, and Pilot Lite, a venture management company.

Produced with sustainably-sourced formed fibre pulp, the partnership says that its bottles and containers could enable a significantly lower carbon footprint compared with glass or PET.

The formed fibre products are manufactured by pressing various wood-based pulps into a three-dimensional shape in a moulding machine. The focus of the partnership now is on developing a high-speed production line which is expected to be operational in 2022

“We see great potential in combining development skills of Pulpex with our industrial capabilities, says Sohrab Kazemahvazi, SVP of formed fibre at Stora Enso. “This cooperation marks an important step in bringing to market a truly sustainable alternative to plastic bottles and containers, while offering end-user qualities that match those of traditional packaging in the beverage market.”

Using Stora Enso’s formed fibre material, Pulpex plans to produce paper bottles for an array of global brands across a variety of market applications, from homecare and personal care products to alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and liquid foods.

All of Stora Enso’s wood fibre pulp reportedly comes from sustainable, verified sources. According to the companies, the customizable Pulpex bottle allows for embossing, labelling and coloured pigments to fit brand needs, and can integrate into packaging manufacturers’ existing filling infrastructures.

“We are delighted to have Stora Enso involved with Pulpex and are looking forward to the tangible benefits of such a formidable collaboration that will undoubtedly help us over the coming months as we seek to make our new, high-speed production lines available to all our partners,” says Scott Winston, director of Pulpex Limited.

Source

https://packagingeurope.com/stora-enso-and-pulpex-partner-to-scale-fibre-based-bottles/

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More plastic packaging transformation for Woolies

Woolworths has announced that an additional 50 stores plus two new stores will be single-use plastic shopping bag free by the end of April and has replaced plastic packaging with kraft packaging for popular ‘Ripe and Ready’ avocados.

These milestones help steer the retailer towards its vision of ZERO packaging waste to landfill, which includes the removal of single-use plastic from its stores and commitment for all its packaging to be either reusable or recyclable.

“These additional 52 stores based mainly in Gauteng and the Western Cape, takes us to over 200 single-use plastic bag free stores in Southern Africa.  A significant achievement at a time when we have had so many supply uncertainties,” says Latiefa Behardien, Woolworths Head of Foods Technology, Safety and Good Business Journey.

Avo packaging gets a makeover

The recent rollout of new avocado packaging to all varieties sees the polystyrene plastic punnet being replaced with a kraft box base made from 63% recycled paper which equates to an annual plastic saving of between 35 – 40 tonsand is covered with a fully recyclable shrink wrap.

It has also had its challenges as the transportation of ‘Ripe and Ready’ avocados from farm to distribution centre to store and then into customer’s homes requires gentle but robust packaging choice.  

“We have been working closely with our suppliers and packaging manufacturers for over two years on this new design, including extensive customer trials over the last eight months with the various avocado varieties. 

“We are confident that the new packaging will deliver the functionality that we need. Kraft board is an excellent packaging alternative to plastic in that it is 100% fully recyclable, biodegradable, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC N002141) certified and locally-sourced,” concludes Behardien.

Woolies is also trialling in the Western Cape a moisture-resistant kraft pot to replace the traditional plastic pot for its ‘Grow Your Own’ herb range.  If the trial is successful, this shift could result in a 13.9 ton plastic reduction per annum.

Source: Woolworths

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Wheat, mango peel biopolymers can replace petroleum-based food packaging, say researchers

Biocomposite films made from biopolymers and antioxidants extracted from wheat straw and mango peels can replace petroleum-based packaging materials, such as low-density polyethylene plastic film, for food packaging, says Stellenbosch University Department of Process Engineering postdoctoral fellow and chemical engineer Dr Lindleen Mugwagwa.

Wheat straw and mango peels are normally disposed of in landfills or used as animal feed, but can provide feedstock polymers and antioxidants to produce renewable, biodegradable and nontoxic active food packaging.

Active food packaging has the ability to respond to temperature and time changes in food storage and could help keep products fresher for longer. This is one of the main findings of her recent doctoral study.

As part of her study, Mugwagwa developed and optimised processes for extracting polymers and antioxidants. She then combined the polymers and antioxidants to make a food packaging material and tested the stability of the biocomposite films when in contact with food, as well as their potential to release antioxidants into packaged food over time.

Low-density polyethylene film, a commonly used plastic, was used as a benchmark.

The properties of polymers and antioxidants in wheat straw and mango peels can be tailor-made during extraction to suit their application in food packaging, says Mugwagwa, adding that the polymers and antioxidants can be extracted simultaneously from the same feedstock without affecting their use in food packaging.

“The bio-based films that I developed were capable of releasing more antioxidants into food over a short period of time when compared to low-density polyethylene plastic. This suggests they can be a replacement for perishables food packaging.

“The release of antioxidants into food by packaging material is becoming an important aspect to consider when choosing packaging material. Packaging material capable of releasing antioxidants into food in response to storage conditions have the potential to increase the shelf life of products because the released antioxidants act upon free radicals and microorganisms, which may develop when food is improperly stored or stored for longer periods.”

The polymers are cheap, sustainable and biodegradable and can be used in the development of food packaging, as well as presenting methods for recovering natural antioxidants and their application as additives to food packaging material. These natural antioxidants have the potential to replace artificial antioxidants in packaging material. Biorefineries and the food packaging industry, as well as farmers and consumers, will benefit from the research, she says.

Mugwagwa’s study was conducted under the supervision of Stellenbosch University Department of Process Engineering professor Annie Chimphango, with the financial support from the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the National Research Foundation of South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Waste Road Map, and Stellenbosch University Department of Process Engineering.

Source

https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/wheat-mango-peel-biopolymers-can-replace-petroleum-based-food-packaging-say-researchers

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Paper, wood products vital to lower carbon footprint

Developed centuries ago, paper has a fascinating history as it has been through the mill – literally and figuratively – in terms of what it is made from, says paper and pulp industry association the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA).

It also has many interesting side stories such as the not well known story of paper storing carbon – which makes it good for the planet.

Even when planted trees are harvested for their wood – for paper, timber construction, packaging and tissue – the carbon remains locked up in the wood fibres and stays there for the lifecycle of those products. It is just one of the reasons paper recycling is important as it keeps the carbon locked up longer.

“To understand why paper and wood products are vital to a lower carbon footprint, we can borrow from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman’s assertion that trees don’t grow from the ground, they grow from the air,” says PAMSA executive director Jane Molony.

The photosynthesis process involves plants absorbing sunlight and carbon dioxide to make food. Trees take in carbon dioxide from the air, and water from the ground – which also came from the air at some point – and convert this into growth (trunks, roots and leaves). Oxygen is then returned to the atmosphere, meaning that this carbon cycle is why trees of all kinds are such a vital part of keeping our planet regulated, offsetting greenhouse-gas emissions and mitigating climate change, the association explains.

“In South Africa, trees can be divided into two groups – indigenous trees in natural forests and commercially and sustainably farmed trees in plantations. The latter were introduced some 100 years ago to protect natural forests, by providing farmed wood for productive purposes,” adds Molony.

Plantation trees are essentially crops that are planted and replanted in rotations, with only 9% of the total tree count being harvested in any given year. This means that there are always trees growing, at different stages of maturity, and these trees are contributing to the carbon cycle.

New Chapters for Wood

As the paper sector finds ways to diversify in the face of digitisation and reduced printing and writing paper demand, chemists and chemical engineers are increasingly discovering the “wonder of wood”.

Wood is made up of cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, sugars and extracts. The properties of these elements make them suitable ingredients in countless, low-carbon products.

For example, dissolving wood pulp, a purified form of cellulose, is suitable for chemical conversion into a range of products – it is spun into viscose and lyocell textile fibres for use in fashion and decorating textiles, cast into a film or regenerated into a sponge.

It is extremely versatile as it can also bind active medicinal ingredients or vitamins into palatable tablets, stabilise emulsions or increase viscosity – which is why it is added to low-fat yoghurt and lipstick.

Nanocellulose – tiny cellulose nanofibres – can be used in food supplements and edible packaging, or even as a composite for screens on electronic devices.

Further, paper packaging manufacturers are exploring its use in weight reduction for paperboard without compromising strength and performance. The substance can also be applied as a recycling-friendly barrier coating instead of plastic.

By extracting more value from a tree, less goes to waste, Molony notes. “This opens the sector up to make even more meaningful contributions to sustainable product development and the circular economy.”

And by growing more trees and making innovative things from them, she concludes that the general quality of life can improve, which would make the world more sustainable. 

Source

https://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/versatile-pulp-and-paper-offer-carbon-friendly-alternative

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Colgate launches recyclable toothpaste tube in South Africa

Dental product manufacturer Colgate on April 22 launched its recyclable toothpaste tube in South Africa to coincide with Earth Day.

Made from number two high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the new tubes will contain one of three Colgate Naturals toothpaste, including its charcoal, hemp seed oil and aloe vera variants of toothpaste.

Colgate claims that, historically, toothpaste tubes have been made of materials that cannot be recycled, including certain plastics and aluminium foil.

However, its new tubes, which were launched in other regions in 2020, have been developed to contain nine layers, using two grades of HDPE plastic and which can be recycled by companies capable of handling HDPE materials.

Colgate South Africa GM Francois Falls says that, while the new recyclable tubes are a Colgate project, the outcomes from it should be for the broader toothpaste manufacturing community. In this regard, he says Colgate plans to openly share its innovation with other companies. “Our dream is to have all tubes, not only toothpaste, be recycled in practise and at scale.”

Colgate also has plans to move all its toothpaste products into recyclable tubes in the future.

It further states that it is working with third-party recyclers to establish recycling capacity for its new tubes.

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Is there potential in hemp for bioplastics?

As more companies move towards biopolymers as an alternative to fossil-fuel-based plastic, some are considering hemp as a potential biomass source, but can this ‘wonder crop’ make an impact in the world of bioplastic? Heidi Vella investigates.

The humble hemp plant has long been known for its versatility: alongside bamboo, it is one of the quickest growing plants and is routinely refined into a variety of commercial items, including paper, textiles, and food products.It is, however, perhaps more closely associated with the drug cannabis, both of which are derived from the cannabis sativa plant. Although a different product altogether, it’s the US’s deregulation of this more infamous product that is driving a burgeoning new market – one using hemp to produce bioplastics for packaging.

The 2018 US Farm Bill changed federal policy, removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act and allowing the consideration of hemp as an agricultural product: meaning farmers can now cultivate it industrially, the waste from which many say is an ideal bioplastic feedstock.

Why hemp?

In fact, one of the first companies to use hemp bioplastics in its products is a cannabis packaging designer and manufacturer. California-based Sana Packaging uses a fibre-reinforced biocomposite made from 30% micronised hemp herd and 70% polylactic acid (PLA), derived from plants such as corn and kenaf, to produce its premium packaging.

Sana co-founder & CSO, James Eichner, says that the company was inspired to use hemp as a feedstock for bioplastics as it has several agricultural advantages over corn, from which most bioplastics are derived.

“Two crops of hemp can be grown in the time it takes to grow one of corn, hemp requires around a third of the water corn does and because it is a canopy crop, it protects the soil from sunlight and erosion – unlike corn, which leaves the soil exposed. Hemp regenerates the soil, whereas corn depletes it,” explains Eichner.

Hemp is also known to absorb large quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere and can create a cellulose content – which is important for bioplastics – of 65%-75%. It is also flexible within crop cycles, due to its small harvesting period of only four months.

Sana initially started producing its packaging with pilot projects and then, when it could assure stability of supply, commercially at the beginning of 2019. Now the company is working with multiple suppliers.

Establishing a supply

However, Eichner says the supply chain for hemp feedstock is by no means comparable to other materials and it currently comes at a premium price.

CEO of US-based Hemp Plastics, Glen Kayll, says hemp bioplastics “can be less expensive than some PLA’s, depending on the base material, but more expensive than fossil fuel fuel-based resin.”

The major factor is that, as yet, there is no commercial availability of polymerized hemp plastic.

“It’s very early stages for hemp, but it is fundamentally a disruptive technology, driven by massive deregulation, which continues to play out around the world. The big swing in North America was the CBD market, which creates large amounts of industrial hemp waste that has made this opportunity more possible,” he explains.

California-based, Sana Packaging uses a fibre-reinforced biocomposite made from micronized hemp herd (30%) and PLA (70%), derived from plants such as corn and kenaf, to produce its premium packaging. Credit: Sana Packaging

The size of the global industrial hemp market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 13.7% between 2020 to 2025 and be worth $12.98bn by 2025. Difficulty refining end products from the crop and fluctuations of availability of raw materials, however, is restricting the market.

Like Eichner, Kayll believes hemp can address some of the environmental concerns around the growth of fossil fuel plastics, as well as the increase in industrial hemp waste.

“We realised that a large amount of hemp was going to be available and thought: wouldn’t it be great to find a way to reduce the amount of fossil fuel plastic and provide a product that is reasonably inexpensive and easy to implement and happens to look fantastic,” he explains.

Similarly to Sana, Hemp Plastics does not use 100% hemp-based plastic, but blends hemp plastics with various different thermoplastics, including fossil fuel and bioplastics, and custom blends.

Lack of infrastructure

While hemp is routinely used in other markets, Corey Kratcha, CEO of C2Renew, a biocomposite manufacturer that uses hemp as one of its inputs, says there is a lack of infrastructure for hemp bio-feeds.

“It’s a chicken and egg scenario with fibre processing in general. It usually starts with a pilot or small-scale investment in the equipment, but the output is so low that the economics to recoup the cost has to be much higher,” he explains.

“That can be prohibitive, there needs to be confirmation there will be revenue sources. We would use it readily if the supply was consistent.”

A challenge to investments in the industry could be that corn, the dominant feedstock for bioplastics, is heavily subsidised in the US. Farmers that produce commodity crops such as corn receive around 40% of their income from subsidies.

What we’re trying to do is recognise the need to move away from corn as a mono-crop in the US and as a feedstock for bioplastics.

“Corn has been subsidised for a very long time and hemp will not compete with it until either the hemp industry reaches a certain economy of scale through its own natural growth, or until hemp itself is subsidised, or until corn is no longer subsidised,” says Eichner.

“What we’re trying to do is recognise the need to move away from corn as a mono-crop in the US and as a feedstock for bioplastics.”

In Europe, where France is the predominant producer of hemp, the hemp packaging industry is as yet non-existent. However, the European Industrial Hemp Association is promoting it as a potential application and says the sector is becoming more organised and has “great opportunities ahead”.

The Association reports that there is currently an oversupply of hemp biomass in the EU, caused by the “hype” around CBD, which in turn has led to an ‘explosive growth in the number of cultivators, producers, and investors’.

It was recently reported that authorities in the Italian town of Roccasecca are exploring the potential for developing a hemp plastics supply chain while cleaning up local land, as the plant has remediation possibilities. A company called Eir Health also claims to be building the first factory in Europe to produce 100% biodegradable Hemp PLA.

Future potential

Despite hemp’s environmental credentials, some question the sustainability of bioplastics full-stop, noting that they are often non-recyclable and commercial compositing is still nascent.

Eichner agrees that the end of life argument is where the sustainability case for plant-based materials becomes harder to make.

However, Kayll says even if it is not biodegradable, reducing the amount of plastic used by 25% – the level of hemp used in Hemp Plastics’ products – is “meaningful”.

“If you are a company that’s running hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plastic every year, then that’s a very meaningful reduction, and it’s also a great way to sequester CO2,” he says.

While the hemp bioplastics sector is still fledgeling, Kayll believes in the future it will compete with other commodities due to its durability, versatility, and ease of growth.

“It’s a very valuable plant, there’s going to be many applications, it’s just going to take a while – industries take time to build, but the bioplastics and sustainable materials market is growing extremely quickly relative to your traditional incumbent markets,” says Kayll.

Indeed, by 2030, it is estimated that 40% of the plastics industry will be bioplastics. Furthermore, Kratcha says it only takes one huge company to start using hemp bioplastics to move the market.

“Hypothetically, if Walmart said it wants hemp composite in its clothes hangers it would very much move the needle,” he concludes.

Source

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German confectionery brand opts for Futamura compostable packaging

Futamura has supplied German confectionery brand Cool with NatureFlex compostable cellulose films to package its confectionery product Ocoologisch Herz Lolli (lollies).

According to Futamura, its NatureFlex and Cellophane products have good technical performance for confectionery, with barrier, optical clarity and deadfold, a benefit for traditional twist wrap applications.

The films can also be printed and laminated just like conventional plastic films.

The individual lollies are wrapped in single-ply NatureFlex and the outer bag is a NatureFlex / biofilm laminate.

André Richter from Cool, said: “We were looking for an ‘environmentally friendly’ variant of this type of packaging and found a suitable price-performance ratio at NatureFlex. Good quality, stability and hold are important.

“We have found the machine performance to be good and in no way inferior to other conventional films. We regularly receive good feedback from consumers who feel it is very positive that we care about the environment, often asking if there are other products using these bio films.”

https://www.packagingnews.co.uk/news/materials/flexible-plastics/german-confectionery-brand-opts-futamura-compostable-packaging