News & Updates Sustainability

MMC moves to large-scale production of mushroom-made packaging

The Magical Mushroom Company (MMC) has announced the launch of large-scale production of its mushroom-derived biodegradable packaging, a plastic-free alternative that can be broken up to biodegrade on a home compost heap or flowerbed. 

The company claims that this new packaging offers the same performance, at comparable cost, to traditional polystyrene, and is already being used to protect goods ranging from cookers, to cosmetics and a variety of everyday consumer products, including Diageo’s non-alcoholic gin brand, Seedlip

This is made possible through mycelium composite technology, pioneered and patented by US firm Ecovative Design LLC. The process takes the post-processing waste from agricultural products such as hemp, hops, corn and timber and combines them with mycelium – the root system of the mushroom. This living material is then grown to shape using 3D moulds of the packaging design. These moulds are baked, hardening the material and preventing any further growth. The full process, from design to prototype takes 14 days. 

MMC Holding International LTD, trading as The Magical Mushroom Company, has the exclusive EU, UK and Ireland licence to produce Mushroom® Packaging. Its first facility, in Esher, Surrey, began production in August 2020 and has capacity to produce more than a million packaging units per year. Expand


The business will open a second UK plant in 2021, increasing total production to more than three million units per year. This will be followed by the opening of plants in Bulgaria and Italy, which together will provide production capacity for the EU of more than six million units annually. A third continental European plant (in Germany) will open in 2022.

The company says that packaging produced by MMC is 100% biodegradable at home and breaks down in soil within 40 days. It also fully breaks down in water in just 180 days, meaning it has the long-term potential to significantly reduce the level of plastic waste in our oceans.

MMC is already working with a number of iconic brands that are serious about reducing their environmental impact. Current clients include Lush Cosmetics, Raine Marine, Bodyshop, Seedlip (from the Diageo group) and luxury designer, Tom Dixon. 

Paul Gilligan, founder and CEO, commented: “We called ourselves the Magical Mushroom company for a reason. Mycelium’s unique qualities really are magical, enabling us to produce a hard-wearing, cost effective and totally sustainable alternative to polystyrene packaging that biodegrades in the back garden in under 40 days. 

“We’re thrilled to be open for business and excited by how quickly we’re scaling up our production and securing ever bigger contracts. Customer feedback has been universally positive and our earliest customers are all – without exception – now coming back for more.”

“With over a decade of experience producing mycelium materials at scale, Ecovative is thrilled to see consumers and brands around the world adopt Mushroom® Packaging,” said Gavin McIntyre, co-founder and Director of Business Development at Ecovative Design. “We are excited to be working with Magical Mushroom Company to further scale this technology and look forward to providing more brands with this breakthrough packaging solution.”


News & Updates Sustainability

Coda Group launches coffee pod material made from agricultural waste

Biomaterials manufacturer Coda Group has launched Solinatra – a home-compostable material made from agricultural waste that the company says can be used to replace plastic and aluminium coffee capsules.

Over 60 billion coffee capsules are consumed globally each year, and many of these are currently made from layers of plastic or aluminium. According to Coda, while most capsules are technically recyclable, only a small proportion actually make their way into recycling streams.  

Coda’s own solution is home compostable – reportedly breaking down in the same time frame as a banana skin and leaving behind zero contamination. Manufactured from 100% plant-based materials sourced from agricultural waste products, the company is pitching Solinatra as a low-carbon solution that can help coffee brands and consumers to reach net-zero goals.  

Following a presentation and Q&A at the AMI virtual summit, Simon Girdlestone, head of sales and marketing at Coda Group, says: “Biodegrading in the same time as a banana skin, Solinatra is a revolutionary new material. Our innovative new biomaterial is a gamechanger for coffee brands and capsule manufacturers worldwide, and we are excited to lead the charge for truly sustainable production. 

“Currently consumers face a postcode lottery as to what recycling or composting opportunities are available to them, with Solinatra customers can be safe in the knowledge that their coffee capsules cause no harm to the environment no matter how they are disposed of.”  


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Maker of IRN-BRU transitions to 100% recycled shrink wrap

AG Barr, the maker of IRN-BRU and Rubicon, has announced that all its soft drink consumer multipacks will be wrapped in 100% recycled shrink wrap by the end of 2021.

This move is projected to save 400 tonnes of virgin plastic a year – the weight of about 250 cars.

IRN-BRU is the first AG Barr brand to make the switch to 100% recycled wrap across its can multipacks, with the new pack set to hit shelves from May. In terms of primary packaging, all of the company’s soft drinks packaging is already recyclable.

Following this step, AG Barr’s entire portfolio of soft drinks will use 100% recycled printed film by the end of 2021, so IRN-BRU will be joined by other brands including Barr Flavours and Rubicon.

Roger White, AG Barr’s chief executive, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make our products more sustainable and we’re delighted to introduce this new 100% recycled film which has half the carbon footprint of its virgin plastic equivalent.

“This is just one step towards our longer-term carbon neutral ambition, ensuring we play our part in reducing the effects of climate change on our planet.”


News & Updates Sustainability

EU beverage packaging aims to be fully circular by 2030

UNESDA Soft Drinks Europe pledges that EU[1] beverage packaging[2] will be fully circular by 2030.

Launching its Circular Packaging Vision 2030, the industry commits that by 2025 its packaging will be 100% recyclable and its PET bottles using 50% recycled content. It ambitions that by 2030, its PET bottles will be made from 100% recycled and/or renewable PET, where technically and economically feasible. It also pledges that more than 90% of its packaging will be collected and that it will use more refillable packaging. These actions, says UNESDA, are directly contributing to the EU circular economy transition and surpassing EU targets set out in legislation. 

“Our goal is that beverage packaging achieves full circularity and is recognised as a resource in a circular economy: it has value, is recyclable, is collected and used as recycled content,” said Ian Ellington, UNESDA president and SVP and Chief Category Officer, PepsiCo Europe. “We believe that packaging is a resource that should never be wasted and are taking numerous actions to achieve full circularity and support the European Commission’s agenda of accelerating the transition towards a green economy.”

A circular packaging is designed to contain recycled content, is recyclable and possibly also reusable; it is therefore part of a circular economy where the waste management and recycling infrastructure allows it to be widely collected, recycled and reused.

UNESDA says its members will deliver their Vision through these three equal pillars of circularity:

Collect: striving to achieve closed-loop collection of beverage packaging supporting:

  • Creation of closed-loop beverage packaging collection and recycling systems to accelerate achievement of the target of at least 90% collection of all its packaging by 2030[3]
  • Wider introduction of well-designed Deposit Return Schemes (DRS) for PET, aluminium cans and other materials (depending on the local situation) when 90% collection by existing Extended Producer Responsibility systems is not achievable.

Recycle: using only packaging that is circular by design and boosting uptake of rPET in beverage packaging to deliver:

  • By 2025:
  • Beverage packaging (plastic, metal, glass) will be 100% recyclable
  • All soft drinks PET bottles will contain a minimum average of 50% rPET
  • By 2030: The ambition is for PET bottles to be made from 100% recycled and/or renewable material if technically and economically feasible – thereby moving away from fossil fuel sources.

Reduce and reuse: reducing the sector’s packaging footprint and increasing the use of refillable packaging:

  • Aiming to use more refillable packaging by 2030 compared with 2020[4]
  • Studying the best environmental and economic pathway to increase use of refillable models.

Innovation is at the heart of circularity and the sector will continue investing in recycling technologies – including enhanced recycling – to improve their efficiency and financial performance. By combining mechanically recycled PET, enhanced recycled PET and renewable PET it is possible to reduce the carbon footprint of packaging and deliver products in a safe and sustainable packaging.

Europe’s soft drinks industry says it fully supports the EU ambition of making Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and building a European circular economy – including packaging circularity.

To deliver its Vision, the sector will need coherent support from EU authorities and national governments including:

  • long-term perspective and legal certainty as well as protecting the single market;
  • a well-functioning secondary raw materials market that gives the soft drinks sector access to sufficient high quality rPET in order to meet its obligations under EU law, without compromising on safety standards and avoiding downcycling;
  • increased investment in waste management and recycling infrastructure;
  • an EU framework enabling innovative recycling technologies;
  • EU minimum requirements for new DRS across Europe
  • clear definitions of recyclability that foster innovation and investment.

“Our Circular Packaging Vision 2030 demonstrates that Europe’s soft drinks industry wants to continue to be a part of the solution,” concluded Ellington. “Circularity works and we are ready to make long-term investments in supporting and accompanying the transition to ensure that none of our packaging ends up as litter.”

[1] EU + Norway, Switzerland and UK

[2] Primary packaging corresponds to beverage containers (eg. PET bottles), caps and labels. Secondary plastic packaging is everything intended to protect not only the product, but also primary packaging which is often that most visible to the consumer in retail displays.  The most common examples of secondary packaging include cardboard cartons, cardboard boxes and cardboard/plastic crates.

[3] In EU law only PET beverage bottles have a 90% collection for recycling target. Aluminium (as a general material, not just cans) has a 60% recycling target by end of 2030 and glass (as a general material not just bottles) has a 75% recycling target by end of 2030

[4] Current share for each packaging at EU level: PET 68% – 64% non-refillables, 4% refillables; Glass 7% – 3% non refillables, 4% refillables; Aluminium: 17%, no refillable


News & Updates Sustainability

Coca-Cola announces European trial for paper bottle prototype

Coca-Cola is set to launch a European trial for its recently announced first-ever paper bottle prototype.

The solution has been developed through a partnership between scientists at the Coca-Cola Research and Development Laboratories in Brussels and The Paper Bottle Company (Paboco).

The technology developed by Paboco is designed to create recyclable bottles made of sustainably-sourced wood that are capable of resisting liquids, CO2, and oxygen, and are suitable for liquid goods such as carbonated and still drinks, beauty products, and more. 

The current prototype consists of a paper shell with a recyclable plastic lining and cap made from 100% recycled PET. However, the company’s ultimate goal is to produce a bottle that can be recycled as paper.

“The trial we are announcing today is a milestone for us in our quest to develop a paper bottle”, said Daniela Zahariea, director of technical supply chain and innovation for Coca-Cola Europe.

“People expect Coca-Cola to develop and bring to market new, innovative and sustainable types of packaging. That’s why we are partnering with experts like Paboco, experimenting openly and conducting this first in-market trial. It’s part of delivering on our World Without Waste commitments.”

The trial is scheduled to take place in the second quarter of this year and will involve the company’s plant-based AdeZ drink being offered to 2,000 consumers in Hungary, through a partnership with – one of Hungary’s fastest growing online grocery retailers.

Stijn Franssen, R&D packaging innovation manager, adds: “This trial will provide us with invaluable insight and feedback. We will get to see how the paper bottle prototype performs as packaging and what consumers think and feel about it. 

“This is an exciting step forward for us, as it means we’re out of the lab and into the real world. So for the first time, consumers will actually be drinking one of our products from a potentially new type of paper packaging.”

This move marks a further step in fulfilling The Coca-Cola Company’s global vision of achieving a “World Without Waste”, in which the company has pledged to ensure all of its packaging is collected, recycled, or re-used by 2030.


News & Updates Sustainability

Coca-Cola continues transition to 100% rPET bottles

The Coca-Cola Company has announced it is to transition a selection of plastic bottles across the portfolio to 100% recycled plastic (rPET) material.

The total portfolio approach, which includes a new sip-sized bottle, aims to reduce the use of new plastic by more than 20% compared to 2018 – a 10,000 metric ton reduction in GHG emissions annually.

The initiative excludes bottle caps and labels.

The new sip-sized Coca-Cola bottles will launch initially in the USA in an all-new, 13.2oz (390ml) bottle made from 100% recycled material – conveniently sized in a more sippable package while reducing use of new plastic.

In an effort to optimize the package for recycling, all Sprite packaging will transition to clear packaging by the end of 2022. Clear packaging makes it easier for bottles to be recycled and remade into new bottles.

Additionally, 20oz bottles made with 100% recycled material will be available across Coca-Cola trademark and Diet Coke in some US states, while Dasani will launch 20oz (590ml) bottles made with 100% recycled material next month.

Smartwater will introduce 20oz bottles made with 100% recycled material in the US in July, while also introducing a resealable and reusable 18oz aluminum bottle in California and Florida this month.

Furthermore, Coca Cola is launchest its largest ever on-package reducing waste messaging effort; each new 13.2oz rPET package will feature a “Recycle Me Again” message on the label to inspire consumers.


News & Updates Sustainability

Successful commercialization of shrink films using recycled plastic announced by Dow and Plastigaur

Dow has today announced the first large-scale commercial use of its AGILITY CE resin, made with 70% recycled plastic. Plastigaur, a film converter based in Spain, is using the resin in its collation shrink film, typically used in the transportation of cans or PET bottles.

The resin is based on low-density polyethylene (LDPE) into which post-consumer recycled (PCR) material from shrink film is incorporated without, Dow says, sacrificing material quality and functionality in the final application.

Initially introduced in late 2019, AGILITY CE is Dow’s first post-consumer recycled (PCR) product offering, and the company says that it now has PCR product offerings in all its operating regions

Dow reports that the PCR content in the final shrink film developed by Plastigaur is 50%, which reportedly results in a carbon emissions reduction of 25%.

The company has also worked with Plastigaur to reduce the thickness of the film from 45 to 40 microns. By reducing the thickness while apparently maintaining the packaging functionality, Dow claims that the new solution enables an additional CO2 saving of 11%, while reducing overall environmental impact by 32%.

Agnieszka Godlewska, marketing manager for industrial and consumer packaging at Dow, comments: “By working in close partnership with Plastigaur, we’ve been able to accelerate our innovative PCR product offering, demonstrating a commercially viable solution that uses high-quality packaging made from recycled content.

“This is not a concept or a project anymore, this is reality. We’re excited to continue working with more partners across the value chain and pushing forward industry standards in post-consumer recycling offerings with the ultimate aim of reducing plastic waste and CO2 emissions.”

“We are very excited with the development of these new collation shrink films. They bring us, and the Brand Owners, closer to reaching our sustainability goals,” adds Luis Artola, managing director at Plastigaur.

“The integration of recycled materials can be a challenge, but the newest technologies and our experience in the industry enabled us to push the boundaries and we could not be prouder of the results.”


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PakTech reveals child-resistant CBD packaging made from recycled HDPE

PakTech is announcing the release of its latest packaging innovation for the CBD beverage market. PakLock, made from the same recycled and recyclable HDPE as PakTech’s multipacks, is a child-resistant cap designed for CBD-infused beverages.

The new packaging is designed to be a safe, secure, and simple solution to allow adults to enjoy their CBD-infused beverages worry-free while ensuring the safety of children.

Developed by PakTech’s engineering team, PakLock is aimed at the growing cannabidiol beverage market.

According to a recent report from Cannabis Business Plan: “The current market size for CBD in Europe is about €450 million, representing 31% of the global CBD oil market share, second only to North America with a market share of 40%.”

The solution seeks to provide a cost-effective solution to child-resistant packaging needs that is easy to apply, fits on all standard 202-260 aluminum can formats, and is removable by adults.

“With the cannabis extract market growing rapidly across the world, we started to receive inquiries about whether we had any child-resistant or tamper-evident packaging,” said Lloyd McGriff, director of sales at PakTech. “That was when we realized we could leverage our experience from our PakTech can carriers and meet this new market need.”


News & Updates Sustainability

Mondi reveals three recyclable packs for Orkla’s vegan Tex-Mex range

Mondi has created three recyclable packaging products for a brand-new range of vegan products from food manufacturer Orkla.

The branded consumer goods company worked closely with Mondi to create the packs for the Swedish launch of its Frankful plant-based Tex-Mex range – soft tortilla wraps, tortilla crisps, and taco spices.

Each solution has been designed with the aims of providing premium product freshness for consumers and ensuring a standout appearance on the shelf for retailers. Mondi also says that it was able to support Orkla’s sustainability agenda, which includes launching healthier food products, reducing food waste, and offering environmentally friendly choices

Soft tortillas will be one of the first food products to be packaged in Mondi’s BarrierPack Recyclable solution, which uses a high-barrier, lightweight mono-material and a reclose tape to keep the food fresh in its original packaging.

Meanwhile, Orkla’s spice mix will be packaged in a paper-based laminate, created from FSC-certified paper and a film made from renewable resources. According to Mondi, the high paper content ensures suitability for Swedish recycling paper streams.

The company says that the tortilla crisps will be kept crunchy and fresh in its metal-free high-barrier laminate, which makes it recyclable. This solution reportedly eradicates the need to include a metallised layer while retaining crispness and avoiding grease leakage.

Commenting on the launch of the partnership, Thomas Kahl, Mondi’s EcoSolutions project manager, said: “Our aim is to work closely with our valued partners through our customer-centric approach, EcoSolutions, in order to create sustainable packaging that works for the products, the customer and the environment.

“The challenge with Frankful was to find a solution that would ensure recyclable packaging materials while offering the required functionalities such as barrier protection, and still run on the existing machines at full speed.”

Åsa Gisel, marketing manager at Orkla Foods Sweden, added: “As a market-leading consumer goods company distributing across the Nordic region, we are committed to meeting the UN’s sustainable development goals – and as responsible sourcing is a key point in our strategy, Mondi has provided invaluable support to create improved sustainable packaging. The Frankful range offers consumers fresh, climate-smart Taco meal products that look good and of course, taste delicious.”


News & Updates Sustainability

New range of mono-material closure systems made from wood revealed by Quadpack

International beauty packaging manufacturer and provider Quadpack has unveiled Woodacity – a new range of closure systems for fragrance packs, each cap crafted from a single piece of sustainably-sourced wood.

“Our experts have effectively mechanised wood,” said Quadpack’s head of categories, Pierre-Antoine Henry. “Woodacity elevates this natural material beyond the aesthetic, to become a fully-functional component of a beauty packaging solution. This full-wood innovation is the first of its kind, bringing sustainable added value to beauty brands.”

Quadpack claims that its new closure solutions offer the same functional properties and stability as plastic, along with the qualities of wood. In addition, the designs of the products obviate the need for a plastic insert, making them mono-material structures.

Three systems are available, all made in Europe at the Quadpack Wood factory, using wood sourced from what the company describes as “sustainably managed forests.” ‘Solo Snap’ is a globally patented snap-on cap, with a unique pattern of interior ribs and a secure ‘click’ closure. Meanwhile, ‘Solo Push’ is a friction-fit cap that closes the pack with a smooth push gesture.          

The last member of the range, Solo Turn, is a thread cap with a screw closure, which matches with Quadpack’s Regula Glass jar, also made in Europe.

Woodacity was conceived following a two-year research and development project to turn wooden fragrance caps into working packaging components. A team of designers, engineers, and technicians investigated the material in different conditions, shapes, and combinations at Quadpack Wood, to achieve the first three closure systems available today. The company says that more variants are currently under development