Over the past two years packaging suppliers have been introducing various forms of biodegradableplastics made from a variety of plants, in the main corn, based on projections that there will be agrowing demand for environmentally-friendly packaging, a trend driven by consumers and recyclingregulations.
Some companies predict that the market will grow by about 20 per cent a year, as an alternativeto petroleum-based packaging such as the widely-used polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Innovia Films says its NatureFlex NVS line of films can be used for packaging fresh foods. Inaddition to being biodegradable, the film is also compostable. It provides improved dimensional stability under chillconditions, the company claimed.
"This high gloss film with enhanced transparency has inherent anti-static properties and is semi permeable to moisture providing good anti-mistproperties," the company stated in a press release.
The NatureFlex films are made from cellulose, which the company derives from wood pulp. Thecompany sources the wood-pulp from what it says are plantations operating under good forestrymanagement standards, Innovia claims. The film is certified to meet both EU and US standards standards for compostable packaging.
The company says sales of NatureFlex have already started, with Sainsbury's amongst the first to adopt the filmas a means of cutting packaging waste. In the case of Sainsbury's, Innovia Films delivers the film to Natura A.S.P.for conversion to the packers requirements.
The film is printed first with the compostable logo and reference numbers before being micro-perforated at A.S.P.'s plant in Watford, in order to tailor gas permeability to the products' requirements. The film is then used by Sainsbury's to flow-wrap a wide range of own brand organic fruit and vegetables.
Andy Sweetman, Innovia Films' market development manager for sustainable technologies said forthe past five years Innovia Films has been supplying Sainsbury's packers with NatureFlex through A.S.P. for use on organic produce.
"Their recent declaration to considerably increase the use of biodegradable and compostable packaging is a strong indication that environmental issues are seriously being considered by the major retailchains," he stated. "Our new NatureFlex NVS grade significantly improves packaging performance in such applications."
NatureFlex NVS is currently available in 23 and 30 micron thicknesses.