Choc wrapper from potato starch wins eco award

A bio-based film made from wastewater from potato processing, achieved through a four-year collaboration, was picked for a leading bioplastic industry prize

Germany Mars, Rodenburg, and Taghleef have been announced as the joint winners

of the bioplastics industry’s leading prize for 2016 with a bio-based film made from potato waste starch.

The innovative packaging solution is a joint development by Mars, Rodenburg Biopolymers, and Taghleef Industries. Mon- di’s Consumer Goods Packaging plant Solec in Poland was the converter of the wrapper.

Designed to meet the ever-increasing trend for sustainable packaging solutions, the bio- based packaging for Mars and Snickers bars avoids the use of fossil resources by utilising starch derived from wastewater of the potato processing industry.Under the joint project starting in 2012, Rodenburg Biopolymers produced the raw material while Taghleef Industries manufac- tured the film and Mondi Consumer Goods Packaging printed the final packaging. Mars has now packed chocolate bars using the film.

This new material has in no way com- promised the efficiency of Mars’ packaging lines, according to the company, with the product’s running speed equivalent to that achieved with standard polypropylene films.

Rodenburg Biopolymers developed a tailor- made compound based on second-generation starch derived from wastewater from the potato processing industry. ThijsRodenburg, CEO of the family-owned company, said, “The unique co-operation is a best-practice example for the whole bioplastics industry. Without a joint effort, this success could not have been realised.” Under an eco-innovation umbrella, years of development and modifications resulted in a food-grade polymer film bio- compound, said the company.

Taghleef Industries extruded Rodenburg’s compound on its BoPLA line at its Italian plant in San Giorgio di Nogaro into a biaxially oriented white voided film: NATIVIA® NESS.

With thicknesses of 40 and 50 µm, NATIVIA® NESS has a white pearlescent appearance, good opacity, and high yield and is heat sealable (MST= 85°C) and cold seal receptive. This new generation of bi-oriented and bio-based films fulfils all product protection requirements for chocolate packaging, is food approved, and is able to meet the same speed of BOPP films on packaging lines, according to the manufacturer.

Valerio Garzitto, CEO of Taghleef Europe, said, “This is a great example of a long-term collaboration within the whole value-chain of packing material and processing. It took us almost four years of hard work to developand industrialise the final film, but this project shows that co-operation and expertise are key to success.”

Mondi Solec in Poland converted the film through rotogravure printing and the application of cold seal and release lacquer. The printing process was more challenging than for standard OPP films due to the distinctive behaviour of the new film on the printing line, where it shrank as a result of the heat generated during printing.

ArkadiuszSapiecha, managing director of Mondi Solec in Poland, said, “Thanks to intensive in-house research and our long-term experience in rotogravure printing, our team was able to achieve a high-quality print which matches the appeal of standard OPP while retaining the packaging’s more natural character.”

The award for the three firms was given at a ceremony on 29 November during the 11th Global Bioplastics Conference in Berlin.

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