The world’s largest chemical producer joined the fight with single-use plastic packaging. Its joint solution with Confoil, an Australian food packaging manufacturer, is capable to replace conventional PET packaging for ready-to-eat meals: the new trays can also be heated, chilled or frozen
“Our joint development represents a shift to paper-based and certified compostable material in order to support the Australian 2025 National Plastics Plan which aims at reducing the impact of packaging on the environment”, says Alison Buxton, CEO of Confoil.
“We wanted to create a paper-based food tray that meets all the food industries’ requirements but with the added benefit that it is certified compostable.
“With BASF’s certified compostable biopolymer ecovio® PS 1606 we have found the ideal component to take the next step towards sustainable solutions in our portfolio and to help our customers reach their sustainability targets at the same time.”
The DualPakECO® paper tray is coated with biopolymer in a mono-layer extrusion process. Due to its excellent migration barrier properties the polymer also enables the use of recycled paper in food applications. Composting trials have shown that the trays break down into water, carbon dioxide and nutrient-rich compost within four to six weeks under commercial composting conditions.
The paperboard for DualPakECO® can easily be formed and allows for printability. The board is lightweight yet rigid enough for in-line production facilities. It also offers secure sealing across a variety of film substrates and machinery.
The trays can be used for ready-to-eat meals like lasagne, curries and stir-fries available as cold or frozen in supermarkets as well as for catering and take-away from restaurants.
“Composting is the most resource-efficient process for food waste recycling”, says Rowan Williams from Market Development Biopolymers at BASF.
“Currently available PET food trays are not reusable, they are difficult and uneconomical to recycle mechanically – so in reality they mostly go to landfill or incineration. With Confoil we found the ideal partner to develop a solution that proves the feasibility of a food package that combines sustainability with high technical performance.”
ecovio® PS 1606 can be used in applications with cold or hot contents as well as for bowls and plates with dry, solid, fluid or fatty contents. BASF offers ecovio® grades for both extrusion coating and lamination technology. Depending on the ecovio® grade used in combination with the type of paper or board, home and industrial compostable solutions are possible.
The DualPakECO® trays were introduced to the market at the Annual Conference 2022 of the Australian Organics Recycling Association (AORA) in Glenelg, Australia.
According to Peter Wadewitz, the chairman of AORA, the Australian standards are the most stringent ones for compostable plastics in the world.
Through the National Waste Policy Plan, Australia’s states and territories have committed themselves to increase FOGO (Food Organics and Garden Organics) collection services, agreeing to introduce them to all households and businesses by the end of 2023.
FOGO is a curbside collection service that allows food scraps to be added to the garden waste bin so it can be recycled into high-quality compost.
The DualPakECO® trays are suitable for this type of recycling.