Sustainable packaging

An environmentally friendly packaging revolution?

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Single-use plastic packaging is a major source of pollution, yet it serves a purpose to keep food products fresh and protected in the supply chain, supermarket and consumers’ homes. One brand that is looking to revolutionise the way food is packaged, moving away from single-use plastic to sustainable materials is Arjowiggins, who believe their Sylvicta product offers the perfect material for the job.

“A key advantage that plastic brings to food packaging is that it prevents oxygen from getting into contact with the food,” explains Christophe Jordan, Managing Director of the Translucent Paper business at Arjowiggins to Forbes. “This ensures maximum freshness throughout the supply chain right through to the point of consumption. Our highly skilled and experienced R&D teams have developed a translucent paper, Sylvicta, which also provides a more effective barrier to oxygen than plastic, as well as a barrier to mineral oils and fatty foodstuffs. At last, food brands have an alternative packaging option which will protect food as effectively as plastic, without the negative effects on the environment.”

Sylvicta is entirely recyclable, compostable, and marine biodegradable, thanks to being manufactured from renewable raw materials supplied from protected forests under the FSC and PEFC schemes. Unlike other such products on the market, the manufacturing process does not use harmful chemicals to achieve its translucency and functionality. Sylvicta is made to the highest standards – it is food-contact approved according to the definitions of the European Food Safety Authority and the Food and Drug Administration (USA).

“For our translucent barrier paper to be used in the current packaging lines producing pouches, sachets and flow wraps, we need partners to further extend the inherent functionalities of Sylvicta,” Jordan explains. “A perfect example of this is our collaboration with cutting-edge UK converter Sirane, which has worked with us to develop ultra-high barrier packaging options by adding high-moisture protection and heat-sealability properties. We have also worked with other specialised converters to add metallisation to achieve even higher barrier properties. The true innovation is that these are all entirely sustainable solutions.”

Evolving consumer attitudes mean that the public wants to be part of the solution and will embrace certain trade-offs when the protection of the planet is at stake. “Take France,” says Jordan. “Over the last eight years, the vast majority of open fridges in the supermarkets have been replaced by doors requiring extra effort to open – which could have had a negative effect on sales, but has had no apparent impact while achieving massive CO2 savings. The minor trade-off of paper not having quite the same levels of transparency as plastic is not thought to be a deterring factor for the environmentally conscious consumer.”

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