The bio-based packaging for Mars and Snickers bars avoids fossil resources by using starch derived from the waste water of the potato processing industry. The joint project, which started in 2012, involves Rodenburg Biopolymers, which produced the raw material, Taghleef Industries, which manufactured the film, Mondi Consumer Goods Packaging, which printed the final packaging, and Mars, which packed its chocolate bars using the film. This new material has not in any way compromised the efficiency of Mars’ packaging lines – the running speed is equivalent to that achieved with standard polypropylene films.
Rodenburg Biopolymers developed a tailor-made compound based on second generation starch derived from waste water of the potato processing industry. Thijs Rodenburg, CEO of the family-owned company, says, “The unique cooperation is a best-practice example for the whole bioplastics industry. Without a joint effort, this success could not have been realized.” Under the eco-innovation umbrella, years of development and modifications resulted in a food grade polymer film bio-compound.
Taghleef Industries then extruded Rodenburg’s compound on their BoPLA line at their 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, high yield, 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. Valerio Garzitto, CEO of Taghleef Europe, says, “This is a great example of a long-term collaboration within the whole value-chain of packing material and processing. It took us almost 4 years of hard work to develop and industrialize the final film, but this project shows that cooperation and expertise are key to success.”
Mondi Solec in Poland converted the film through rotogravure printing and application of cold seal and release lacquer. The printing process was more challenging than for standard OPP films due to the distinctive behavior of the new film on the printing line, (e.g. film shrinkage caused by the heat generated during printing). Arkadiusz Sapiecha, managing director of Mondi Solec in Poland, adds, “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 11th Global Bioplastics Awards recognize innovation, success and achievement by manufacturers, processors and users of bioplastic materials. Mars, Rodenburg and Taghleef Industries were selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges representing the press, academic world and trade associations in Europe, Asia and America. The award ceremony was held on Nov. 29 during the 11th European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin.