After the global introduction of its ultra-high barrier renewably-sourced film packaging format eco Plastic nearly two years ago, Australia’s Plantic Technologies (U.S. office in North Andover, Mass.) is seeing the emergence of new end-use applications come to fruition and has now launched eco Plastic R. This is believed to be the first ultra-high barrier renewable and recyclable packaging format.
Both eco Plastic and eco Plastic R packaging formats, available in roll stock with film thicknesses ranging from 8mil to 22mil (as well as pre-made rigid trays) boast ultra-high gas barrier properties and are made from up to 60% renewable materials. Plantic’s unique patented polymer technology is based on the use of high-amylose corn starch, a biodegradable material derived from annual harvesting of specialized non genetically-modified corn and supplied by Ingredion Inc., Westchester, Ill. The ultra-high gas barrier properties provided by both platforms is the result of using high-amulose starch, which has long been used in cosmetics and other products but which Plantic was able to develop into a plastic film structure, according to Tom Black, president Plantic Americas.
What’s the difference between the two formats? Both formats are composed of three-layer laminates—with up to 60% renewable barrier cores. However, LDPE makes up the outer skin layers of eco Plastic whereas widely recyclable PET is used in the outer skin layers of new eco Plastic R. Unlike other barrier packaging formats, eco Plastic R can be fully recycled with the PET recovered in the traditional recycling streams and with Plantic’s barrier material dissolving and biodegrading in the process. “Our core material is fully compostable and water soluble—it washed away in the caustic wash cycle of a recycling plant,” says Black.
Currently, Plantic has film manufacturing in Australia, where the material has been used in commercial applications for which it is ideally suited—packaging of any fresh products such as meat, chicken, fish, salads and fresh pasta. Moreover, the company has a thermoforming operation in Germany and warehousing capacity in both U.S. coasts and in Kansas City.
A national fresh-pasta manufacturer will soon represent the first large-scale commercial production of a package made of eco Plastic.