PLANTIC™ biopolymers. From nature, for our future
Kuraray acquired Plantic Technologies Ltd. of Australia in 2015. EVAL™ EVOH is used to provide food packaging with barrier properties, reducing environmental impact through versatile optimised structure design. PLANTIC™ is itself composed of up to 80% renewable materials, and used primarily for high barrier trays and skin packs. This ready-to-use structure offers a direct reduction in the food packaging material's environmental footprint.
Not just another biopolymer
PLANTIC™ has achieved a unique place in the world market for biopolymers through proprietary technology that delivers biodegradable and renewable sourced alternatives to conventional plastics based on special varieties of corn (maize). Sources are not GMO, and do not compete with food sources.
Unlike other bioplastics companies who utilise organic materials but whose polymers are still developed in refineries, PLANTIC™'s polymer as well as its raw material, are grown in a field. The entire process integrates in a completely new way the science of organic innovation with commercial and industrial productivity. The result is both a broad range of immediate performance and cost advantages, and long-term environmental and sustainability benefits.
PLANTIC™ HP is a fully biodegradable high barrier biopolymer that forms the core of all PLANTIC™ products. Rolls of PLANTIC™ HP sheet can be thermoformed to make trays, used notably for packaging chocolates. After use, these trays can be composted industrially or at home; in fact, the PLANTIC™ HP biopolymer dissolves when immersed in water.
Putting biopolymers to work
For food packaging, the core layer of PLANTIC™ HP obviously requires some protection from moisture. Depending on the customer needs, outer skins and sealing layers of conventional PET and PE can be added, protecting the PLANTIC™ HP core. Thus shielded, the PLANTIC™ HP takes on an entirely new role: high gas barrier layer.
The resulting structure provides outstanding gas barrier properties, notably for thermoformed MAP trays. These barrier properties seal the MAP gas mixture inside the package, maintaining the optimal MAP gas mixture, and thus extend the shelf life of the packaged food. The effective barrier properties for the entire package are provided by the PLANTIC™HP core, which typically composes up to 80% of the total materials used.
Different ready-to-use grades of PLANTIC™ sheet have been created by combining different skin layers with the PLANTIC™ HP core:
PLANTIC™ E, PLANTIC™ R, PLANTIC™ RE, PLANTIC™ ES and PLANTIC™ EF represent the company’s flagship products for rigid and flexible packaging on traditional thermoforming equipment. All of these products are a direct replacement for conventional polymers. When compared with oil based products an independent assessment found that PLANTIC™ requires up to 40% less energy and provides a reduction in greenhouse gases by up to 70%.
PLANTIC™ R a fully recyclable high barrier product is being used extensively for red meat applications. PLANTIC™ R seals to most traditional PET based top webs. This rigid product runs on all traditional thermoforming equipment and gives the producer the opportunity to down gauge even while achieving a higher barrier performance and stronger pack presentation.
PLANTIC™ is supplying major supermarket customers on three continents for MAP applications such as fresh case ready beef, pork, lamb and veal, smoked and processed meats, chicken, fresh pasta and cheese applications. Food waste is successfully limited by maintaining the MAP gas mixture, extending shelf life.
Now being developed is a new range of more flexible materials with the same environmental and performance characteristics as rigid based structures. These flexible options are already proving already to be a preferred choice for many consumers, retailers and processors. Included is PLANTIC™ for easy peel skin pack, available in a wide variety of colours and textures, with the ability to seal to PET and PE top webs.
Although they are not EVAL™ EVOH products, PLANTIC™ is commercialised by Kuraray's EVAL Division, including the EVAL Europe N.V. site in Antwerp, Belgium.