Bio-based polymers: Danimer and Genpak partnership generates biodegradable food containers
14 Nov 2019 --- Biodegradable materials developer Danimer Scientific has collaborated with food packaging manufacturer Genpak to develop a new line of biodegradable food containers, coined GenZero. Featuring its signature plant-based biopolymer Nodax polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), Danimer will supply several million pounds of biodegradable resins, which Genpak will use to manufacture the new line of food packaging products. The GenZero products are set to build upon the company's focus for sustainable packaging options.
“Plastic is a universal material used in countless everyday products, especially in the food and beverage industries, so it's imperative to broaden the conversation around the type of items we can make with biodegradable materials,” says Stephen Croskrey, CEO of Danimer Scientific.
PHA effectively biodegrades in environments ranging from waste treatment facilities to landfills and oceans,” says Scott Tuten, Chief Marketing Officer at Danimer Scientific.“There are few durable, yet eco-friendly packaging alternatives available. Thankfully, research has found that
Genpak's expansive line of foodservice items are designed for a wide range of applications, including to-go hinged food containers, plates, bowls and platters, serving trays and two-piece food containers.
In 2018, the University of Georgia, US, confirmed in a study that Nodax PHA is an effective biodegradable alternative to petrochemical plastics. The 100 percent bio-based polymer is biodegradable in anaerobic soil, freshwater and marine environments. Products created with Nodax are effectively biodegraded in landfills, waste treatment facilities and oceans, says the company.
“Researchers have shown that PHA biodegrades in a wide range of environments, including industrial and home compost, soil and fresh and seawater. As a material that is reliably biodegradable across both aerobic and anaerobic conditions, our Nodax PHA is an ideal fit to drive the creation of eco-friendly packaging,” Croskrey explains.
Danimer Scientific's Nodax PHA possesses seven TUV Austria certifications and statements of industrial and home compostability. All of Danimer’s biopolymers, including its Nodax PHA, are FDA-approved for food contact.
Collaboration with food industry giants
Danimer is making headway in the biopolymer arena, attracting the attention of corporate giants such as PepsiCo and Nestlé. Already a partner of Danimer, PepsiCo may also gain access to the former’s resins. Meanwhile, Nestlé and Danimer have sat together at the drawing table to realize collaborative efforts to produce a marine biodegradable water bottle prototype. Both Nestlé and PepsiCo have committed their businesses toward a more transparent, sustainable future.
Meanwhile, Danimer has launched the “first-ever” fully biodegradable plastic straw. Researchers determined that the Nodax polymers used to make the straws begin to biodegrade over the course of six months in ocean water, while traditional plastics remain intact and unchanged in the same environment.
“The environmental impact of straws and other single-use plastic items has become a critical issue for cities and companies across the country,” Tuten adds. This comes as a significant move when food and beverage juggernauts such as Starbucks and McDonald’s are set to stop the use of plastic straws entirely by 2020 and ensure full-scale recycled, renewable consumer goods by 2025, respectively.
“Partnering with Danimer Scientific provides us with cutting-edge materials that we need to take the next step in our dedication to advance innovative packaging to enhance the human experience," Kevin Kelly, President at Genpak, concludes.
Edited by Anni Schleicher
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