Unilever’s Carte d’Or ice cream relaunches in compostable packaging
07 Aug 2019 --- Unilever has relaunched its branded Carte d’Or ice cream in compostable paperboard packaging by Stora Enso, available in Italy. The container is made from Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certified renewable fiber, sporting a biodegradable barrier coating. After use, it can be either recycled or composted in industrial composting.
Unilever’s Carte d’Or packages are produced by Seda Italy in Naples, and the material for both the product’s bowl and lid is Stora Enso’s Cupforma Natura. The paperboard exhibits a biodegradable barrier on both its sides to preserve ice cream safely in freezing and moist conditions. The nestable lid is manufactured by unique and proprietary technology developed by Seda International.
Raw material for the new paperboard bowl is sourced from traceable and sustainable sources, notes Unilever. The packaging is 23 percent lighter than the former plastic packaging, which the company says will cut plastic consumption “drastically.” As the product entails 11 million packages manufactured each year, the new compostable bowl offers a potential reduction of 520 tons of plastic each year – ten tons less every week.
“Unilever is aiming for circular economy in many ways, and new packaging innovations are crucial for our target to make all our packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Unilever has also signed a two-year partnership with the WWF to clean beaches from plastic,” says Giorgio Nicolai, Marketing Director of Unilever.
The overarching goal of the sustainable relaunch of Carte d’Or is to depart from traditional plastic packaging, reducing packaging weight, plastic content and improving the end-of-life options of the product offering, according to Armando Mariano, R&D Product and Material Director at Seda International Packaging Group. He further notes that organic waste collection “works quite well” in Italy, indicating that a transition into biodegradable and compostable packaging will be widely accepted.
In an interesting comparison, Unilever has reintroduced its Magnum ice cream in recycled polypropylene (PP) plastic packaging this month. The brand confirms that up to 600,000 tubs have been made available across Europe, with over three million more to roll out globally by 2020. The move is part of Unilever’s advocacy to ensure that at least 25 percent of its plastic packaging will come from post-consumer recycled content by 2025. The tubs are available in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands.
Compostable containers help tackle plastic waste
As of late, industry has seen launches of compostable packaging solutions as a means of mitigating the environmental impact of plastic waste. Notably, an Australian start-up has developed an innovative biodegradable alternative to plastic food packaging produced from the chitin and cellulose contained in crustacean skeletons. The material – CARAPAC – has embedded anti-fungal properties that prevent mold or fungi from growing on fresh produce and it can extend the shelf-life of fresh fruit and vegetables by up to seven days. CARAPAC also improves the quality of soil by adding nutrients when it biodegrades, making it ideal for gardens and plants pots, as well as home composts.
Also this month, Finnish paper-based packaging specialist Huhtamaki launched a new compostable Bioware Impresso double-walled hot cup. Adding to Huhtamaki’s existing Bioware compostable range, this new cup in a mixed sleeve of white and green designs utilizes the unique Impresso bubble emboss which provides enhanced insulation and a tactile touch for the holder.
In April, researchers from The Ohio State University developed a biodegradable plastic with both sturdy and flexible traits, with the potential to be shaped into food packaging. This rubber-toughened product derived from microbial fermentation exhibits the potential to perform like conventional plastic, note the research team.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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