Sustainable resin for inflatable packaging

Cardia Bioplastics
Thursday, 24 May, 2012

Cardia Bioplastics has been selected as a development partner by US packaging company Sealed Air Corporation. The Melbourne-based company will supply its Biohybrid sustainable resin to produce the film for Sealed Air’s Fill-Air R5 inflatable packaging, ensuring Sealed Air’s environmental commitment to renewable and recycled content, plus reduced, re-used and recycled product.

Sealed Air Fill-Air R5 inflatable packaging.

For commercial reasons the financial details of the supply remain confidential; however, the directors of Cardia Bioplastics consider that the supply will materially contribute to Cardia’s sales revenues. Sealed Air generated revenue of $8.1 billion in 2011, serving customers in 175 countries.

Cardia and Sealed Air have jointly developed the new packaging. The Fill-Air R5 film is designed for use on the Sealed Air Fill-Air 2000 and Fill-Air Cyclone packaging systems to quickly create air-filled cushions for void-fill applications to protect goods during transport. These systems are fast and easy to operate, delivering air-filled cushions on demand for good protection and efficient void filling while reducing material and shipping costs.

Instead of relying on heavy oils to produce the packaging, Cardia Biohybrid resins combine renewable thermoplastics with polyolefin material to reduce dependence on finite resources and to reduce carbon footprint. The renewable material is derived from corn crop grown for industrial use that will be replenished in the next growing season.

Cardia Bioplastics Managing Director Dr Frank Glatz said that the main design goals were to reduce the need for petroleum-based resins and to maintain the packaging integrity of the Fill-Air protective void fill cushions. There were two key aspects to the success of this collaborative product development process.

“First, our Cardia Biohybrid resin enabled Sealed Air to reduce their dependency on non-renewable petroleum-based resins by 10%, and the incorporation of 10% pre-consumer recycled content meant that this new film reduced the need for petroleum based resins by 20%, as compared to the Fill-Air Select and Ultra films,” he said.

“The second aspect of Sealed Air’s performance standards presented a greater technical challenge. The Cardia Biohybrid resin had to meet precision performance standards during both the manufacture of the film and later at the point of use, when the film is inflated and used as void fill.”

At the point of use for Sealed Air customers, this sustainable film delivers robust performance in demanding conditions. It must provide high-speed processing on the Sealed Air range of Fill-Air systems and excellent sealability to ensure good air retention, while protecting the packaged goods in transit.

“Working closely with the Sealed Air team, we contributed to making their commitment to the ‘five Rs’ (renewable source, recycled content, reduce material, re-use and recycled) a reality. Sealed Air is another example of a major market leader taking the initiative to reduce consumption of virgin petroleum-based resin - in this case by a significant 20%,” said Dr Glatz.

David Weiss, Business Manager for Sealed Air, said: “When it comes to sustainability, we focus on the total life cycle of our products and the products we protect. Our strategy involves understanding the beginning and end of life, in addition to the performance during use. The new Fill-Air R5 film addresses all of these areas.”

The deal follows an announcement by Nestlé in 2011 to use Cardia’s Biohybrid technology with the objective of delivering innovative sustainable and renewable products and packaging solutions that reduce the reliance on oil while maintaining product performance. Sealed Air’s decision to work with Cardia is a further endorsement of this technology.

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