Neenah, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of materials focused on filtration media, specialty coatings, engineered materials as well as imaging and packaging, announced a versatile paper-based medical packaging capable of withstanding all three widely used sterilization processes, including radiation, autoclave, and ethylene oxide. This innovative product allows customers to serve multiple markets and explore new opportunities by providing a unique alternative to polymer-based or kraft medical packaging traditionally used for nasal swabs, syringes, bandages, and other single-use applications.
"By adding a radiation-resistant product to our medical packaging lineup, Neenah continues to lead the industry in offering the most advanced paper-based options available. We are thrilled to introduce a versatile paper-based medical packaging that is durable, dependable, and value-driven," says Valerie Henderson, Medical Packaging Product Marketing Manager, Neenah Industrial Solutions.
Single-use medical devices are gaining popularity as they help lower costs, increase efficiency, and reduce the spread of infection. Gamma radiation is becoming a more commonly used form of sterilization technology for these devices as it quickly kills germs that can cause disease and neutralizes other harmful organisms. It is essential to the radiation sterilization process that the packaging has breathable barrier properties, excellent conformability, printability, and the ability to withstand radiation exposure to prevent risks to patients.
Neenah was the first to recognize the need for reinforced papers in breathable carrier applications and continues to lead the market by introducing this versatile, radiation-resistant product. Available in a 116 gsm basis weight, it rounds out Neenah's comprehensive medical packaging offering that currently includes standard 85 and 112 gsm basis weight options and a new lighter-weight 72 gsm grade introduced in 2021. The entire paper-based product offering uses FSC controlled fibers, is EN868 compliant, and accepts steam and Ethylene Oxide (EO) sterilization methods.
"Neenah's incredible R&D team worked tirelessly to develop a purpose-built solution that meets market demand and exceeds customer expectations. Our goal is to produce high-performance paper-based medical packaging that our customers can count on, and this product delivers. It's exciting to bring this to market," concludes Henderson.
ORLEN Deutschland GmbH has announced that starting on 1 March, all star and ORLEN’s service stations will start using a new single-use, 100% organic, both recyclable and compostable tableware. In addition, rePET bottles made from 100% recycled PET bottles will be phased in over the coming weeks for all star own-brand mineral water and apple spritzer.
"We have taken a hard look at the entire range and radically reimagined it. The result is that we have not only started moving to 100% organic for all of our coffee cups, irrespective of their size, since the start of the year, but have even begun using the corresponding lids at all star and ORLEN petrol stations, even though they are exempt from the EU regulation,” explained Kai Frahm, Head of Category Management Tobacco Food & Beverage at ORLEN Deutschland GmbH.
The announcement follows the EU regulation which requires all single-use plastic beverage containers to be labelled as such from 3 July 2021, which has triggered ORLEN Deutschland’s move towards greater sustainability. As a result, the Elmshorn-based petrol station operator has chosen to not only meet the EU goal of reducing the use of single-use plastics, but has gone one step further by taking a hard look at its to-go packaging.
“We are able to do this by using bagasse, an environmentally-friendly packaging material that is a by-product of sugar cane – a rapidly renewable raw material. Since the paper cup has no plastic coating, it can be composted in an environmentally friendly way or disposed of in the waste paper bin. In addition to the coffee cups, other disposable packaging such as bakery bags, sausage/chips trays, and napkins are now fully biodegradable and can be disposed of with your compost or waste paper bin,” adds Frahm.
The far-reaching switch to 100% organic disposable packaging at the nearly 600 star and ORLEN stations in Germany is set to save several tons of CO2 per year, depending on sales. In addition, star’s own-brand mineral water and apple spritzer are also being produced in a more environmentally sustainable way. The two classic soft drinks will be sold in rePET bottles in a fresh new design. rePET (recycled PET) is a material made from collected beverage bottles and they produce 50% less CO2 than conventional PET.
Grass fibres can replace plastic as a 100% biodegradable and disposable material for packaging for take-away food. This is the goal of the new innovative project SinProPack, which aims to develop a sustainable alternative to the disposable plastics currently used for packaging.
The project is bringing together industry, consumers and knowledge institutions to develop, demonstrate, test and evaluate fibre-based packaging for to-go food via proof-of-concept, pilot-scale trials and industrial upscaling.
"Disposable packaging made of grass brings a lot of environmental benefits. The packaging will be 100% biodegradable, so if someone accidentally drops their packaging in nature, it will decompose naturally," says Anne Christine Steenkjær Hastrup, centre director at Danish Technological Institute, who is coordinating the project.
Every year, Denmark consumes more than 10,000 tonnes of packaging for take-away food and drinks. Replacing 10,000 tonnes of disposable plastic with a corresponding quantity of bio-based and biodegradable packaging will reduce carbon emissions from packaging production by approx. 210,000 tonnes CO2 annually.
The project will form a basis for a paradigm shift in packaging solutions by introducing and demonstrating the possibilities of using green biomass for single-use packaging for food products, as well as a sustainable bioeconomy business model for the technology.
Green biomass is an easily accessible resource in Denmark, and green biorefining for protein production is already of considerable interest because of the proven high biomass yields, environmental effects and the potential to use untapped biomass from unproductive low-lying areas such as meadows.
"After we harvest the grass and extract the protein for animal feed, we can refine and pulp the grass fibres for cellulose, from which we can produce packaging. In this way, we can use and up-value a side stream from protein production. It's a great way to create added value for biorefining, as not all grass fibre can necessarily be used as cattle feed," says Assistant Professor Morten Ambye-Jensen from the Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering at Aarhus University.
Fibres constitutes approx. 70 per cent of the grass fed into biorefining after protein has been extracted.
In the SinProPack project, the researchers will look at both grass and clover as fibre sources, as clover will be the primary biomass for future green biorefineries. However, the project will also take a closer look at the possibilities of using biomass harvested from peat soil, which is usually more fibrous and contains less protein.
The project entails testing and demonstrating the technology in the demo and pilot facilities at Aarhus University and Danish Technological Institute, and the company LEAF Packaging that already produce and manufacture 100% biodegradable fiber packaging for the food industry, will test and prove the grass fibre efficiency, stability and moldability on an industrial scale.
The project has received 3.3 MDKK (EUR 440K) in funding from the green development and demonstration programme, GUDP, under the Danish Agricultural Authority.
Many environmentally minded people bring a reusable cup to their local coffee shop.
So why not rely on a reusable container when buying takeout food at the grocery store?
That's the logic behind Fresh St. Market's decision to offer takeout packaging from Reusables.com at its Vancouver House outlet, beginning October 18.
The sustainable containers will come in handy for those who want to take away legendary Mile High Cinnamon Buns, Bavarian Pretzels, or burgers at the Fork Lift Kitchen & Bar, which is the store's in-house cafe and bakery.
“Fresh St. Market is a local grocer first and we believe in working with like-minded local businesses from food suppliers to packaging and are always seeking vendors who add to the services we provide our customers," Fresh St. Market vice president Mark McCurdy said in a news release.
"We believe in the importance of working in a circular economy such as the one Reusables is striving to achieve," he continued. "We acknowledge how becoming the first grocer to take part in this program is an important step towards reaching our goal and want to encourage all of our customers to utilize this service while shopping at our Vancouver House location.”
Reusables.com is a container-sharing platform created for the food industry. Its stainless-steel containers have become an alternative in the wake of a City of Vancouver ban on single-use foam cups and foam takeout boxes.
“Our technology tracks where and when customers use our packaging, which enables us to create a more convenient digital solution for reuse that does not require a container deposit,” Reusables.com founder Jason Hawkins said in the news release. “For us we see this as a way to significantly reduce single-use packaging waste while providing communities with a reuse system they can feel confident in.”
The decision is part of the company’s sustainability pledge to use 25 percent less packaging between 2018 and 2025, including the replacement of single-use packaging. The paper is uncoated, making it easier to recycle and takes up a small amount of space in delivery, allowing for larger deliveries at one time.
Plastic bags will still be used to wrap products inside the packaging to ensure product safety. However, the company states it is currently working towards a sustainable alternative.
“Fashion items are precious. To ensure that purchases arrive at our customers in good condition, we have looked for a more durable type of paper that is also sturdy enough,” said Annet Feenstra, H&M Netherlands’ sustainability manager, in a statement “We hope that customers will appreciate this new packaging and cherish the item they receive in it.”
H&M Netherlands has also continued its use of sustainable delivery options, from the introduction of bicycle couriers in 2019 to the addition of the new Budbee delivery option in February this year. The company has said it will continue to take more steps to move towards its goal of a circular business model with a focus on its current supply chain.
In June last year, U.S.- based Credo Beauty set guidelines for its 130+ partner brands to phase out single-use products and packaging. This includes sheet masks, make-up wipes, cleansing pads, and other single-use items, like sample packets.
In addition, it asked brands to eliminate substances like per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and some bisphenols in their product packaging. The retailer focused on bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS), but insisted that all its brands incorporate packaging free from all bisphenols.
In the past, Credo has introduced strict product requirements through its Credo Clean Standard and The Dirty List ensuring that none of the products contain harmful chemicals. Credo now believes its products are all free of PFAS, PVC, and bisphenols.
The retailer joined forces with Mob Beauty, Hudson’s Bay, and Element Packaging to establish Pact. It is a not-for-profit recycling program that aims to recycle beauty packaging which is quite small compared to a yoghurt cup. This includes pumps, caps, and squeezable tubes.
As part of this initiative, Credo Beauty installed recycling bins in 10 of its stores and in 20 of its Hudson’s Bay stores in Canada. By the end of 2021, the bins will be set up at all 87 outlets of Hudson’s Bay stores. There will even be a mail-back system via Mob Beauty.
Credo has unveiled a reusable sample jar called REJAR. Created from upcycled green tea fibers, customers can clean their jars and bring them back to the store for a refill, or place them in a recycling bin and earn reward points.
Credo is presently working on smart designs and circular solutions like introducing products in refillable formats, with clear disposal instructions and lifecycle analysis, and reusable packaging ensuring that there is zero landfill waste.
Going forward, the company will be working on phase 2, which will ensure that the packaging doesn’t have more than 50% virgin petrochemical plastic by June 2023.