NatureFlex is one of the few packaging materials that has been tested to and complies with the specification required for soil, home composting and waste water applications at ambient temperatures, as well as for industrial composting.
It has now built on its environmental credentials with its new CarbonZero status.
Following a comprehensive Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) on its NatureFlex products during 2007 which was conducted to allow the company to quantify the environmental impact of the product on a cradle to gate basis; the company were able to determine the carbon footprint of coated NatureFlex biodegradable and compostable packaging films in 2008.
“Reducing a company’s carbon-footprint should principally be achieved through improvements in energy efficiency and reduced energy consumption, enhanced process technology and waste reduction. We have already made significant cuts in this way and are committed to continuing this in the future.
"Any manufacturing process will inevitably have an environmental impact and our involvement in these initiatives allows us to offset the overall effect of NatureFlex production and reassure our customers it is actually CarbonZero at the point of despatch from Innovia’s premises.” said David Beeby, Innovia Films chief executive.
The fact that Innovia Films uses renewable raw materials to manufacture NatureFlex is an start-point; NatureFlex films are typically around 95% renewable as measured by ASTM D6866.
Working with a leading carbon services company, co2balance, who provide carbon reduction schemes both locally and globally, Innovia Films decided to plant 3,000 trees at Sand Martin Wood, Faugh, Cumbria.
The planting of this new forest with a mix of British broad leafed trees within 30km of their Wigton site was selected because NatureFlex is manufactured in Cumbria. The forest is directly owned and managed by co2balance which will ensure that it is properly maintained into the future.
In addition, Innovia Films will contribute to a scheme that distributes solar ovens to poor communities in Africa. This helps to reduce deforestation, reduces CO2 emissions from open stove burning, reduces energy costs and provides health and safety benefits to the users.
The NatureFlex range of films comprises a transparent cellulose base manufactured from sustainable wood pulp.
By adding specially formulated biodegradable and compostable surface layers Innovia Films is able to control the moisture permeability of these films to produce material suitable across a whole range of applications from high moisture content fresh produce to more hygroscopic bakery products.
NatureFlex films are stiffer and more oriented than many bio-polymers currently on the market which makes them suitable for use in standard flow-wrap and form-fill-seal equipment for food packaging. Glossy and transparent, they are also static-free for easy handling.
Says Innovia Films market development manager - Sustainable Technologies, Andy Sweetman: “These films offer many advantages. They are not only biodegradable and compostable for those packer processors keen to use sustainable packaging but also have a technical performance second to none.
“Everyone is looking for films which will operate at increasingly rapid speeds with no loss of seal integrity and no increase in downtime and handling problems.
“We have been astonished so far at the performance capabilities of NatureFlex especially in relation to machinability.”
Key application areas are: wrapping fresh produce, especially organic ranges, confectionery twistwrap, tampons and other personal care products.