samedi 29 août 2009

Recent Pira International Studies: Packaging opportunities, active packaging and functional and barrier coatings

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is becoming an attractive investment opportunity for packaging material suppliers and converters, suppliers of related machinery and equipment as well as other peripheral products and services, according to Pira International.

Consumption of packaging material in MENA in 2008 amounted to 19.1 million tonnes, worth $27.5 billion. According to the report, this is expected to grow by almost 4% in 2009 and on average by just over 5% annually to reach a total of 25.5 million tonnes by 2014, worth about $37 billion at 2008 prices. Qatar, Libya and Egypt will show the highest growth over the medium term, though from relatively low bases in the case of Qatar and Libya. Tunisia is expected to show the slowest medium term growth at just over 3% annually.

Growth Opportunities in Active and Modified Atmosphere Packaging

The active and modified atmosphere packaging market is forecast to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 2009-14 of 7.5% and is forecast to reach close to $3.5 billion in 2014, according to a new study by Pira International.

Active packaging is packaging that performs an active function after the contents are packaged by interacting with the contents to deliver improvements in quality, shelf life, safety and usability. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is used to prolong the shelf life of processed or fresh food by changing the composition of the atmosphere surrounding the food in the package. MAP is used for different products, so the atmosphere in the package depends on the product type, the temperature and the packaging materials.

The global market for functional and barrier coatings for paper and board was valued at $3,778 million in 2007, growing at 3.1% and is expected to reach $4,561 million by 2014. Within this, opportunities are emerging in a number of high-growth regions and end use sectors, according to a major new study by Pira International.

Functional and barrier coatings cover a broad spectrum of materials that are coated onto paper and board to provide a barrier of some sort to protect the materials inside, and/or to enable the substrate to act as a suitable package for its contents. Although over one third of this market lies in liquid packaging, the market is much broader in scope and application, covering packaging for a wide range of food stuffs; pharmaceutical and medical items; cosmetics; and dry goods such as paper itself (eg ream wrap). The barrier requirements cover such materials as water and water vapour; oil and grease; oxygen and aroma.

jeudi 27 août 2009

Une nourriture saine dans des emballages sains

Le site vient de publier un article qui fait le tour des nouveaux « emballages écologiques » dédié au secteur de la restauration. L’article est assez pertinent, toutefois les commentaires laissés sont assez négatifs.

Une phrase m’a frappé dans cet article : '' …Toutefois, il se dit inquiet de voir des pays producteurs de maïs se retrouver en crise alimentaire parce qu’ils préfèrent transformer le maïs en bioplastique''.

Certes, la concurrence avec l'usage alimentaire constitue un écueil pour les bioplastiques, néanmoins on ne peut pas les comparer aux biocarburants :

La part des terres agricoles mobilisées est aujourd'hui minime (moins de 0,1 % de la surface agricole en Europe), mais elle pourrait grimper si les bioplastiques atteignent de 5 % à 10 % du marché total, comme l'anticipent les experts. Christophe Doukhi de Boissoudy, président du club des bioplastiques, qui regroupe les professionnels du secteur, réfute cette idée : "Si les bioplastiques atteignaient 10 % du marché, seuls 1,35 % des surfaces céréalières européennes seraient nécessaires pour leur production." (Source)

The amount of corn used worldwide for bio-plastics in 2007 was about 250,000 tonnes. In 2007 the US alone produced 332 million tonnes of corn (in addition the US grew numerous other food crops including sorgum grain - 12.8 million tonnes, rice - 10 million tonnes and soybean - 70 million tonnes). The percentage of US food production that would be used for worldwide bio-plastics production is 0.0005 percent. This does not take into account all the other food produced worldwide. This cannot be considered to have an effect on food scarcity, especially when compared to bio-fuels which used approximately 18 percent of US grain production in 2008. (Source)

Voici quelques éléments qui doivent être pris en compte pour un développent viable et éco-responsable des bioplastiques:

mercredi 26 août 2009

The Real Health Care Problem: Packaging

Some may say that the public option's costs and financing are the profound issues of health care today, but I believe the real problem is packaging (and I am not talking about environmental impact)! I get the sniffles and my eyes tear. Why? I know not. But recently at the pharmacy next to my regular name-brand allergy medicine was the store's own generic pills and much cheaper. I rushed home thrilled and proud of the $4 saving and spent a sleepless night waiting to pop that "same pill but for less money."

I trembled opening the box (not a bottle with a safety cap that only the Incredible Hulk can open) to find rows of the tiniest pills I had ever seen, all individually wrapped in silver foil with perforations to separate them. Once a pill was removed from its family, it could be accessed by finding the only corner where the foil could be peeled away from the pill in order to punch it out and free it.

Finding the corner did not necessarily do the job. Getting the foil started took the most surgical placing of the fingernail. After about 10 tries and close to 10 minutes I was on my way to easy breathing for the day. But although I had saved money, the repeated effort for days had been so intense and aggravating that I soon found myself needing high-blood pressure medication. But I am not a fool. I had learned my lesson. I resolved to purchase a new pair of scissors to cut the edges on the allergy pills, so that I could get on with the task more efficiently and avoid the aggravation.

Alas, the scissors I purchased came wrapped in unbreakable plastic. My old scissors could not cut the plastic. A box cutter just crumbled when it met its match. I tried a hammer, but it only broke the (unbreakable) counter top but left the plastic cover in tact. I finally broke through the plastic with an electric drill, but of course, cut my fingers trying to pull the plastic apart. Now I am going away for a few days to relax, but I know the first few hours of my flight I will spend trying to open one of those tiny bags of peanuts.

mardi 25 août 2009

Amosorb: high performance PET barrier technology

ColorMatrix, the leading global innovator in plastic liquid colourants and additives, will launch Amosorb® SolO2, a high performance PET barrier technology, at Drinktec 2009. This new technology ensures extended product protection and longer shelf-life in oxygen-sensitive beverages, particularly beers, wines and juices. ColorMatrix will also show its customised dosing systems and DosiXpressTM, a web-based colour match, development and delivery system which gives customers complete control of colour development, sampling and ordering. A new light blocking solution for the dairy sector will be unveiled, which promises improved process capability while extending shelf-life and optimising container appearance.

Amosorb SolO2 is the latest addition to ColorMatrix's renowned Amosorb range of O2 scavengers. It combines oxygen scavenging with barrier properties, providing essential protection from O2 ingress, CO2 loss and potential product degradation. Colour can be added simply, so brand owners and converters can perfect the aesthetics of their products. Specifically developed for oxygen-sensitive beverages, where empty bottle storage may be required, Amosorb SolO2 can delay CO2 egress by up to 30 days and protect from O2 ingress for up to four months longer than PET with standard Amosorb. Amosorb SolO2 can be used with any type of PET resin and is suitable for both mono-layer and multi-layer PET containers. Easy to handle and use, it complies fully with EU and FDA food contact legislation.


lundi 24 août 2009

Printed intelligence: upgrade packaging and printing

According to VTT Technical Research Centre (2008), Printed intelligence are components and systems, which:
  • Extend the functions of printed matter beyond traditional visually interpreted textual and graphical communications
  • Perform actions as a part of functional products or information systems

Organic and Printed Electronics Offer New Packaging Functions

In principal packaging serves product protection (conservation) and promotion. Organic and printed electronics could help manufacturers upgrade packaging plastics to active early warning systems or cardboard boxes to multi-media information carriers. Current trends and the latest developments in this area were on display last June at the LOPE-C, the Organic & Printed Electronics Convention, in Frankfurt, Germany.

First video in print to appear in American magazine advert

The World's first video in print advertisement will appear in next months edition of the American show biz magazine "Entertainment Weekly".

Broadcast network company CBS will run the ad to promote their Monday prime-time lineup in partnership with PepsiCo who will endorse Pepsi Max soda, state CNET news, which is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS. The magazine with the special inserts will be delivered to a limited number of subscribers in the New York and Los Angeles areas.

The screen uses thin film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT LCD) technology, protected with polycarbonate. It is 2.7 millimeters thick, with a resolution of 320x240, which has been in development at Americhip for the last two years. The battery lasts for about 65 to 70 minutes, and can be recharged with a mini USB cord - there's a jack on the back of it.

dimanche 23 août 2009

Médias sociaux : nouveaux outils de communication et de recrutement

Dans un précédent billet (ici), je soulignais que les acteurs de l’industrie de l’emballage avaient tout à gagner à se doter d’un blog. Il s’agit en effet, d’un excellent canal pour communiquer auprès d’un public cible, des clients, voire des médias.

Sur ce même sujet, voici le résultat de deux enquêtes réalisées sur les nouveaux médias sociaux :

Selon un récent sondage réalisé pour le site CareerBuilder, près d'un employeur américain sur deux utiliserait maintenant les réseaux sociaux tels que Facebook et LinkedIn pour recruter des candidats. Les répondants signalent toutefois que les contenus inappropriés trouvés dans ces réseaux peuvent également servir à éliminer des candidatures.

L'étude suggère que 45% des employeurs consultent les profils et autres contenus diffusés dans les médias sociaux par les candidats. Les sites les plus souvent consultés par les employeurs avant une embauche sont Facebook (29%), LinkedIn (26%), MySpace (21%), les blogues (11%) et Twitter (7%).

Les PME qui bloguent augmentent de 55% le trafic de leur site internet

La société de marketing Hubspot a mené une enquête auprès de 1500 entreprises clientes aux Etats-Unis, dont la plupart sont des PME. Il en ressort que les entreprises qui tiennent un blog accroissent de 55% le trafic sur leur site internet.

Le nombre de liens entrants (d’autres sites web qui parlent et placent chez eux un lien internet vers l’entreprise) double chez les PME qui tiennent un blog (+97%). Cet élément est très important du point de vue de la présence sur les moteurs de recherche. C’est, en effet, en tenant compte du nombre de liens dynamiques qui pointent vers un site internet que Google, notamment, détermine l’« autorité » de celui-ci par rapport à la thématique recherchée. Plus on parlera et plus on liera vers vous sur internet, mieux Google vous placera dans la liste des résultats de recherche. Votre entreprise, mieux référencée, deviendra plus visible des internautes. Les PME qui bloguent, selon Hubspot, quintuplent le nombre des pages indexées sur leur site.

Bien sûr, il ne suffit pas d’ouvrir un blog pour que les résultats en termes de fréquentation et de réputation pleuvent immédiatement. Bloguer nécessite un investissement personnel, une qualité d’information et/ou d’analyse, du feeling et la capacité d’interagir ouvertement avec l’extérieur.


Pack news of the week: reduction, longer shelf life and Anti-Counterfeiting

New packages deliver longer shelf life for seafood

New packaging for fresh fish and other seafood extends its life by up to 21 days, improves safety while retaining its flavour, shape and product appearance, claims the manufacturer Hefestus, Israel.

The packaging features the company’s SLB shelf life booster technology designed to extend the shelf life of sealed trays with modified atmosphere technology (MAP). The SLB system can achieve residual oxygen levels of less than one per cent more quickly than current MAP systems, claims the company.

The new packaging achieves significantly better results than vacuum packing, claims the company. “One of the problems in vacuum packaging is the resultant look and feel of the product, especially with seafood and fish that have very sensitive texture,” explains Oded Shtemer, the company’s president and CEO.

New French law could make luxury packaging illegal

A French law, which could make luxurious packaging of high end fragrances and cosmetics illegal, has come under fire from a European packaging trade association.

The European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN) has attacked recent changes to French law that could affect the packaging of luxury goods.

Under the new regulations, packaging must be as limited as possible while respecting the needs of product safety, hygiene and logistics. The consumer acceptance part of the law, which was accepted by EU member states in 1994, has been removed.
McDonald’s Cuts Waste, Focuses on Packaging

In an interview with Daily Finance, McDonald’s VP of Corporate Social Respsonsibility Bob Langert says the restaurant is looking to step up its eco-cred as it tests 10 models of environmentally friendly restaurants in an effort to reduce its overall energy consumption and waste.

According to Langert, the restaurant spends $1.7 billion on energy around the world and another $1.3 million on processing its waste. Langert says possible solutions include trimming down its packaging and organic composting.

“Reducing our packaging and figuring out ways to divert waste will be necessary and help our bottom line. We are also implementing an environmental score card with our suppliers,” Langert tells Daily Finance. “It’s the right thing to do, but its also business related. We see it as an efficiency measure that helps focus them on driving efficiencies and reducing their costs.”

AlpVision - Invisible Anti-Counterfeiting Systems for Large-Volume Packaging and Labelling

AlpVision is the leading supplier of low-cost, effective invisible anti-counterfeiting solutions to protect large volumes of primary and secondary packaging and labels. AlpVision’s solutions are already protecting over a billion branded products worldwide for fast moving consumer goods (FMGC) manufacturers, in particular for the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries.

vendredi 21 août 2009

L'emballage déballe tout

Je partage avec vous cet excellent reportage pédagogique sur le monde des emballages réalisé par FOST Plus.

Un grand merci à Sylvie Meekers, Director Quality Control and Prevention at FOST Plus, pour m’avoir transmis le DVD de cette vidéo.


jeudi 20 août 2009

Packaging Leaders: Altea Packaging & Amcor

Altea Packaging emballe le Maghreb

La société a vu sa taille sextupler en trois ans. Elle est ainsi passée d’une petite PME tunisienne (Cogitel) à un groupe international (Altea Packaging). Une réussite qui s’appuie sur le private equity.

Sacré appétit que celui d’Altea Packaging, qui vient d’engloutir quatre entreprises : la française Roland Emballages en juillet 2007 ; Optima, au Maroc, en septembre 2008 ; et, deux mois plus tard, Porta et sa filiale Rotopack Misr, en Égypte. En sus de 10 millions d’euros investis en Algérie, où l’usine constantinoise devrait entrer en service à la fin de 2009. Résultat : un chiffre d’affaires qui a bondi de 37 millions d’euros en 2007 à près de 69 millions en 2008. Et cette ambition : de leader local en Tunisie (40 % de parts de marché), Altea veut devenir le numéro un de l’emballage flexible sur la région Mena « d’ici trois à cinq ans », promet Slim Zeghal, 44 ans, directeur général du groupe.

Amcor emporte l'emballage d' Alcan pour 2 milliards de dollars

Le numéro un mondial de l'emballage en PET se renforce dans le carton pour paquets de cigarettes et se hisse au premier rang des produits souples pour la pharmacie. Rio Tinto cherchait depuis longtemps à se défaire de ces actifs pour alléger sa dette.

C'est la plus grande acquisition de l'histoire d'Amcor. Le géant australien de l'emballage, qui avait déboursé 1,5 milliard de dollars américains pour mettre la main sur les bouteilles en PET et les couvercles de l'allemand Schmalbach-Lubeca en 2002, a annoncé hier la reprise auprès de Rio Tinto d'une partie des actifs d'Alcan, en particulier de nombreuses usines ex-Pechiney. Le montant de la transaction dépasse cette fois-ci les 2 milliards de dollars américains, à 2,02 milliards exactement (1,4 milliard d'euros). Le groupe conserve pour le moment ses usines d'emballages pour les cosmé­tiques, qui feront l'objet d'une cession séparée.

Cette opération permet à Amcor de se renforcer sur des segments où il n'était pas leader. Le groupe, déjà numéro un mondial de l'emballage en plastique PET, se hissera ainsi au premier rang des fournisseurs de carton pour les paquets de cigarettes en ­Europe.

Démystifier les systèmes de certification papier

L’industrie forestière s’est dotée d’outils de certification pour une gestion durable de la ressource. La certification est même devenue une condition d’accès au marché. Cependant, avec la multiplication des systèmes de certification, les designers, créatifs, imprimeurs et même les consommateurs ne savent plus où donner de la tête et en vient à s’interroger sur leur fiabilité. Comment se retrouver dans cette « forêt » de logos?

L'ICGQ présente le 15 octobre prochain, une demi- journée d'information sur les différents systèmes de certifications du papier au Canada. L'objectif de cette journée est de démystifier les différentes certifications afin que les consommateurs opèrent des choix éclairés et durables. Nous avons donc réuni les 3 certificateurs (FSC, SFI et CSA) ainsi que des représentants de deux grandes papetières du Québec (Cascades et Domtar). Le volet contenu 100% recyclé et ses multiples aspects sera également présenté.

Un guide sur les trois systèmes de certification en usage au Canada sera distribué. Ce document constituera un outil de référence, simple et pratique afin de démystifier les systèmes de certification du papier.

mardi 18 août 2009

Flexible packaging: weight reduction, BRC and HACCP accreditation

Sainsbury's reduce plastics use in packaging

Sainsbury's has signed up Amcor Flexibles' new heat-sealed packaging for its stocks of strawberries, plums and cherries. This will significantly reduce the weight of the packaging and the amount of plastic used by the chain every year, helping the company's green credentials.

The weight of the packaging, thanks to the new film material, will be reduced by 87%, which means that Sainsbury's will use 333 tonnes less in plastic each year. The film can be printed on and this will also render labelling obsolete, helping the fight against waste again.

Amcor hopes to see the packaging material used by other retailers in the near future.

Arabian Flexible Packaging achieve BRC and HACCP accreditation

Arabian Flexible Packaging, a member of the Al Ghurair Group of Companies and one of the largest and most diverse flexible packaging converters in the Middle East, was recently accredited with BRC-IOP (British Retail Consortium - Institute of Packaging) Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials: Issue 3 and the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certifications

The BRC-IOP accreditation is a global standard that is earned when organizations show they are actively implementing required benchmark levels on issues, including commitment to continual improvement, hygiene, product quality and safety as well as factory standards.

HACCP is a systematic preventive approach to food safety that addresses physical, chemical and biological hazards as a means of prevention rather than finished product inspection. HACCP is used in the food industry to identify potential food safety hazards, so that key actions, known as Critical Control Points can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of the hazards being realized.

RFID: track the health and productivity of pigs

Israel's largest pig farm is using UHF EPC Gen 2 tags to increase production, ensuring that each animal receives proper care, and improving the health of sows and their piglets.

An Israeli firm specializing in pork products is employing an RFID system at its pig farm in Galilee to track the health and productivity of its sows as they produce piglets. For the past three months, the meat producer—which asked to remain unnamed—has been using the BOSwine system, provided by Israeli RFID solutions provider Better Online Solutions (BOS), to track the amount of feed the pigs eat, as well as their weight, pregnancies and the number of piglets they produce. The system, says Oren Lazimi, the farm's operating manager, is expected to increase litter size and frequency, while also reducing the piglets' mortality rate.

Read more…

Tesco carbon footprints milk

Tesco milk packs are to feature a carbon label as the retailer moves closer to its target of footprinting 500 products by the end of the year.
The full-fat, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk ranges will now feature their carbon footprint as part of the retailers' plans to footprint its staple products.
Packaging is counted as part of the processing stage of milk's lifecycle. The processing stage accounts for 9.2% of the total carbon footprint for skimmed milk, rising to 9.7% for whole milk.
"Milk is not only one of the biggest sellers in store; it's also prominent on breakfast tables day in day out across the country," said Tesco community and government director David North.
"So we think carbon labels on milk can play a great part in raising awareness and helping customers navigate the new carbon footprint."
A survey carried out by Frank Research for Tesco discovered that 50% of customers surveyed now understand the meaning of "carbon footprint", compared to 32% last year.
Over half said that they would actively seek products with a lower carbon footprint.
The next set of products to be carbon footprinted will be Tesco bags, bread, toilet and kitchen roll.
The company is also experimenting with different feedstocks for its cows in an attempt to reduce methane emissions.

lundi 17 août 2009

Pack news of the week: Flexible retort pouch and biodegradable packaging

As part of its effort to maximize the value of Canadian beef, the Beef Information Centre (BIC) has helped develop new beef packaging options for both retail and foodservice.

Flexible retort pouch packaging provides a significant opportunity to add value to beef and strengthen beef’s position in the ready-to-serve market.

Retorting is a process that uses heat and pressure to cook vacuum sealed pre-packaged meat. Since the meat is cooked in the package, the package must be strong enough to withstand relatively high temperatures (100-130 degrees C).

Renewable chemicals market to grow by 30% in five years

Growth in biodegradable packaging will help boost the global renewable chemicals market by almost a third to $59bn in the next five years, according to US researchers.

Market research firm MarketsandMarkets' new report into the Global chemicals market suggests the move to decouple economic growth from using non-renewable resources will help grow the sector from $45bn in 2009 to $59.1bn in 2014.
Packaging is one of the key uses for renewable chemicals and the biopolymer market has the potential to grow at around 22% a year.

dimanche 16 août 2009

Empreinte carbone affichée sur les emballages : Bientôt au Québec?

Il y’a un an, le gouvernement japonais invitait les fabricants à afficher sur l’emballage de leur produits, la quantité de dioxyde de carbone (CO2) émise, de leur production à leur livraison en rayon, afin de responsabiliser les industriels, les détaillants et les consommateurs. De telles mentions à vocation écologique ont déjà été instaurées au Royaume-Uni et en France.

Je me demandais alors si ces initiatives inspireraient le gouvernement québécois.

Or, on apprend dans un article publié récemment dans que :

" D'ici cinq ans, au Canada, les emballages afficheront la quantité de CO2 émise pour fabriquer et transporter les produits ", prévoit Jean-Sébastien Trudel, d'Ellipsos.
J’avoue avoir bien hâte de voir l’empreinte carbone des «sur-emballantes» mandarines chinoises vendues dans certains marchés d’alimentation.

vendredi 14 août 2009

Wal-Mart - Leading the Sustainability Pack?

Excerpts from an excellent article published in Packaging Gateway.

During mid-July 2009, the American retail giant Wal-Mart revealed a sustainability plan that could radically reform its entire production and distribution process. At the heart of the new policy is a sustainability index, which will act as a universal rating system that scores products based on how environmentally and socially sustainable they are during the course of their lives.

Given the immense scale of Wal-Mart’s operations in the US, the impact of this move has far wider implications for a number of industry sectors, in particular the packaging segment.
  • Wal-Mart plans to reduce the amount of packaging in its supply chain by 5% by 2013 before going on to be completely packaging neutral by 2025.
  • Small changes to packaging design can have significant impacts on the use of materials, manufacturing, shipping containers, trucks, storage, refrigeration, waste and energy used for production.
  • In November 2006 Wal-Mart introduced a scorecard which evaluates the product packaging of its suppliers and the suppliers of Sam’s Club – the corporation’s retail warehouse chain. Each item’s packaging receives a grade based on Wal-Mart’s ‘7 R’s of Packaging’, which include removing unnecessary packaging, reusing transport packaging and recycling various materials. Suppliers are then encouraged to learn about ways to improve their packaging from the subsequent results.



jeudi 13 août 2009

BPI clarifies standards statement by oxo-bio industry

In response to a story first reported by and cited by (see “Oxo-bio association defends environmental claims”) Steven Mojo, executive director of the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), sent a letter to the publications to clarify some information cited by Gerald Scott, Professor Emeritus in Chemistry and Polymer Science of Aston University and chairman of the Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Association (OPA) on ASTM D6954.

"Additives to traditional resins to promote biodegradation may well have value in specific applications and disposal pathways. Until the community of additive suppliers correctly uses documents, such as ASTM D6954, to generate and publicly report data, their far reaching and unsupported claims of “biodegradability” will continue to be met with skepticism". Steven Mojo, BPI Executive Director

mercredi 12 août 2009

Coca Cola's Bioplastic PlantBottle Coming Later this Year

The Coca-Cola Company recently took the first steps towards what CEO Muhlar Kent said was their, "vision to eventually introduce bottles made with materials that are 100 percent recyclable and renewable."

Kent was referring to the company's new PlantBottle due out sometime later this year in select markets holding their Dasani brand bottled water and sparking brands. Coke's Vitaminwater is expected to follow - being packaged in the PlantBottle sometime next year.
The PlantBottle is currently made through an innovative process that turns sugar cane and molasses, a by-product of sugar production, into a key component for PET plastic.
Manufacturing the new plastic bottle is more environmentally efficient as well. A life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London indicates the PlantBottle with 30 percent plant-based material reduces carbon emissions by up to 25 percent, compared with petroleum-based PET.
According to the company, another advantage to the PlantBottle is that, unlike other plant-based plastics, it can be processed through existing manufacturing and recycling facilities without contaminating traditional PET.
Consumers can identify the innovative bottles through on-package messages and in-store point of sale displays. Web-based communications will also highlight the bottles' environmental benefits.
Coca Cola faces a challenge with its new bottle concept from the recycling industry who have long been concerned about contamination from bio and other types of plastics. Industry groups are concerned the current recycling system in the US is not equipped to adequately handle bio plastics.

lundi 10 août 2009

New light-emitting biomaterial could improve tumor imaging

A new material developed at the University of Virginia – an oxygen nanosensor that couples a light-emitting dye with a biopolymer – simplifies the imaging of oxygen-deficient regions of tumors. Such tumors are associated with increased cancer aggressiveness and are particularly difficult to treat.

Oxygen nanosensors are powerful new research tools that one day may also be used for the diagnosis and detection of diseases and for planning treatment strategies.

The new material is based on poly(lactic acid), a biorenewable, biodegradable polymer that is safe for the body and the environment, and is easy and inexpensive to fabricate in many forms, including films, fibers and nanoparticles. It is useful for medical research as well as environmental research, sustainable design and green products, too.

The versatile sensor material is the result of research combining green chemistry with nanotechnology, and is reported in the current online edition of the journal Nature Materials.

Source: A dual-emissive-materials design concept enables tumour hypoxia imaging
Guoqing Zhang, Gregory M. Palmer, Mark W. Dewhirst, Cassandra L. Fraser. Nature Materials (9 August 2009) doi:10.1038/nmat2509 Letter

mercredi 5 août 2009

Biodegradable plastic news: Oxo vs Bio

The Biopolymer Database offers material data about Biopolymers, in relation to a research project with University of Applied Science Hannover, department Bio-Process Engineering, Prof. Endres. The first generation of the database, which is already available, contains material data delivered by the material suppliers.

EcoPaXX™, Breakthrough in polymers

Newly-introduced EcoPaXX™ is a green, bio-based material: approximately 70% of the polymer consists of building blocks derived from castor oil as a renewable resource. Castor oil is a unique natural material and is obtained from the Ricinus Communis plant, which grows in tropical regions. It is grown in relatively poor soil conditions, and its production does not compete with the food-chain.

EcoPaXX™ has been shown to be 100 % carbon neutral from cradle to gate, which means that the carbon dioxide which is generated during the production process of the polymer, is fully compensated by the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed in the growth phase of the castor beans. According to Kees Tintel, project manager EcoPaXX™ “the carbon footprint of plastics is rapidly becoming a hot issue for Customers, therefore they really appreciate EcoPaXX™ being carbon neutral!”

Oxo-bio industry says product claims valid

An oxo-biodegradable industry body has refuted charges made by a rival association that its products fail to meet valid or recognised standards, and that the sector has yet to present sound scientific evidence to support its claims.

The Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Association (OPA) has said the standards it uses to verify the biodegradability of its products are legitimate and that claims made by the industry are founded on solid science.

Note de position du Conseil National de l’Emballage (CNE)

Le CNE souligne que les produits, notamment sacs de caisse, fabriqués en polyéthylène additivé d’un oxydant, dits bio-fragmentables, oxo-dégradables ou oxo-biodégradables, ne sont pas biodégradables et ne sont pas compostables selon la norme NF EN 13432. Il recommande d’interdire de les qualifier de « bioplastique » et/ou de « biodégradable ».

mardi 4 août 2009

Réunion-débat : "Emballage dans la filière viande"

La réunion-débat organisée par le Pôle de Compétitivité InnoViandes, en association avec le Réseau Mixte de Technologie Propack Food le 10 juin 2009 consacrée à la problématique des emballages. La journée avait pour objectif de faire le point sur les différents aspects de la problématique des emballages dans la filière viande et produits carnés : performances, sécurité microbiologique, durabilité, règlementation, innovation, … et de débattre de l’adéquation des emballages et travaux de recherche-développement actuels avec les attentes des industriels de la filière.
La problématique des emballages dans la filière viande

Les attentes actuelles des utilisateurs d’emballages de la filière viande sont :
  • Des emballages recyclables et/ou biodégradables,
  • un packaging (film/barquette/gaz/…) plus compétitif au niveau du prix,
  • des emballages allégés,
  • des emballages « transportables » économiquement,
  • des améliorations dans la conservation des produits,
  • des améliorations du visuel produit (non décoloration du produit au cours du temps),
  • des emballages adaptés aux produits prêts à consommer (micro-ondes/four traditionnel/…), si cela est économiquement viable.

Télécharger la présentation complète de Stéphane MAROTEIX (ARRIVÉ)

Emballages actifs/intelligents destinés à interagir avec les produits carnés

L’objectif des emballages actifs est de prolonger la durée de conservation et d’améliorer la qualité et la sécurité de l’aliment. Les principes des emballages actifs sont :

  • une action sur l’aliment lui-même et/ou sur l’environnement,
  • Une modification de l’atmosphère intra-emballage par absorption ou dégagement de gaz, ue vapeurs,…
  • une émission de molécules antimicrobiennes, anti-oxydantes,…

Les emballages intelligents sont de trois types :

  • les capteurs (la concentration d’oxygène dans l’emballage peut donner une indication sur l’âge du produit) ;
  • les indicateurs et les intégrateurs (de fuite, de fraîcheur, temps/température, de croissance bactérienne, de maturité) ;
  • les traceurs (technologies d’identification par radio-fréquence).

Télécharger la présentation complète de Frédéric DEBEAUFORT (ENSBANA et Edmond ROUSSEL, LABORATOIRE STANDA) (NB : Voir ici et les versions originales…!!!)

Dans le même ordre d’idée, une nouvelle invention suédoise, Tempix, un indicateur temps/température vient d’être lancé sur le marché. L’originalité de ce nouvelle étiquette intelligente est qu’elle est couplée au code barre. Si le produit a été exposé à de fortes températures, un liquide s’écoule sur le code barre, le détruisant et le rendant illisible au scanner.

The piece of goods reaches the customer, who by the naked eye can read off the Tempix temperature indicator. Furthermore, the bar-code becomes blocked if the product has been mistreated temperature-wise, which prevents purchase at the cash-counter.The Tempix time/temperature indicator is built up from an absorbent (paper label) and a container/label cover including an activator. The activator migrates in the paper when the set temperature is exceeded and erases the bar-code and the optical signal bar after the time period stipulated. Temperature ranges between -30 to +30 °C (-22 to +86 °F) with an accuracy of ±0,5 °C (±0,9 °F). (Source)

lundi 3 août 2009

Altéa Packaging : Une ambition méditerranéenne

Lors de mon passage en Tunisie, j’ai eu l’occasion de rencontrer des responsables d’Altéa Packaging. Ce groupe est le leader des transformateurs d’emballages flexibles de la région Moyen-Orient et Afrique du Nord.

Avec une capacité installée de plus de 40 mille tonnes par an, plus de 700 collaborateurs, Altéa Packaging possède 7 unités industrielles installées au Maroc, en Algérie, en Egypte en passant par la France et bien sûr la Tunisie. Fort de son expertise et de son innovation, le groupe a développé une vaste clientèle en Europe (France, Allemagne, Belgique et Grande Bretagne), à travers le Maghreb, au moyen orient (Turquie, Liban, Arabie Saoudite et Egypte) et jusqu’en Afrique subsaharienne (Sénégal).

Son outil de production intègre entre autres les activités:

  • D’impression Héliogravure et flexogravure
  • D’enduction, de paraffinage et complexage
  • De découpage en bobines, en opercules et en étiquettes
  • De confection de manchons rétractables (Sleeve)
  • De fabrication de sacs (sacs à soufflets et pochettes)

J’ai eu aussi l’occasion de visiter la plus importante société du groupe, Cogitel, à Sfax (Tunisie). Un site équipé de machines dernier cri, certifié fin novembre 2008, ISO 22000.

Cogitel réalise des emballages destinés au conditionnement d'une vaste gamme de produits, essentiellement biscuits, yaourts, thé & café, chocolat & confiserie, pâtes & couscous, détergents & cosmétiques…et dispose d’un large savoir-faire intégrant le Cogimix, les Sleeves, la banderole pelable, les films haute cadence, les étiquettes IML etc.

Bioplastique : Note de position du Conseil National de l’Emballage

Le Conseil National de l’Emballage (CNE, France) vient de publié une note intitulée : "Emballages compostables et matériaux plastiques dits «biodégradables» issus de ressources renouvelables". Cette note fait suite à une première édition de juin 2008 intitulée ''Matériaux plastiques issus de ressources renouvelables et emballages biodégradables''. Elle en constitue une mise à jour, liée à l’évolution des connaissances et des réalisations de cette industrie jeune, et place la note sous un nouvel éclairage, reflété par son titre.

  • Le terme « bioplastique » est aujourd’hui utilisé pour désigner deux réalités distinctes : l’origine de la ressource et la gestion de la fin de vie. Le Conseil National de l’Emballage préconise, afin de clarifier le débat, de n’utiliser le terme « bioplastique » que pour les seuls matériaux contenant un minimum de 50%2 de ressources d’origine végétale et compostables au sens de la norme NF EN 13432.
  • Concernant la fin de vie des emballages, il faut rappeler que tout ce qui est compostable est biodégradable, mais que tout ce qui est biodégradable n’est pas automatiquement compostable selon la norme NF EN 13432. De plus, cette norme relative aux emballages valorisables par compostage et biodégradation ne s’applique qu’au compostage industriel. Un emballage compostable industriellement n’est pas nécessairement compostable à domicile.
  • Le Conseil National de l’Emballage recommande de ne pas utiliser aujourd’hui le mot « biodégradable », pour qualifier un emballage, sans préciser qu’il ne peut pas être jeté dans la nature mais qu’il doit faire l’objet d’un traitement approprié en fin de vie.
  • Le Conseil National de l’Emballage privilégie le critère de l’origine de la ressource à celui de la fin de vie du matériau. Il est préférable d’informer les consommateurs sur le caractère renouvelable de la ressource, plutôt que sur la compostabilité (et biodégradabilité) de l’emballage au regard de la norme NF EN 13432, en ce sens que cette dernière ne s’applique pas au compostage domestique.
  • Le CNE recommande la mise en place de normes relatives au compostage domestique et que des travaux soient conduits en ce sens.
  • Le CNE recommande le développement de labels officiels, s’appuyant sur des normes de compostabilité domestique, permettant d’indiquer cette possibilité aux consommateurs.

Bioplastics must be more than green to deliver long-term growth

Bioplastics are set to see double-digit growth but they must become effective and economical, not just ecologically sound, if they want to be widely adopted, said a new report by Lux Research.

The study, called “Growing Tomorrow’s Green Materials”, said that biopolymers – biologically derived materials - currently have just a one per cent value share of the $1.6 trillion annual global plastics market and around 0.1 per cent in volume terms. It adds that as a group, biopolymers' current performance is worse compared to their conventional counterparts “on every dimension except the ecological”.

Food packaging is one of a growing number of industries where the development and growth of bioplastics is being scutinised with interest.

Challenges and opportunities

But despite these challenges, growing consumer demand and the continued volatility of oil prices still means the outlook for bioplastics is buoyant, said the report. Even so, their impact is likely to remain limited far into the future.

“Propelled by the momentum of consumer sentiment and petroleum prices, green materials will continue to grow at double digits – but they are starting from such a small base that they will not meaningfully impact the world’s economy or ecology for decades to come,” said the study.

Conventional oil-based polymers are effective but environmental concerns about certain ingredients and landfill creation means that consumers and companies have targeted the development of greener alternatives as a priority. Giants such as BASF, Dow and DSM have all highlighted the expansion of biopolymers as a major goal for the future. Smaller companies, academics and larger industry players from outside the sector are also looking to established themselves in the bioplastics market, which should all contribute towards the sector’s long-term growth, said the report’s authors.

However, in order for biopolymers to fulfil their potential they must be effective, with their performance levels equivalent or superior to conventional materials. This includes such attributes as temperature tolerance, physical strength, crystallinity and hardness, said the study. Factors such as unit cost, functional lifetime and end-of-life value are all important when considering the economic competitiveness of biopolymers, said the research. And of course, they have to be environmentally sound.

Near-term situation

To improve market penetration in the near-term, said researchers, developers should focus on applications where “effective performance is a secondary consideration (as in single-use applications); economic impact is minimal and ecological profile merits a premium”. Many plastic products – including some packaging – are over-engineered and this give biopolymer suppliers the opportunity “to work with buyers to target the optimal level of performance, while offering more ecologically sound products that appeal to consumers”, said the report.

In the short-term, the cost of biopolymers will limit them to niche applications. Although the performance of some biopolymers like polylactic acid (PLA) can match their petroleum-based counterparts, these materials cost nearly twice as much, as long as oil is below $100/barrel.

“Even if oil prices rise, increasing plant feedstock costs may sap the relative benefit of renewable materials,” cautions the report.

The report concludes: “Consumer concerns about conventional polymers will continue to rise, but economic issues will be the primary drivers of green materials’ adoption by corporations and consumers alike.”


The problem with green plastics

While the bioplastic industry (the European Bioplastic group in particular) are trying to distance themselves from oxo-biodegradables, the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR), meanwhile, are refuting the PLA (polylactic acid) bioplastic claims that they can be recycled with PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastics.

Let's start with oxo-biodegradables where according to the European Bioplastics group, companies producing these plastics failed to back up their biodegradability or compostability claims as according to internationally accepted standards such as ISO 17088, EN 13432, etc. The group said they also do not want any attempt from the oxo-biodegradable industry to water down the criteria of the EN 13432 such as requesting longer timeframes for materials to decompose.

"Bioplastics are still a relatively young industry. It is therefore vital that claims on biodegradability or compostability are backed by internationally accepted standards." - EB

PLA-bioplastics meanwhile, are having a hard time convincing the plastic industry that they can get along with PET when it comes to recycling. According to NAPCOR, recycling PLA with PET might increased contamination and yield loss of recycled PET as well as impact its quality and processing.

"The reality is that the PLA container becomes a contributor to PET bale yield loss which is already a big concern for PET reclaimers, as is the additional fraction of marketable PET which will invariably get sorted out along with the PLA. So not only is there an increased cost for sorting and a higher yield loss, but without any practical way to aggregate the sorted material, or markets for it, it's destined for landfill." - NAPCOR

In a recent bioplastic webinar hosted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PLA bioplastic producer NatureWorks said that they are looking into sorting technology such as infrared (NIR) sorting systems and that PLA should be treated for now as other non-PET/HDPE plastics in the recycling stream.

"It is not NatureWorks intent to be an SPI Code #1," said Brian Glasbrenner, NatureWorks business Director, Americas. "The bioplastic industry is working to have its own SPI code and with critical mass, PLA will soon be isolated into its own value stream."

NatureWorks said they are also looking to recycling their used PLA plastic back into the lactic acid feedstock, which would be more economical for the company. The company is already working with European lactic acid producer Galactic, where it is building a 1,500 tonne/year plant to produce lactic acid from recycled PLA plastic. The plant is expected to be operational this year.

Read the response of GregS from Green Plastics