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Article | November 30, 2003
Twist-tie wrap is PLA
With the August launch of College Farm organic hard candies in East Coast markets, JoEl Inc. of Elizabethtown, NJ, is the first North American candy company to offer confectionery wrapped in NatureWorks™ polylactide (PLA) from Cargill Dow.
Made from annually renewable resources such as corn NatureWorks is fully compostable in municipal and industrial facilities where they are available.
“We thought environmentally friendly packaging would be an ideal complement to an organic product line” says David Hess JoEl’s vice president of operations. He says the material costs about the same as cellophane.
The 1-mil film is a two-layer cast coextrusion made by Bi-Ax Intl. that goes to Milprint for flexo printing in one color. The core layer of PLA crystallizes as it’s biaxially oriented which gives the finished wrap the toughness and dimensional stability it needs. The other PLA layer is a comonomer blend formulated in such a way that it remains amorphous during orientation. This gives the finished construction heat-seal properties. Currently they’re not needed because JoEl uses a twist-wrap packaging approach. But as added JoEl products—including lollipops—move into the material heat sealing will prove useful.
JoEl wraps its College Farm organic hard candies in PLA on one of its existing high-speed twist-wrap machines at speeds in the range of 1/min reports Hess.
Hess says a 4.75-oz bag of the hard candies sells for about $2.70. “Next year we’ll look at using PLA for the secondary packaging material” he adds.
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