The companies responsible for producing a bio-based film wrapper made from potato starch waste for Mars’ Snickers bar was proclaimed the winner of the 2016 "Oskar" in the 11th annual Global Bioplastics Awards competition held at the European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin in late November 2016. The package was a joint development by Mars, Rodenburg Biopolymers (+31 162 497030), and Taghleef Industries. Mondi’s Consumer Goods Packaging division was also involved with the project, converting the wrapper at its plant in Solec, Poland.
The joint project to produce the bio-based candy-bar wrapper began in 2012. Rodenberg produced the raw material, Taghleef manufactured the film, Mondi printed the packaging, and Mars packed its chocolate bars using the film. According to Mars, the new material has not compromised the efficiency of its packaging lines; the running speed is equivalent to that achieved with standard polypropylene films.
In the first step of the project, Rodenburg developed a custom-made compound based on second-generation starch derived from wastewater from the potato processing industry. Company CEO Thijs Rodenburg says,“The unique cooperation is a best-practice example for the whole bioplastics industry. Without a joint effort, this success could not have been realized.”
Taghleef then extruded Rodenburg’s compound on their BoPLA line at their Italian plant in San Giorgio di Nogaro into a biaxially-oriented white voided film: NATIVIA® NESS.With thicknesses of 40 and 50 microns, NATIVIA NESS has a white pearlescent appearance, good opacity, and high yield, and is heat-sealable and cold-seal receptive.
According to Taghleef, this new generation of bi-oriented and bio-based films fulfills all product protection requirements for chocolate packaging, is approved for food contact, and is able to meet the same speed of BOPP films on packaging lines.
Valerio Garzitto, CEO of Taghleef Europe, comments, “This is a great example of a long-term collaboration within the whole value chain of packing material and processing. It took us almost four years of hard work to develop and industrialize the final film, but this project shows that cooperation and expertise are key to success.”
Mondi Solec in Poland converted the film through rotogravure printing and application of cold-seal and release lacquer. Notes Mondi, the printing process was more challenging than for standard oriented polypropylene films due to the distinctive behavior of the new film on the printing line—e.g., film shrinkage caused by the heat generated during printing.
Arkadiusz Sapiecha, Managing Director of Mondi Solec in Poland, comments, “Thanks to intensive in-house research and our long-term experience in rotogravure printing, our team was able to achieve a high-quality print that matches the appeal of standard OPP while retaining the packaging’s more natural character.”
The 11th Global Bioplastics Awards recognize innovation, success, and achievement by manufacturers, processors and users of bioplastic materials. Mars, Rodenburg and Taghleef Industries were selected for the prize by a panel of independent judges representing the press, academic world, and trade associations in Europe, Asia, and America.