ConAgra Foods, Omaha, NE, announced in mid-March that it is the first company to utilize a new shrink film that contains more than 50% post-industrial recycled material, reducing landfill waste, greenhouse gases, and energy consumption. The new technology is a recycled polylactic acid (PLA).
The new shrink film will be used for tamper-evident seals on ConAgra Foods’ table spreads--Fleischmann’s, Blue Bonnet, and Parkay—and for printed shrink labels for multipacks of the company’s Reddi-Wip® whipped topping and PAM® cooking spray.
“This conversion to a new shrink material is one of many steps ConAgra Foods is taking in our continued commitment to innovation and sustainable business,” says Gail Tavill, VP of Sustainability at ConAgra Foods. “We’re positively impacting the environment, reducing waste, and eliminating the need for more than 400,000 pounds of petroleum-based material by replacing it with a material made from a renewable resource—corn.”
The new material has several advantages over traditional shrink films, according to ConAgra:
* It is manufactured using corn, a renewable resource. Traditional shrink films are petroleum-based.
* It contains more than 50% post-consumer recycled content, thus more than half the material that would traditionally be sent to landfills is now being diverted into a value-added end product.
* It produces less greenhouse gases than traditional shrink films; this means ConAgra Foods is reducing greenhouse gas production by approximately 592,000 lb of carbon dioxide equivalents, the same as taking about 48 cars off the road per year.
* It requires less energy at ConAgra Foods’ manufacturing facilities, reducing the temperature necessary to shrink the material by approximately 20%.
* It provides a higher-quality finished product due to an improved shrink performance.
The new technology was developed in partnership with Plastic Suppliers Inc.'s EarthFirst brand films (www.earthfirstpla.com), Bluepack (www.bluepackinc.com), and NatureWorks LLC (www.natureworksllc.com).
ConAgra Foods' conversion to the new material will divert more than 350,000 lb of nonrenewable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and more than 50,000 lb of polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) from the company’s raw material stream annually.