December 14, 2022

Partnership to advance sustainable packaging for fresh produce

A new partnership between two industry leaders aims to advance sustainable packaging for fresh produce. BASF SE, based in Germany, will supply Israel-based StePac Ltd. with its Ultramid Ccycled TM, a chemically recycled polyamide 6.

StePac was recently REDcert 2 certified to incorporate the material into its flexible, modified atmosphere packaging products.

StePac brands Xgo TM and Xtend use MAP technology to provide built-in humidity control, which effectively slows respiration inside the packaging, delays aging processes, inhibits microbial decay, and preserves the quality and nutritional value of the produce during prolonged storage and long-haul shipments. Ultramid Ccycled will make up 30% of the packaging material, with options for integration at a higher percentage.

BASF SE will supply StePac Ltd. with its Ultramid Ccycled TM, a chemically recycled polyamide 6, for use its flexible, modified atmosphere packaging products.

“This alliance will help strike a balance between creating plastic packaging that is as eco-friendly as possible to keep fresh produce longer through more prudent use of lean plastic films,” said Gary Ward, StePac business development manager. “These upgraded packaging formats will continue to maintain their role of significantly reducing food waste, a most important task considering that global food waste is responsible for about 8% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.”

Chemical recycling primarily involves plastic waste that would have been used for energy recovery or landfilled and yields food-grade recycled plastic.

“In a thermochemical process, our partners obtain recycled feedstock from these end-of-life plastics, which is then fed into the BASF Verbund. Using a mass balance approach, the raw material can be attributed to specific products, such as Ultramid Ccycled,” said Dominik Winter, vice president of BASF’s European polyamides business. “This helps to replace fossil raw materials and is an important step towards circularity. As chemically recycled plastics have the same quality and safety as virgin material, the scope of plastics that can be recycled for fresh produce packaging is widened.”

Colombian passion fruit exporters Jardin Exotics S.A.S. will be the first to use the new packaging brand Xgo Circular. Supplied as film for horizontal form fill-and-seal, the packaging’s MAP properties will slow the ripening process and preserve the quality of fruit during the sea voyage from Colombia to Europe.

Packing at-source in the final retail packaging format also eliminates the need for repacking after arrival.

Ludwigshafen-headquartered BASF is the largest chemical producer in the world, with around 111,000 employees and a six-segment portfolio: chemicals, materials, industrial solutions, surface technologies, nutrition and care, and agricultural solutions.

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