The trend towards the use of ecological packaging is now spreading across all European markets. Lots of fruit and vegetables at the POS are rapidly gaining in importance, and so are biodegradable solutions. The Austrian Lenzing company now has succeeded in developing compostable vegetable nets made of cellulose fibers and using them at the POS. At the forthcoming Fruit Logistica, the so-called Botanic Nets will be officially presented.
Roland Arbesleitner (Segment Manager Packaging) & Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic (Head of Business Management Industrial Applications) Source: Lenzing AG
Sustainability in focus
The Botanic Nets are made of cellulose fibers, which makes them biodegradable and compostable - both in industrial plants and through home composting. The raw material for this is beechwood, which is sourced from sustainable forestry companies in Austria and neighboring countries - so the nets are truly regional products.
Historically, sustainable packaging was primarily in demand for high-quality organic and regional products. "For some time, however, we have also seen a strong trend towards sustainable packaging solutions in the conventional market. If you have better, more sustainable packaging, why deprive particular product groups from it? Customers are demanding a holistic rethink."
The Botanic Nets / Source: Lenzing AG
Plug and Play
Meanwhile, the first Botanic Nets are already in use at the POS of various supermarkets. The Botanic Nets are more expensive than conventional plastic nets, but the difference is still reasonable. Production of the cellulose nets is often 'plug and play', requiring little or no change in the packaging process. For the retail chains themselves, there is another interesting advantage, it is emphasized: "Thanks to Lenzing's Eco Color Technology, we can produce the material in a variety of colors and shades in a resource-saving and food-safe way. This does not require conventional dyeing and the color will be incorporated directly into the fibers during production. This saves on chemicals, energy and costs."
Roland Arbesleitner at the past Bio-Messe Nordic Organic Food Fair in Malmö, Sweden
Partnership should lead to further solutions
The packaging industry is currently in a state of flux, and new ideas are constantly being brought into the market. But that alone is no guarantee for success: ideas must also offer clear and demonstrable advantages over the status quo. Cellulose already has a certain resonance in the food retail sector: in addition to the Botanic Nets, washable multipurpose bags made of the same material have been available at retailer COOP in Switzerland for over a year. These are quite popular. For some time, there has been a similar solution in Austrian REWE markets as well.
The process, from wood to the final product / Source: Lenzing AG
Lenzing AG continues to focus on a few select projects, pursuing them with all necessary zeal. In the packaging sector, they still see a lot of potential. "Nonetheless, it must be noted that Lenzing AG, as a raw materials manufacturer, cannot cover all areas of the packaging industry on its own. Our strategy is therefore to develop new sustainable packaging solutions in cooperation with interested partners."
Segment Manager Packaging
+43 676 7915533
Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic
Head of Business Management Industrial Applications
+43 664 6112551