Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
BASF, Schuster Developing Greaseproof, Recyclable Cardboard for Fast Food Packaging

BASF and recycled cardboard company Schuster have announced they are working on a solution for a combined migration and grease barrier on recycled cardboard.

The biopolymer ecovio® PS 1606 is applied to recycled cardboard in an extrusion coating process. This enables the proportion of recycled paper fibers in fast food packaging to be increased while simultaneously making it industrially compostable. The polymer coating applied to the cardboard is several times thinner than a human hair, but provides the packaging with good protection against potential migration of undesired substances while also offering high greaseproofness and liquid tightness. This cardboard is more than 90 percent biobased, recyclable and industrially compostable.

The use of recycled cardboard for fast food packaging is often limited by the fact that substances can migrate from the packaging into the food. Many printing inks contain mineral oils, plasticizers or even residues of UV printing ink components. Printing ink residues often remain because they are not removed completely when recycling the paper fibers. When these substrates are used for food packaging, residues can migrate from the cardboard into the food, particularly when the foods are packaged hot or if they are greasy or liquid. This is why fast food packaging has so far been produced mainly from fresh fiber materials.

In October, BASF announced a strategic manufacturing partnership with Heritage Plastics, Inc. to produce the chemical company’s ecovio® compostable bioplastic products in North America. The partnership enables BASF to expand manufacturing of its ecovio biopolymers, which are currently only produced in Europe. ecovio production will begin immediately at the Heritage facility in Picayune, Mississippi.

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BASF’s ecovio products offer a versatile range of compounded polymer solutions that contain renewable, biobased materials; offer excellent processability and physical properties; and are certified compostable worldwide. Applications have included plastic films such as organic waste bags, dual-use bags (first for shopping, then for organic waste) and agricultural films, as well as compostable packaging solutions such as paper-lamination, shrink films, foam packaging and injection-molding products.

Earlier this year, BASF announced it developed a versatile, high-performance polyamide called Ultramid®, derived from renewable raw materials. The company said it replaces up to 100 percent of the fossil-based resources used at the beginning of the integrated production process with certified biomass.

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