BASF’s new extrusion coating from the ecovio range is suitable for food packaging. (Image: BASF)
Compostable coating for food-safe paper packaging
Paper is not always the first choice for food packaging – particularly when the food contains liquid or fatty ingredients. That is because packaging must satisfy specific barrier requirements, which is not always possible with fibre-based materials. But there is a general desire to move away from plastic towards paper packaging.
BASF has expanded its portfolio to be able to address this demand. The new ecovio 70 PS14H6 extrusion coating is suitable for paper and cardboard packaging and thus already meets consumers’ growing calls for such packaging. The company says that the new coating allows packaging for hot and cold foods to be composted both industrially and at home.
Barrier protection is the be-all and end-all of food
Where packaging comes into contact with liquid or fatty products, barrier protection is essential. The new extrusion coating sets itself apart because it provides good protection against liquids, oils, fats and mineral oils. It is also suitable for use with hot and cold products as it is resistant to boiling-water temperatures of up to 100°C.
The new ecovio 70 PS14H6 coating may therefore be used for paper-based solutions like cups, other containers for dairy products, paper wrappers for sandwiches and cereal bars , confectionery and snack trays as well as takeaway cups for hot and cold drinks and soups. These many applications utilise different types of paper. Good adhesion to different materials is therefore essential here.
Paper and cardboard types of packaging are becoming increasingly popular but they must also provide the necessary barrier protection. (Image: BASF)
Additional barrier properties may be achieved with single or multilayer extrusion – and without the use of adhesives. Also important for cost-effectiveness: The company says that the new extrusion-coating process reaches a speed that is comparable to that achieved with polyethylene (PE). Depending on the application and the equipment, coating weights similar to those reached with PE may also be realised – which means that very thin coatings are possible. The biopolymer also scores points with its sealing and printing properties and because it does not stick to the cooling roll.
Raw materials stay within the cycle
Today's consumers are increasingly concerned with what happens to packaging and materials after use and whether they remain within the cycle. Packaging coated with the new ecovio type can, according to the company, be composted either industrially or at home after use, in accordance with national regulations. The biopolymer is thus said to contribute to organic recycling and to closing the nutrient cycle.
"The certification for composting both in home and industrial settings means that our new ecovio has broadened the options available for the recycling of paper-based packaging. There’s a major trend in society away from plastic to paper packaging; a trend that’s also being driven by corresponding legislation in some countries. But paper packaging as such is unsuitable for many foods, particularly foods that contain liquid or fatty ingredients. We’re able to offer a stable yet sustainable packaging solution for hot, cold and frozen foods that is able to withstand temperatures that range from -40 to +100 °C."
Michael Bernhard Schick, Global Marketing Biopolymers at BASF.
Biopolymer for different applications
The ecovio portfolio is also suitable for films, e.g. bag or mulch films that are used in agriculture. (Image: BASF)
ecovio delivers additional benefits for users where production, packaging and the shelf life of food is concerned, as well as the collection of food waste. The decisive factor here is the material’s certified biodegradability – both in industrial and home composting or on agricultural land. This also helps the environment by, for example, reducing food waste. In the spirit of a circular economy, nutrients are also returned to the soil.