Canadian Packaging

Compostable Film A Hit For Organic Tea Packer


November 28, 2008
by Canadian Packaging Staff

When your calling card is selling the most organically pure product you can get your hands on, sustainable and eco-friendly packaging for that product is must—as it was for a California-based distributor of organic tea products.

Founded by Alex Pryor and David Karr in 1997, Guayaki’s fast-growing Yerba Mate line of tea-like beverages—marketed as a healthier alternative to coffee—combines the leaves and tender stems of a tree, native to the subtropical rainforests of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, to create an aromatic blend of antioxidants and caffeine, according to the company, which uses some of its proceeds to support various rainforest preservation measures.

So when the company recently decided to switch its packaging to improve shelf-life properties, recalls Guayaki’s creative director Steven Karr, it naturally had a vested interest in choosing the ‘greenest’ package available.

“We chose to transition our packaging from plastic bags to foil bags in order to use the most effective moisture and flavor barrier for maximizing freshness,” Karr recalls, explaining the company’s selection of biodegradable NatureFlex films from the U.K.-headquartered Innovia Films Ltd. to create the new packages.

“We were delighted to find that NatureFlex satisfies those specific technical needs, as well as our ‘Green’ mission and ideals without significantly raising our packaging costs.”

The final packaging structure for the product is made from metallized NatureFlex NM laminated to the high-gloss, transparent NatureFlex NVS film—a cellulose-based film manufactured from renewable wood pulp and metallized in-house.

Said to be the only metallized biodegradable film suitable for home composting—due to the relatively miniscule metal content levels (below 0.02 per cent) that slow down the film’s degradation by just a few days—the NatureFlex film is formulated to ensure good dimensional stability and inherent anti-static properties, according to Innovia.

Also highly resistant to oils and greases, while providing a good barrier to gases and aromas, the film can be printed using solvent-based, water-based or UV inks, with its controlled slip properties ensuring easier conversion.

“The printability of the bags is wonderful,” notes Karr, “and they also have an appealing texture.”

According to Innovia’s Malcolm Cohn, market manager for the Americas region, all NatureFlex films—constructed entirely from wood pulp sourced from managed plantations from referenced suppliers boasting FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or equivalent accreditation—are certified to meet both the European EN13432 and the U.S. ASTM D6400 standards for compostable packaging, offering renewable bio-based content of about 95 per cent of the material weight.