Clear thinking on yogurt packaging
By Canadian Packaging StaffSustainability Arcil Clear Lam Packaging EarthClear NatureWorks LLC Stonyfield Farm
New yogurt containers are made primarily from corn-based, Ingeo PLA (polylactic acid) polymers and are a replacement for the traditional petroleum-based polystyrene plastic.
Environmental sustainability is nothing new for folks at the Londonberry, N.H.-based Stonyfield Farm, which has been producing organic, all-natural yogurt since 1983, but using bioplastic materials to package its popular, bestselling flagship brands—employing an Arcil form-fill-seal (F/F/S) packaging machine—may well be the opening of an exciting new chapter for the North American yogurt industry.
Developed by the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Clear Lam Packaging, Inc. as a replacement for the traditional petroleum-based polystyrene plastic, the new EarthClear multipack yogurt cups—now being used to package the company’s roBaby, YoToddler, YoKids, B-Healthy, B-Well, Probiotic and O’Soy brands—are made primarily (93 per cent) from the corn-based, Ingeo PLA (polylactic acid) polymers produced by the leading bioresins manufacturer NatureWorks LLC, with Stonyfield also launching an ‘offset’ program to produce a sustainably grown amount of corn equal to the amount used to make the cups.
“Stonyfield Farm has invested significantly in finding innovative new packaging alternatives that reduce our dependency on oil and other finite resources, and we’re thrilled that Clear Lam was able to offer an industry-leading packaging solution to help support their sustainable packaging initiatives,” says Clear Lam Packaging president James Sanfilippo, citing a recent Tellus Institute study showing that using renewable raw materials to produce packaging requires about half the energy used to make petroleum-based packaging, while also reducing the GHG (greenhouse gas) emission generated during the manufacturing process by 48 per cent.
Featuring a ‘Made from Plants’ stamp on the bottom of each cup, the new formed PLA yogurt containers are also claimed to be stronger and more impact-resistant than those made from the polystyrene plastic the plant-based they have replace, according to Clear Lam, which is one of the world’s largest extruders and thermoformers of the plant-based Ingeo PLA biopolymers—produced at the NatureWorks manufacturing plant in Blair, Neb.