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Sealed Air hopes JV will see eco-packaging mushroom

By Rory Harrington , 30-Jan-2012
Last updated on 30-Jan-2012 at 13:42 GMT

Sealed Air has announced the creation of a joint venture with the manufacturer of mushroom-based eco-packaging in a bid to boost its global production and market penetration.

The US-based giant said it has teamed up with Ecovative, the company behind EcoCradle mushroom packaging as part of a strategy to accelerate its commercialisation.

The innovative protective packaging, first developed five years ago, is made from agricultural by-products and mushroom roots (mycelium). It has been targeted as a replacement for plastic foam and can be used to as a substitute for moulded or fabricated parts.

It comes from renewable non-food agricultural materials and is home compostable.

Eco-knowledge and supply chain positives

While no details of the deal were released, Sealed Air said it did not expect the transaction to affect its consolidated financial position or results.

The company said it was “excited” to be working with Ecovative and that it would use its resources and packaging know-how to enhance the product offerings, as well as the sales and distributions pipelines.

“This entrepreneurial team has created fundamental material technology, using the unique properties of mycelium, to provide solutions to packaging, as well as other applications,” said Ryan Flanagan, president of the firm’s Protective Packaging business.

He added: “Ecovative has been able to use its science to manipulate material properties, varying density, strength, texture, and appearance to meet different performance needs of a variety of customer applications. Coupling Ecovative’s technology with Sealed Air’s packaging knowledge and infrastructure will allow us to accelerate this innovation to meet our customers’ needs.”

Ecovative CEO Eben Bayer highlighted Sealed Air’s “global sales network, strong packaging design capabilities, and world-class supply chain” as major benefits for his company in the tie-up that would allow its packaging to be produced on a “much larger scale”.

Sealed Air said it operates 35 packaging design and development centres across the world

The company, a leading packaging player, generated total revenues of $7.6bn in 2010 and has approximately 26,000 employees across 175 countries.

Ecovative, founded in 2007, was as a commercial spin-off from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The college, along with 3M Company and the DOEN Foundation, are significant investors in the company.

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