A French tea producer is the latest company to embrace biodegradable packaging.
French tea producer Le Dauphin's said this week it will use Treofan's Biophan as wrapping for its paper tea cartons.
The use of packaging like Biophan is part of a growing trend by processors to move away from oil-based packaging towards biodegradable plastics made from a variety of plants, in the main corn.
The demand for environmentally-friendly packaging is being driven by consumers and recycling regulations. Some companies are predicting that the market will grow by about 20 per cent a year.
Biophan offers the polythene properties of high gloss, transparency and low sealing temperature with water vapor permeability and biodegradability. It is printable, resistant to oil and fat and alcohol and is thermoformable, which makes it suitable for packaging of foods.
The packaging material is made from polylactic acid (PLA), a corn-based polymer developed by US-based NatureWorks, a unit of Cargill.
Treofan is now developing metallized, white and opaque versions of its PLA-based Biophan for the wider market, said the company. Biophan is approved for food contact in Europe and the US.
Treofan is headquartered in Raunheim, Germany. Along with Biophan, the company also manufactures Treofan biaxial oriented polypropylene film (BOPP) and cast polypropylene film.
The company currently manufacturing about 250,000 tonnes of film a year at seven sites located around the world.
The trend towards non-oil based packaging is being pushed by the escalating price of oil. The price rises are bringing traditional petroleum based polymers into the same range as the previously more expensive non-oil based packaging.
Food packagers last year faced price hikes of between 30 per cent to 80 per cent for conventional plastics due to the increased cost of petroleum. With the increases some bioplastics products reached full price competitiveness with the traditional oil-based packaging.