At PackExpo, one of the few shows large enough to fill multiple floors in both enormous McCormick Place Halls in Chicago, the floor focused on packaging materials seems something like an ecological convention. Growing concern about the volume of waste going into landfills is driving material providers to focus on packaging materials that decompose more rapidly or reduce the amount of materials used in packages.
One focus is to replace long-lasting materials like aluminum foil with paper. StoraEnso, a Finnish company with U.S. headquarters in Stevens Point, WI, is announcing its Multiflex, a barrier paper that it says can be used on yogurt lids and other applications that now often use foils. A polymer barrier coating holds in aromas, oxygen and moisture, yet it decomposes at nearly the same rate as untreated paper, a spokesman says.
Eliminating the lamination step used to protect printing on plastics and other materials is the focus of Pliant Corp. The Schaumburg, IL, vendor has a film that is cured by electron beams after the package has been printed. The beam creates a protective layer over the ink, eliminating the weight of the lamination layer.
ďThis is generally less expensive, we have one step instead of the two-step lamination that many companies use, a spokesman says.
Elsewhere on the floor, Polinas, a Turkish manufacturer with U.S. headquarters in Fort Lee, NJ, is unveiling a biodegradable polypropylene bag designed for bagged salads and other fresh produce applications. Along with its environmental qualities, it has an anti-fogging capability so consumers can see the produce clearly.