Metallic compostable pack may herald green drink development

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coffee

Recent developments in ‘metallised’ compostable packaging, developed in cooperation with a US drinks group, may lead to further advances for global use in beverage products like coffees and tea, claims the material supplier.

Innovia Films says the extended applications of its NatureFlex material, which provides a home-biodegradable standard of laminated film, has allowed US-based group Guayaki to combine both the barrier properties of metallic foil with compostability.

A company spokesperson told that by adapting the packaging for use with Guayaki’s Yerba Mate brand, which is a tea-like beverage, it is now possible to use the NatureFlex material with other products that require product freshness and sustainable wrapping.

“Until recently, biodegradable films have lacked the moisture and gas barrier properties to successfully wrap coffee,” ​stated the spokesperson. “However, these films, [together with] new grades soon to be launched, will indeed provide the required barrier properties to make wrapping coffee in NatureFlex a definite possibility.”

Bag design

According to Innovia, the new cellulose-based bag packaging supplied to Guayaki combines two different compostable films in a bid to meet the company’s requirements for greener packaging with a strong barrier content.

These materials include the Natureflex NM product, which contains 0.02 per cent metal, laminated onto the glossy transparent NatureFlex NVS film, the company said.

Testing metal

Innovia claims that the small metal content of the package makes the product suitable for home composting along with the other pack materials, though it is modified enough to ensure high moisture barrier rates to protect the product inside. According to the company, the transmission rate of the packaging barrier is less than 10g/m²/day at 38 degrees Celsius, 90 per cent relative humidity (RH).

The group stressed that the metallic content of the packaging did slow degradation down by a few days, but did not have any other major impacts on the pack’s functionality or design.

“NatureFlex has good dimensional stability, inherent anti-static properties, is resistant to oils and greases while providing a good barrier to gases and aromas,”​ the company stated. “The film has a high level of ink receptivity and can be printed using solvent based, water based or UV inks.”

Compost standard

Originally designed for use with products like chocolate covered-goji berry snacks, the group spokesperson said the new pack had been designed to comply with international standards like the European EN13432 and American ASTM D6400 distinctions.

These certifications for compostability, according to the group, can ensure a international roll out for similar products; however, actual green claims that can be attributed to the packaging may vary between different markets, the spokesperson added.

Innovia Films claims that it is already working with a number of companies on providing NatureFlex in various forms for use with beverage products like teas.

“We have several companies - small and large - throughout the world which use our speciality packaging films in the beverage industry,”​ stated the spokesperson. “They use our clear films for overwrapping teaboxes. In addition some are also using our metallised films for flow wrapping teabags as the inner wrap.”

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