Innovia Films’ biodegradable, compostable and flexible packaging material, NatureFlex™ is an integral part of a packaging first for an Australian gingerbread biscuit producer.
Based in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Gingerbread Folk is the brainchild of former architect, turned biscuit-maker, Karen Sharman and her husband, Dominic Mason. Two years ago they decided to make their gingerbread business as sustainable as possible from the sourcing of the ingredients through to the packaging.
The NatureFlex™ pack used for the Gingerbread Folk range of biscuits is the first of its kind in Australia to be certified compostable and carries the ‘seedling’ logo to confirm this. To be certified the material must undergo a stringent test regime, carried out by independent accredited laboratories only, in order to confirm that their inclusion will have no negative effect on soil or compost quality.
NatureFlex™ was an obvious solution for the packaging as the film begins life as a natural product – wood and breaks down in a home compost bin (or industrial compost environment) within a matter of weeks – yet also offers advantages for packing and converting such as inherent deadfold and anti-static properties, high gloss and transparency, resistance to grease and oil, good barrier to gases and aromas and a wide heat-seal range.
Outlining why Gingerbread Folk opted for NatureFlex™, Karen said, “We were looking for environmentally sound packaging to compliment our all natural gingerbread and ethical business philosophy. We tried many films but loved the look and feel of NatureFlex™ and found the material’s properties the most suitable for our purposes. The key factor was home-compostability because we wanted to show the Australian public that it was OK to put these bags in their own home compost bins.”
All NatureFlex™ films are cellulose based, derived from renewable wood pulp and are certified to meet both the European EN13432 and American ASTM D6400 standards for compostable packaging. The wood-pulp is sourced from managed plantations from referenced suppliers operating Good Forestry principals (FSC or equivalent). NatureFlex™ films typically have a renewable biobased content of some 95% by weight of material.
Packsys, an Australian based company, is the converter of the NatureFlex™ film in this application and achieved the certified compostable status for the Gingerbread Folk pack. Clive Jacobs of Packsys said, “Being one of the first Australasian companies to achieve the DinCertco certification shows our commitment to compostable packaging. As a plastic packaging converter we have an obligation and responsibility to promote and advise our customers of the compostable and sustainable substrates available.
NatureFlex™ out of all the available materials suits itself extremely well to automated production like flow-wrapping or bag making. The material requires very little machine adjustment and can run in harmony with conventional materials through the same machine. NatureFlex™ is also a very easy material to print and convert. Speeds are not reduced so conversion costs remain on par with other substrates.”