Avantium has announced a collaboration with Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn to help it transition to a more sustainable packaging alternative for its own-brand products.

The effort involves Avantium, a technology company with a focus on sustainable chemistry, offering its polyethylene furanoate (PEF) solution for manufacturing different types of packaging for the retailer.

According to Avantium, PEF is a 100% plant-based and circular polymer that can be fully recycled. It has superior barrier properties that allow brands and companies to extend the shelf life of their beverages and food.

This PEF material can be used for a wide range of applications, including manufacturing bottles and packaging.

Currently, Avantium is in the process of commencing operations at its commercial PEF plant.

Once the plant becomes operational, the PEF solution will be used for manufacturing a new fruit juice bottle for Heijn.

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The PEF-made bottle will be produced by Refresco, a beverage solutions provider for global, national, and emerging brands and retailers.

Avantium claimed that this will be the first PEF-made product to be introduced across a supermarket chain’s own-brand products.

Avantium CEO Tom van Aken said: “With Albert Heijn as a partner, Avantium can further scale up and expand the PEF value chain to meet the growing global demand for circular and renewable material solutions.”

Avantium’s commercial PEF plant is being set up in Delfzijl, the Netherlands.

The plant will have the capacity to manufacture five kilotons of furandicarboxylic acid, which is a key building block for chemicals and plastics such as PEF.

The commercial production process at the Delfzijl site is expected to commence in the second half of 2024.

Heijn CEO Marit van Egmond added: “From the mission ‘Together we make eating better the easy choice. For everyone.’, Albert Heijn wants to pass on a liveable earth to future generations.

“To make that possible, one of our goals is to make packaging more sustainable. Besides packaging reduction, recyclability and reuse, fossil-free materials are high on our wish list. With the use of PEF, we are giving substance to this.”

In August 2022, Brazil’s Ambev signed an offtake agreement to purchase Avantium’s recyclable PEF material in order to make bottles for soft drinks.