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Sustainable polyethyelene made from sugarcane debuts in Europe

Dutch potato supplier Schaap Holland adopts packaging made of Coveris’ Green PE.

The carbon footprint is one of the most important topics for the future of the packaging industry. Not only are environmentally conscious consumers increasingly giving preference to packaging produced by energy-efficient means, self-regulation by food and packaging manufacturers in relation to sustainability is bringing the search for environmentally-compatible packaging solutions into focus.

Companies facing international competition cannot miss this development, and need to act now. The Dutch quality potato supplier, Schaap Holland, is one of the manufacturers that have already completed the move to Green PE in conjunction with Coveris. The company supplies the processing industry and the trade in the Netherlands and abroad with numerous types of products. In this sector, exacting demands are placed on freshness, durability and appearance, in particular regarding pre-processed potato products. However, manufacturers and consumers also attach importance to protecting nature as the basis of a good product.

Green PE is a polyethylene type made of sugarcane and combines numerous advantages – for the environment, processing manufacturers and ultimate consumers. The sugarcane used to create Green PE is cultivated in clearly defined regions of Brazil with consideration given to protecting the rainforests.

Cultivating sugarcane is, in itself, considerably more energy-efficient, including in terms of water use and consumption, than fossil fuels. If one considers the entire cultivation and manufacturing period, according to Espaço ECO Foundation Green PE absorbs about 2.5 tons of pollutant CO2 per ton from the air – while by comparison according to Plastics Europe, PE produced with petrochemicals emits about 2.1 tons of CO2.

For the manufacturers of food and non-food products, such a positive carbon footprint and associated competitive edge are not the only up sides. In that respect it is crucial that Green PE can be smoothly incorporated in the existing production and recycling processes as a drop-in solution. That is quick and cost-efficient. PE manufactured from regenerative raw materials can be processed, printed and recycled using the same processes that are already in place for the petrochemical PE.

Coveris, which has branches in 21 countries and generates sales of USD 2.5 billion, is the sixth largest manufacturer of packaging solutions worldwide and is increasingly looking to Green PE for the future. By doing so, Coveris offers its customers an alternative to conventional polyethylene, which can be used for all compound foil. All foils of Coveris made of Green PE are DIN Certco certified, and packaging made of Green PE is eligible to carry the “I’m green” logo.

 Markets are increasingly calling for products that meet these criteria, and consumers are becoming more sensitive about nature and the environment. A resource-saving approach to the environment, raw materials and end products can soon become a crucial criterion for companies’ survival in the market. It is already a competitive edge. Coveris wants to adopt this approach jointly with its customers – worldwide. 

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