Compostable films are still way off mainstream prices

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Dutch company Pulve uses TIPA's compostable films for its packs
Dutch company Pulve uses TIPA's compostable films for its packs

Related tags: European union, Chief executive, Uk

The range of fully-compostable films just launched in the UK by Israeli company TIPA illustrates the challenge facing the latest generation of biodegradables.

Film performance and tailored options may now be much closer to traditional polymers, but the scale of production still means that pricing remains too high for most applications.

“The main question for us has been the ability to provide 100% compostable films that can be disposed of as organic waste,”​ said chief executive Daphna Nissenbaum.

'Platform of packaging solutions'

“Over the last six years, we have developed a platform of packaging solutions typically aiming to replace polyethylene and polypropylene-based structures.

“We are focusing on the mainstream rather than niche applications.”

But she also said the company worked with premium brands, where the price differential on the packaging was only a small proportion of the total cost of the product.

“Three-times the price of a conventional film would be the most a customer would pay,”​ she said. “It might be one-and-a-half times or twice the price.”

'Fully-compostable components'

Nissenbaum would not disclose the materials’ composition. “We have different combinations of feedstock from renewable resources, including inedible plants, with fossil-based but fully-compostable components,” ​she said.

The different compounds may range from 30% to more than 50% renewable, she added.

She claimed TIPA’s materials offer better strength and transparency than other compostables.

“On gas barrier, we can offer properties equal to or better than conventional films,”​ she said. “Moisture barrier is the challenge we are now working on.”

Applications to date include fresh produce, snacks and stand-up pouches, with laminates for coffee at the pilot stage.

The materials, which can carry the EU’s ‘seedling’ logo, are manufactured in Germany, converted in Europe and Israel, and currently available in the UK, France, the Netherlands and the US.

TIPA will exhibit at the PPMA Total Show later this month at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.

Related topics: Packaging materials

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