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Safe and sustainable

A smiling woman behind a table with several colourful paper bags on it

Francesca Zanovello, GrammaPlastic

Europeans on average produce 190 kilos of packaging waste per person per year. In order to reduce this amount the EU has recently agreed new regulations. They include targeting a 20 per cent reduction in plastic packaging by the year 2040. Among the measures to achieve this are a ban on thin plastic bags for loose produce, unless required for hygiene reasons or preventing food waste. From 2030 all packaging must be recyclable.

On the stand of GammaPlastic (Halle 4.2, A02), customer adviser Francesca Zanovello demonstrates that brightly coloured sustainable paper packaging can look good too. The company has its own team designing motifs. These are especially in demand when grapes and cherries are in season. But it is not only paper bags which can be recycled. The product range also includes carrier bags and cardboard trays with a compostable plastic lid. Francesca Zanovello has observed a growing demand for recyclable materials, particularly from customers in Austria and France. She believes the reason is national waste prevention regulations which EU law wants to harmonise in the long term.

Innovative packaging

The numerous innovations companies are presenting at FRUIT LOGISTICA Spotlight also indicate a shift towards paper. Thus Vilpak (Hall 21, Stand C-24 ) is exhibiting a paper tray for lettuces, fruit and vegetables at FRUIT LOGISTICA 2024, a first on the world stage. The contents stay fresh and are visually appealing. MULTIVAC TopWRAP™ (Hall 2.1, Stand A-10) is designed specifically for handling mushrooms. The company’s cardboard trays with transparent cellulose labelling are completely plastic-free. Even with foil labels that use packaging windows, the plastic ratio is no more than ten per cent. After use, the packaging elements can be sorted into their respective recycling bins. Cartomat (Hall 2.1, Stand C-11) uses hemp as part of its packaging. The fibres from the pest-resistant plant can be recycled multiple times and improve the paper quality. carto hemp craftpaper® is resistant to tension, tearing and moisture.

Eco-friendly packaging is also the focus of scientific research. This was underlined in a lecture given at the Future Lab by Vinay Kumar, research team leader at the VTT Technical Research Center Finland, on his F3 Films for Future project. Together with his team and the support of numerous industry partners, he is working on a bio-degradable cellulose film, which could potentially replace the foil used for covering carboard trays and be recycled together – a boost for the company and environment all at once.