Bye bye plastic - Hi cellulose! All about our packaging film

Do you wish for a world without plastic garbage? So do we!

Plastik, plastic, plastique, plástic or 塑料 - We live in a throw-away society in which pollution from plastic waste and microplastics is unfortunately omnipresent. Plastic no longer only contaminates landscapes, waters and soil, but also ourselves. Only recently, researchers have detected residues of tiny plastic particles in human bodies for the first time. Yes, well, plastic is certainly a practical and useful material due to its durability and robustness. What is still lacking, however, is a critical examination by politics and industry of the current disposal problems of plastics and their disastrous consequences for us and our planet. Concrete and effective measures to stem the flood of plastics on a global scale have not yet been implemented either.

We have therefore decided to take matters into our own hands and make our own contribution to reducing plastic waste. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Inspired by Gandhi's wise words, we want to set an example and have developed particularly environmentally friendly packaging alternatives for our products - plastic-free and compostable. In this article you will learn everything you need to know about our packaging film

Did you know...?

...that every German produces an average of about 120kg of plastic waste per year?..that according to current knowledge, plastic can never be completely decomposed by microorganisms? It only decomposes into micro- and later into nano-plastics and therefore often remains in the environment as a disturbing body for up to 500 years or more. 


...that plastics production worldwide has increased twenty-fold since the 1960s from 15 to 322 million tonnes in 2015? With 11.5 million tons, more plastic is used in Germany than in any other European country - and the trend is rising...that in Europe 40% of the total plastic consumption is accounted for by the packaging industry and that packaging films in Germany, with about 38%, make up by far the largest share of the total plastic packaging production? Followed by 16% percent for cups and cans and 12% for pouches and carrier bags.


...that in Germany currently less than 50% of plastic waste is still recycled, i.e. used to manufacture new products? The rest goes to waste incineration plants or is exported.

Our packaging films in detail

  • Mono film
  • 90% Cellulose from FSC and PEFC certified forestry
  • 5% Water
  • 4% Glycerol
  • 1% Binder
  • 100% compostable in about 42 days
  • 0% Plastic
  • 0% chemical substances
  • 0% environmentally hazardous substances

Our environmentally friendly packaging films were developed together with a packaging specialist for our special needs. Our nucao film is a pure cellulose film that decomposes within 42 days under ideal conditions. Our nupro film is a two-layer film laminate consisting of 50% of FSC-certified and GMO-free cellulose and 50% of biopolymers. The inner layer of the biopolymer film is more resilient than the pure cellulose film and thus optimally protects the valuable ingredients. Here too, we use natural and renewable raw materials such as cellulose, starch, acid, sugar as well as natural and synthetic oils. Due to the additional layer of biopolymer, our nupro film takes a little longer to fully compost (about 180 days). However, we do not know of a better alternative so far. The good thing about our packaging: all components are certified compostable, GMO-free and have the Trust mark "PLASTICFREE" from the British environmental organisation "A Plastic Planet" ...to be awarded. They decompose without residue without harming the environment. Thus no waste and no microplastics remain in nature.

  • Two-layer film laminate
  • 50% Cellulose from FSC and PEFC certified forestry
  • 50% Biopolymer of natural raw materials and synthetic oils
  • 100% compostable in about 180 days
  • 0% Plastic
  • 0% chemical substances
  • 0% environmentally hazardous substances

The correct disposal

Ideally, you can dispose of our packaging films in your home compost. Sufficient heat, moisture and micro-organisms are needed so that the film components decompose in the natural biological cycle and are returned directly to nature as valuable materials. All these components are naturally present in a compost, so that under ideal conditions our films can be completely decomposed within about 42 days or 180 days.

You don't have your own compost? No problem, because you can also dispose of our films in the organic waste bin, the residual waste or the yellow bag. However, disposal in the bio bin is not permitted everywhere at present. This is not due to the films themselves, but to the German waste disposal system. In Germany, waste disposal is regulated by the local authorities, which is why the technical possibilities of the local composting plants are responsible for approving the disposal of compostable films. Not every composting plant has the same heat and humidity conditions and every plant also has its own regulations on the maximum time a material may take to decompose completely. In the meantime, a large number of different biodegradable films are in fact in circulation in Germany, which makes it more difficult for waste management companies to recognise the differences and adjust their composting plants accordingly. A large proportion of German composting plants are currently not yet adapted to the correct disposal of compostable films. The films are perceived there as a "disturbing factor" and are sorted out manually, which means an immense effort.

If you dispose of our packaging films via residual waste or the yellow bag, this may not be ideal, but our film is still much more environmentally friendly than conventional plastic packaging films, as no harmful gases or substances are produced during incineration and are released into the environment.

The better energy balance: plastic vs. cellulose

We are often asked whether a cellulose film, which may be produced at great expense, does not have a worse energy balance than plastic, because a much smaller quantity of plastic can be used for the same application. In fact, biobased plastics do better than new fossil-based plastics in rankings on "CO2 emissions" (climate protection) and "fossil energy consumption" (conservation of finite resources).

Because if you assume that a large part of the plastic produced worldwide is released into the environment (which obviously happens with 8 million tons of plastic that land in the oceans every year alone) and you want to prevent and reverse this, you have to think about the energy expenditure involved - and it is gigantic. Energetically speaking, it is always a catastrophe when external effects have to be reversed. If the manufacturers themselves had to ensure that plastic waste that is released into the environment through them is removed again, then probably hardly anyone would sell it because it would be an enormous effort and very expensive! Another problem is composite materials. Plastic alone does not have perfect properties for the food industry and often requires a layer of aluminium. To recycle these composite materials is hardly possible and therefore even less than 50% of the plastic is recycled in Germany.

This is simpler with cellulose film. Although even this is not yet perfect, there is currently no more environmentally friendly film in the overall assessment, only NO packaging would be better. The portion of the film that could potentially end up in the environment decomposes gradually without leaving any residue - in contrast to plastic, which will continue to lie around as waste for 500 years or more or, as nanoplastic, will migrate through biomembranes and penetrate our cells. (If this is not a frightening thought!)

Even if bio-based plastic packaging such as cellulose film still accounts for a very small share of the total packaging market, in the long term there are numerous possibilities to produce it on a large scale from sustainable raw materials and energy-efficiently from agricultural, residual and waste materials or even algae. What is important now is better cooperation between industry and politics, but also between packaging producers and the disposal companies. Because only through dialogue and compromise can the phasing out of the plastic mania and a comprehensive reorientation towards compostable packaging succeed in the near future. We'll do it - are you with us? #letsgrowtogether

Sources:
https://biowerkstoffe.fnr.de/fileadmin/allgemein/images/veranstaltungen/biokunststoffe_2018/Biobasierte_KS-Bilderbuch-final.pdf
https://www.faz.net/aktuell/generation-plastik/generation-plastik-wie-gut-recycelt-deutschland-wirklich-15782613.html
https://www.global2000.at/plastik
https://www.nachhaltigkeitneudenken.org/2013/04/biokunststoffe/
https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/daten/ressourcen-abfall/verwertung-entsorgung-ausgewaehlter-abfallarten/altpapier#textpart-5
https://www.verycompostable.com/categories/material/
https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/plastikmuell-133.htm