Producing, protecting, preserving the taste and quality of foodstuffs while reducing the overall environmental impact: this is the commitment made by Novamont which, for the very first time at the Fruit Logistica fair in Berlin, is using its biodegradable and compostable materials to offer a range of products that goes from the field to the table.
The new applications made of Mater-Bi® for the transport and preservation of foodstuffs form part of an innovative range which, by using bioplastics from the field to the table, reduces energy consumption and post-consumption waste and lessens the impact on the environment.
Mater-Bi®, the bioplastic developed by Novamont, is fully biodegradable and naturally compostable, and contains renewable resources of agricultural origin. It can be used to develop various economically and environmentally sustainable solutions in specific applications from agriculture to food packaging and catering.
In the field: agricultural mulching, and more…
Over 3.6 million tonnes of traditional plastic are used in agriculture worldwide each year (Source: AMI 2009). Mulch film, for example, accounts for around 40% of this use and has to be removed and disposed of at the end of its brief life cycle.
Biodegradable mulch film made of Mater-Bi® reduces labour costs and biodegrades into the soil without any harmful effects, totally dispensing with the economic and environmental costs associated with the collection and disposal of traditional film. Mater-Bi® mulch film is also certified as “OK Biodegradable Soil” issued by the international certification body Vincotte.
According to an LCA (REF?) and environmental impact analysis, the use of mulch film made of Mater-Bi® reduces the CO2 eq by 49% for each hectare of soil mulched. This percentage can rise to 73% in the event of non-compliance with the regulations on disposing of traditional plastic material.
Other applications of Mater-Bi® in agriculture:
- Ecodian pheromone dispensers for the sexual disorientation of the main insects found in orchards, developed by Isagro Spa and marketed by Isagro Italia. The technique of sexual disorientation with Ecodian allows a significant reduction in the use of insecticides, safeguards useful insects and can be adapted to suit all integrated defence and biological programmes. The pheromone in the dispensers is completely used up during the season and, since the dispensers are biodegradable and compostable, they do not have to be collected at the end of the campaign
- clips, hooks and other supports manufactured by BATO and used in greenhouse cultivation to support tomatoes, peppers and other crops. At the end of the crop cycle, plant residues and biodegradable products can be composted together.
At the supermarket: food packaging
The use of biodegradable and compostable packaging for the preservation and transport of foodstuffs can be a useful tool to maximise the recovery and recycling of material through composting, with enormous benefits in terms of environmental sustainability, especially with products which have a very short shelf-life. Novamont, working together with its partners, has developed a number of different applications in the food packaging sector:
- Packaging made of Second Generation Mater-Bi for the IV range of salads: ideal for preserving fresh produce and giving it a longer shelf-life while limiting the environmental impact.
- New packaging nets: produced with Tenax Spa, these are fully biodegradable and compostable yet still provide the same strength characteristics as traditional nets. They can be disposed of along with organic waste, bringing a substantial reduction in environmental impact and in the quantity of post-consumption waste. The nets were tried out for the first time during the 2010 “Salone del Gusto” for the packaging of the Slow Food Presidia, and received the award for the best packaging of the Presidia.
- NaturellySeda: the Seda product range is made of paper and a special coating grade of Mater-Bi®. NaturellySeda products can be recycled and also composted after use. They have also been awarded ‘OK Compost’ certification by the International institute Vincotte, which certifies the full compostability of a product when subject to an industrial composting process.
On the table: biodegradable tableware
The product range is completed on the table with clingfilm and disposable biodegradable and compostable tableware made of Mater-Bi®:
- Tableware: an LCA (REF) has revealed that CO2 emissions can be cut by at least 250 gr for every kg of organic waste that is sent for composting rather than ending up in landfills or incinerated. In practice, using 1,000 Mater-Bi® place settings which are then composted will lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions equal to around 38 kg. Furthermore, the use of Mater-Bi® translates into a lower consumption of energy since it is made of raw materials from renewable resources
- Novamont’s first industrial clingfilm: biodegradable and compostable, it can be used for any kind of foodstuff, even food that has a high fat content or that is acidic. After use it can be disposed of as organic waste
- Ice cream tubs and teaspoons: in all its outlets Grom has chosen to use the new biodegradable and compostable teaspoons made of Mater-Bi, bin bags and shopping bags that can be re-used for the separate collection of organic waste.
Source: Novamont S.p.A, press release, 2011-02-08.