Sealed Air Corporation (NYSE: SEE) is investing in capacity at its Simpsonville, S.C. facility to produce plant-based food packaging. This facility will be the first in North America to produce materials made from Plantic™ plant-based resin and post-consumer plastic. Simpsonville is one of the world’s largest packaging plants with over 1,000 employees and 1.4 million square feet of operations. Packaging materials and systems for food and consumer products are currently manufactured at this location.
In June 2018, Sealed Air and Kuraray America, Inc. (Kuraray), a specialty materials company with headquarters in Japan, entered into an agreement to offer Plantic materials to package perishable foods such as poultry, beef and seafood in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Sealed Air’s planned capital investment of $24 million is underway and production is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2020. To support this work, Kuraray is investing approximately $15 million to install plant-based high barrier resin production and supporting capabilities in Houston, Texas. Kuraray’s resin plant is scheduled to be completed at the end of September 2019 and will begin operating in early 2020.
“This collaborative effort with Kuraray expands our ability to deliver innovative, sustainable food packaging solutions that leave our world, environment and communities better than we found them,” said Ted Doheny, Sealed Air President and CEO. “This investment also helps us reach our commitment to deliver 100% recyclable or reusable packaging offerings, and 50% average recycled content across all packaging solutions by 2025.”
As upgrades to both facilities progress, Sealed Air, under the agreement with Kuraray, will continue to serve customers in North America by importing materials from Plantic Australia. The investment positions both companies for strategic growth in the Americas as demand for sustainable materials continues to increase.
“Kuraray continues to pioneer proprietary technology to develop new fields of business, grow globally and improve the environment,” stated Katsumasa Yamaguchi, General Manager of the Global EVAL Division. “We are looking forward to this collaborative investment with Sealed Air which allows us to produce and offer a high-performing plant-based packaging option to the food industry on a much larger scale.”
About Sealed Air
Sealed Air partners with customers to solve their most critical packaging challenges with innovative solutions that leave our world, environment, and communities better than we found them. Our portfolio of widely recognized brands includes Cryovac® food packaging and Bubble Wrap® protective packaging which respectively enable a safer, more efficient food supply chain and protect valuable goods shipped around the world. Sealed Air generated $4.7 billion in sales in 2018 and has approximately 15,500 employees who serve customers in 123 countries.
Founded in 1926 in Kurashiki, Japan, Kuraray Co., Ltd. is a world leader in performance-based polymer and synthetic chemistry technologies, including resins, chemical, fibers, and textiles. It was the first entity in the world to bring ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) polymers to market. The company operates 19 subsidiaries around the world, including Kuraray America, Inc., which is headquartered in Houston. The U.S. division is a world leader in barrier polymer material with products like EVAL™ EVOH and PLANTIC™, a bio-based polymer with barrier properties.