AUSTRALIA – Australian food packaging manufacturer Confoil has partnered with German chemical company BASF to develop a certified compostable, microwave and oven-safe paper tray for ready meals.

The paper tray is coated on the inside with BASF’s ecovio PS 1606, a partly bio-based and certified compostable biopolymer especially developed for coating food packaging made of paper or board.

The trays called DualPakECO are certified according to the Australian standard AS4736-2006 and food contact approved according to international requirements.

They can be used for ready-to-eat meals like lasagne, curries and stir-fries available as cold or frozen in supermarkets as well as for catering and takeaway from restaurants.

The trays offer expanded recycling opportunities for paper-based packaging owing to their organic recyclability.

In addition, they are industrially compostable and can be collected together with organic waste in organic waste bins.

The new packaging solution supports the organic recycling of food leftovers and used food packaging, which means less food waste ends up in landfills or incinerators.

This new ability represents an alternative to conventional PET packaging for ready meals. The joint development represents a shift toward paper-based and compostable packaging materials – in line with the Australian Government’s National Plastics Plan 2025, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.

“We wanted to develop a paper-based food tray that would meet all the requirements of the food industry and at the same time be certified compostable,” says Alison Buxton, Managing Director of Confoil.

“With the certified compostable biopolymer from BASF, we have found the ideal component to expand our portfolio with sustainable solutions and to support our customers in achieving their sustainability goals.”

Composting trials have shown that the trays under Industrial composting conditions break down into water, carbon dioxide and nutrient-rich compost within four to six weeks.

According to Rowan Williams from Market Development Biopolymers at BASF: “Composting is the most resource-efficient process for recycling food waste.

“This packaging solution supports the circular economy, helping to reduce food waste and contaminated food packaging from going to landfill or incineration. In this way, associated greenhouse gas emissions are avoided.”

The increased innovations in the food packaging sector not only make food safe but also ensures sustainability and target a circular economy.

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