When a New South Wales gingerbread biscuit producer needed biodegradable, compostable, and flexible packaging, it chose a new material from Innovia Films called NatureFlex.Based in the Blue Mountains, Gingerbread Folk is the brainchild of architect turned biscuit-maker, Karen Sharman, and her husband Dominic Mason. Two years ago, they decided to make their gingerbread business as sustainable as possible, from the sourcing of the ingredients through to the packaging.
Sharman says, "We were looking for environmentally sound packaging to complement our all natural gingerbread and ethical business philosophy. We tried many films but loved the look and feel of NatureFlex and found the material's properties the most suitable for our purposes. The key factor was home-compostability because we wanted to show the Australian public that it was OK to put these bags in their own home compost bins."
Innovia Films believes the pack used for the Gingerbread Folk range of biscuits is the first of its kind in Australia to be certified compostable and carries the ‘seedling’ logo to confirm this. To achieve certification the material undergoes a test regime, carried out by independent accredited laboratories. This confirms that its inclusion will have no negative effect on soil or compost quality.
The company says that the film meets both the European EN13432 and American ASTM D6400 standards for compostable packaging. Cellulose based, it derives from renewable wood pulp, which is sourced from managed plantations using referenced suppliers, operating good forestry principles such as FSC or equivalent.
Claiming a renewable bio-based content of some 95% by weight of material, the film breaks down in a home compost bin (or industrial compost environment) within a matter of weeks. The company says it offers other advantages for packing and converting including inherent dead fold and anti-static properties, high gloss and transparency, resistance to grease and oil, good barrier to gases and aromas, and a wide heat-seal range.
Clive Jacobs of Packsys, the company that converted the film and achieved the certified compostable status for the Gingerbread Folk pack, says, “As a plastic packaging converter, and one of the first Australasian companies to achieve the DinCertco certification, Packsys has an obligation and responsibility to promote and advise our customers of the compostable and sustainable substrates available. NatureFlex suits itself extremely well to automated production like flow-wrapping or bag making. The material requires very little machine adjustment and can run in harmony with conventional materials through the same machine. It is also a very easy material to print and convert. Speeds are not reduced so conversion costs remain on par with other substrates.”