Green Packaging

Graz Packaging Centre’s (Verpackungszentrum Graz) award-winning biodegradable net tubes were developed in collaboration with Lenzing AG, Borckenstein, and the farm produce association Marchfeldgemüse. Lenzing Modal cellulose fibres are manufactured from beech wood, which is harvested as a by-product when thinning forests. The Austrian Borckenstein company then spins these fibres into special yarns used for environmentally friendly packaging nets.

 

This biodegradable packaging for fruit and vegetables first appeared on supermarket shelves in December 2012, when REWE first used it for their Ja! Natürlich organic products. It has also been successfully used by HOFER (ALDI Austria) for their "Zurück zum Ursprung" and "Natur aktiv" (“Back to the Roots”, “Active Nature”) organic food ranges since July 2013, thus saving our environment several tons of plastic packaging per year. This netting is even better than other natural materials. Compared to cotton and starch packaging, it has a far smaller carbon footprint with regard to the amount of cultivated land and irrigation required. Moreover, these biodegradable net tubes harmonise perfectly with the concept of organic food and packaging. Consumers not only like their soft and silky feel and natural look, but also benefit from the packaging’s ability to protect delicate vegetables such as courgettes or thin-skinned avocados and to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for an extra 2 to 3 days.

 

In a process developed in the “Colors of Nature” research project together with the Research Institute for Textile Chemistry and Textile Physics, University of Innsbruck, scientists found a way to dye the net tubes homogenously. They used onion peel, for example, which is a waste product of the onion packaging process, as well as experimenting with other plant waste.

 

Awards

- Green Packaging Star Award 2014

- International A´ Design Award 2014, silver medal

- nominated for Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2014

- ÖGUT Environmental Award 2013

- International Materialica Design & Technology Award 2013

- Fast Forward Award 2013

- fibre plus 2013

- nominated for Energy Globe Austria Award 2013

- Energy Globe Styria Award 2013

- awarded the title of “exemplary packaging solution”, 2012 Austrian State Award for Exemplary Packaging

- 2012 Daphne Environmental Technology Award, bronze medal

 

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