BASF and StePac are partnering to develop sustainable packaging that will extend shelf-life of fresh produce


BASF will supply StePac with its patented chemically recycled polyamide 6, called Ultramid Ccycled.

Image courtesy of BASF and StePac

Image courtesy of BASF and StePac

BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany) and StePac Ltd. (Tefen, Israel) have announced a partnership to develop “the next generation of sustainable packaging” for the fresh produce sector. BASF will supply StePac with its patented chemically recycled polyamide 6, called Ultramid Ccycled, to provide StePac with greater flexibility to advance contact-sensitive packaging formats to a higher standard of sustainability within the circular economy.

StePac has recently earned REDcert2 certification to incorporate chemically recycled polyamide 6 into its flexible, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) products, called Xgo and Xtend. These two brands utilize MAP technology with built-in humidity control, slowing down respiration inside the packaging to delay the aging process, inhibit microbial decay and preserve the quality and nutritional value of the produce during prolonged storage or long-haul shipments. As part of the partnership, BASF’s Ultramid Ccycled will make up 30% of the packaging materials in Xgo and Xtend, with options for integration at higher percentages.

“This alliance will help strike a balance between creating plastic packaging that is as eco-friendly as possible to keep fresh produce longer through more prudent use of lean plastic films,” said Gary Ward, business development manager of StePac, in a press release. “These upgraded packaging formats will continue to maintain their role of significantly reducing food waste, a most important task considering that global food waste is responsible for about 8% of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.”

Chemical recycling such as BASF’s ChemCycling involves plastic waste that would have been used in energy recovery or landfilled, complementing mechanical recycling, and accelerating a circular economy by yielding food-grade recycled plastic. “In a thermochemical process, our partners obtain recycled feedstock from these end-of-life plastics, which is then fed into the BASF Verbund. Using a mass balance approach, the raw material can be attributed to specific products, such as Ultramid Ccycled”, explained Dr. Dominik Winter, vice president of BASF’s European polyamides business, in a press release. “This helps to replace fossil raw materials and is an important step towards circularity. As chemically recycled plastics have the same quality and safety as virgin material, the scope of plastics that can be recycled for fresh produce packaging is widened.”

The first packaging brand to develop from this partnership is Xgo Circular. The first to use it will be the Colombian passion fruit export Jardin Exotics SAS.

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