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Lactips launches “Plastic Free Paper”

Lactips launches Plastic Free Paper: the first paper packaging solution that is free from plastic or controversial substances and fully recyclable and compostable.
  • Innovation developed in collaboration with the eco-organization CITEO to rethink the world of packaging, while ensuring full control over their end-of-life, food preservation and food safety
  • Plastic Free Paper: the only coating solution to replace plastics and chemical treatments for sealable packaging papers, a barrier to oxygen, fats and mineral oils
  • Plastic Free Paper is adapted for industrial use for food and non-food applications

Lactips, the French company specialized in producing a 100% biosourced casein-based plastic material that is biodegradable in water and home compostable, has developed a solution for paper or cardboard packaging with a view to strengthening the protection and conservation of food products without impacting their recycling. Paper packaging solutions, which are increasingly popular with manufacturers, particularly due to their appeal with end consumers, often contain adjuvants which limit their recyclability or prevent their biodegradability. Lactips has developed a first-generation Plastic Free Paper to offer manufacturers an innovative solution for sustainable, high-performance paper or cardboard packaging.

Paper packaging solutions increasingly effective, but often at the expense of their recyclability  

With a recycling rate of around 74% in 2020 in Europe, supported by efficient collection, sorting and recycling channels, paper is a material that is fully aligned with a circular economy strategy.

However, on its own, it cannot be used for food packaging as it is permeable to water, oxygen and even fats. As a result, paper is often used in conjunction with plastic materials, which are sometimes metalized to ensure that products are preserved.

These plastic coatings make the recycling of the paper more difficult and generate waste which is virtually impossible to sort and ends up being incinerated or sent to landfill.

Certain grease-proof food papers are treated with per- or poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), which, due to these compounds passing into food products, have been flagged as a health risk by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in a report published in 2020[2].

Denmark has already banned PFAS in paper and cardboard since 2020. In addition, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway have officially announced plans to submit a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by July 19, 2022 to restrict PFAS.

Plastic Free Paper, a first generation of biodegradable and recyclable packaging

Lactips has developed, with support from the eco-organization CITEO, a new cellulose matrix coating solution that ensures the total recyclability of papers and cardboards. This first generation combines the paper with the thermoplastic developed by Lactips to meet the challenges relating to performance capabilities and sustainable development.

100% biosourced, home compostable and heat-sealed, the Plastic Free Paper solution provides the oxygen, fat and mineral oil barriers that are essential for preserving food products and is fully compliant with food contact standards.

Tests carried out with Centre Technique du Papier (CTP) in France and Papiertechnische Stiftung (PTS) in Germany have confirmed that there is no impact on the recyclability of the papers and cardboards for the first two applications available:

  • Replacing the sealable plastic layer for non-food packaging, such as mailing films or food films for dry or fatty products (tea bags, confectionery, pet chews, etc.)
  • Replacing per- or poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) for papers that need to be grease-proof (e.g. fast food packaging)

The Plastic Free Paper solution offers a real alternative for manufacturers (processors and/or brands) in the context of their environmental efforts and the application of the European directive restricting single-use plastics (Directive 2019/904/EC). The material developed by Lactips is not a plastic, but a natural polymer, in accordance with European Regulation no.1907/2006 (REACH), and is therefore exempt from the demands and restrictions set by this directive.

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