Biodegradable shrink wrap was once just an aspiration for the packaging industry. However, thanks to a number of developments in shrink wrap technology, there are now shrinkwrap films that are considered “functionally biodegradable”. In simple terms, in order to be classified “biodegradable” a shrink wrap film must be capable of decomposition in the presence of bacteria, or other micro-organisms, under natural conditions. The bi-products of decomposition are water, CO2 and biomass, as described by the European Standard EN 13432.
In reality, there is no film on the market that fully meets this requirement, and In this context the danger is that any promised breakdown is merely a disguise for transforming the base product into something that is not visible, but nonetheless present in the environment. The example of micro plastic particles in the oceans and water table is a case in point. Furthermore, current thinking with regard to sustainability is more focused upon the circular economy argument. That is to say that the idea of throwing products away is itself flawed, even if products were fully “biodegradable”.
What Are The Drawbacks of Biodegradable Shrinkwrap?
The introduction of biodegradable films is a big step for our industry as we become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. However, with regard to shrink wrap films, the term “biodegradable” itself is a difficult one, as it has
come to mean many different things with no agreed definition. With this in mind we believe that the most responsible approach is to offer a range of strategies in response the problem, as well specific products that take advantage of technology to minimise any adverse effect upon the environment.
Based on this classification Kempner can supply a range of Polyolefin shrink films which are fully biodegradable within 3 years from manufacturing date. Our biodegradable films can contain 20% naturally raw materials (typically sugar cane) and are fully compliant with EC legislation and ASTM standards in relation to degradability, biodegradability, and ecotoxicity.
What Does the Future Hold for Shrink Wrap Plastics?
There are various sustainability considerations, such as resource inputs and recycling, that must be included in the decision to choose a particular packaging solution. Shrinkwrap films can provide a relatively environmentally friendly packaging option. Kempner are now offer recyclable films, as well as various films, and approaches toward packaging, that can heavily minimise the resource uptake on the environment. For example. we are proud to be able to supply polyolefin films with up to 51% sugar cane. The inclusion of renewable materials translates to drastic reductions in carbon footprints when compared to conventional shrink wrap films such as polypropylene. Find out more by visiting our shrinkwrap guide or contact us for more information.
Current thinking in sustainable circles tends to favour circular economy arguments. The idea of throwing products away is itself flawed. This is true even if products are biodegradable and (or) contain recycled materials. With this in mind we believe that the most responsible approach is to minimise film thickness, thereby minimising resource uptake in the first instance.
Kempner have a range of shrink wrap films made from materials that are both thinner and stronger than conventional materials. We are also trying to close the loop and become more circular. Kempner have recently worked with the OPRL (On-Pack Recycling Label) scheme, which provides a means of raising consumer awareness, and guidance toward disposal routes in relation to our films.
If you’d like to find out more about Kempner shrink wrap and our shrink wrapping systems then contact us today on 020 8952 5262. We are more than happy to discuss the range of options to help you identify the most environmentally responsible packaging option for your products.