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Delfort Group – Environmentally Friendly Packaging

In this age of convenience, pre-peeled fruits come in neatly-packed plastic boxes and countless disposable coffee cups are binned every day without a second thought. Even with a wider acknowledgement of the negative effects of waste on our environment, consumption has not abated.

Indeed, by the end of 2015, the global consumption of plastic was almost 300 million tons. Another fact: there are more than 500 times more pieces of micro plastic in our oceans than there are stars in the galaxy. Such numbers are almost overwhelming, paralysing action in their sheer incomprehensibility. But there are solutions.

Where plastic does not bio-degrade on any sort of practical timescale, paper has often been seen as the king of recyclable, biodegradable materials. It’s made from natural materials, breaks down naturally, and decomposes over a short period of time.

Packaging companies like Delfort, based in Austria, have therefore centred their business around better paper solutions as a way of becoming more sustainable. But it’s not just about making things out of paper instead of plastic. Some areas of the ocean, for example, affect the ability of paper to decompose properly.

Delfort has been conducting extensive research and development in this area and is producing paper that truly decomposes in our oceans.

This starts by thinking about the way we consume things. With the rapid rise of convenient fast food and takeaway services, consumption of paper and plastic products has risen too. Although paper has an unlimited potential to create a circular economy, when it’s used as food packaging it needs to be highly functional.

Allowing customers to enjoy meals and snacks with optimum quality and freshness has previously required sacrifices in the sustainability of the paper products they come in. Think of that carton of chips: to combat the grease, packaging paper needs a special barrier coating. Such coatings are often made of wax, PE or aluminium, which makes recycling and decomposing much trickier.

Delfort is leading the revolution in this area, pioneering a new wave of environmentally friendly products. Chief among these products are bio-based adhesive coatings, which hold multiple advantages over traditional wax-based products – not least of which is that they are vegetable, as opposed to petroleum, based. Clean, natural and toxin free.

To produce this and other sustainable packaging products, it is essential to think about the whole life cycle in order to engineer something that remains decomposable beyond its functionality. Delfort told us more about the switch to a more holistic approach to paper production.