This year's Global Bioplastic Award, which, in keeping with tradition, was presented at the end of the first day of the annual European Bioplastics Conference by Bioplastics magazine's Michael Thielen, went, not to one, but to two finalists: according to the jury, the Swiss coffee company, Beanarella, and the German ice cream maker Zandonella finished with the exact same number of points.
The two winning companies had more in common than merely a name ending on -ella: both were recognized for what is essentially a bioplastics packaging application forming an integral part of the holistic approach taken by both companies to the product lifecycle.
Beanarella, for example, uses only Fair Trade coffee. The packaging is designed to satisfy the demanding barrier requirements for coffee packaging with regard to moisture, oxygen and aroma, but is, at the same time, certified compostable. The coffee capsules themselves are made from ecovio IS1335; the barrier packaging (three functional layers) consists of biodegradable components. The outer paper-based carrier layer is followed by a thin barrier film as a middle layer and an inner sealing layer based on ecovio. All three single layers are certified according to EN 13432. The layers are bonded together by means of the compostable laminating adhesive Epotal Eco from BASF. "Coffee is good for the soil," said Nick Schaude of Beanarella on accepting the award. "We use 100% compostable pouches and capsules. So we give it back after use. It's a green revolution for the coffee industry. We cannot go on wasting commodities the way we have done until now. We have to change - and we need to change quickly."
Zandonella was recognized for the development of a PLA ice cream container designed to match the organic principles behind the company's gourmet ice cream. The 500 ml box itself is made of BioFoam, the cradle-to-cradle certified expanded fine particle PLA foam from the Dutch PLA manufacturer Synbra, while all the other components of the packaging are also made of renewable raw materials - the paper wrap, the shrink film (tamper evident) (PLA), the label, which is made of cellulose or PLA, the PLA inlay, and the PLA coating film - as well as being suitable for industrial composting. The box is highly functional: the ice cream will remain frozen without cooling for at least an hour.
Both recipients were surprised and pleased with the honor. Werner Oelschlaeger, who received the award on behalf of the Zandonella team, said that he and the team were "very happy about the decision that was made in our favor."
"Thank you to everyone who made this packaging system possible," he said.
Nick Schaude, too, expressed his thanks. "We were proud to be nominated," he said. "It's a great honor to win, and we are very grateful. Thank you!"