(Baraboo, WI), has expanded its Tradesman line of briefcases and Tuff Tainer range of boxes with biodegradable versions of both. These new versions are fully biodegradable and recyclable, with biodegradation anaerobic (compost/landfill) and aerobic (for example, in an industrial compost facility). No toxic residue is produced during or remains after biodegradation, according to the processor. Flambeau bio-cases and boxes return to the environment as safe biomass and humus.
Dave Schoell, VP of the company's industrial & packaging group, in answer to questions from MPW, said Flambeau already has shipped orders for these new cases. The company has no set sales goals for these new products, he explained, but added, "I can tell you one customer has purchased 10,000 units and another just ordered 15,000 units on two products. For me, I am pushing this about as hard as I can. I truly believe it represents tremendous growth for Flambeau and meets a need that consumers and customers are looking for. I actually think we are on the leading edge of this as it relates to rigid packaging. My hope is to do over $1,000,000 in a short period of time. It is slowly building right now."
"The market and our customers continue to ask for this kind of product. Mass retailers are pushing for more green products. We are the first in terms of rigid plastic packaging to do it," said Tome Adante, sales manager of Flambeau's Industrial and Packaging division, in a statement. "We see a number of major customers who have sustainability goals and sustainable product initiatives; any corporation touching consumers is putting more emphasis on sustainability. We sell to a large range of customers and it behooves us to meet their requirements, as well as meet our own green initiatives."
The processor says these new biodegradable products have an "indefinite" shelf life, similar in every way to cases processed from standard thermoplastics. Also comparable are qualities such as strength and durability. Lead times for the biodegradable product line are the same as Flambeau's standard stock and custom case lines with a price differential of 10-15%.
The new cases are injection molded on the standard tooling used for molding comparable products that are not biodegradable. Flameau also can blowmold biodegradable cases, he added.
The processor is adding an additive to polypropylene and polyethylene to promote the biodegradability of those materials, but Schoell is hesitant as yet to identify which additive it uses as the processor has an exclusive agreement signed for it. MPW has reported in the past on one of these materials, EcoPure. —Matt Defosse