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Toray Plastics (America) debuts advanced compostable bio-based films

Toray Plastics (America) Inc. (www.torayfilms.com), a manufacturer of precision-performance polyester and polypropylene films, will be introducing it new Ecodear® advanced compostable bio-based films at Pack Expo in Chicago, Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2010. Ecodear is made with polylactic acid (PLA) resin. The new, thin bi-axially-oriented Ecodear films include a metallized heat-sealable film that provides moisture and oxygen barrier protection and a clear film for use as an inner seal layer or a printweb.

Clare Goldsberry

October 15, 2010

3 Min Read
Toray Plastics (America) debuts advanced compostable bio-based films

Toray Plastics (America) Inc. (www.torayfilms.com), a manufacturer of precision-performance polyester and polypropylene films, will be introducing it new Ecodear® advanced compostable bio-based films at Pack Expo in Chicago, Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2010. Ecodear is made with polylactic acid (PLA) resin. The new, thin bi-axially-oriented Ecodear films include a metallized heat-sealable film that provides moisture and oxygen barrier protection and a clear film for use as an inner seal layer or a printweb.

Toray-Ecodear1.jpgEcodear films meet ASTM D6400 standard specifications for compostable plastics. Food packaging applications include frozen foods, snacks, cookies, cereal and nutrition bars, and confectionary items. Packaging for non-food items includes personal care items, fashion accessories, promotional items, toys, office supplies and other retail goods.

Toray has been researching and developing bio-based films since 2007, and examples of the new Ecodear will be on display at its booth #2935. "Interest in compostable films made from renewable resources continues to grow," says Franco Chicarella, Product Development Manager, Torayfan® Polypropylene Film Division. "Toray is well-known for its traditional high-performance thin barrier films that support product development, product enhancement, and sustainability goals, such as source reduction and light-weighting. Now with the addition of our new Ecodear bio-based films, customers have even more innovative options available to help them with their sustainability programs."

In light of some of the problems that brand owner Frito Lay had recently with its noisy Sunchips bag made of compostable material, which resulted in that company changing its packaging, Chicarella commented: "The noise is an inherent characteristic of PLA and varies depending on the total package design. Some CPGs and Converters might only use PLA  as a part of their packaging structure. That allows part of the packaging material to be from a sustainable resource, greatly reducing any noise associated with PLA.

"Toray is already successfully developing the next generations of quieter PLA film. With any new technology there are always obstacles that need to be overcome, but as it's adopted improvements are made along the way that ultimately increase its utility. Toray is one of the first to offer PLA films with properties that make it truly fit for use in many applications, and we are committed to further improving our green technologies beyond PLA and into other bio-based materials."

With composting activity still quite low in most parts of the U.S., with few city-sponsored composting sites as compared to plastic recycling operations, MPW asked Chicarella if the "compostable" signature on this type of packaging contributes to "greenwashing" of companies' products.

"Hopefully, no, it's not helping companies 'greenwash' their products. Ideally, consumer goods companies and consumer groups will help educate people along the way, informing them about the new technology and disposal options. It's true that many people don't actively compost or have easy access to a compost drop-off site. But for those that do, compostable package technologies are beneficial.

 "As the number of compostable consumer products increases, so will back yard and municipal composting," Chicarella added.  "The infrastructure for composting will grow with the amount of compostable goods. Compostability is a very important option with long-term viability. Equally important is the fact that raw materials can now also be made from sustainable renewable bio-based resources."

Toray Plastics (America) Inc. manufactures polyester and polypropylene films for flexible and rigid packaging, lidding, graphic, industrial, optical, and electronic applications. The company is a subsidiary of Toray Industries Inc.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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