By Joe Pryweller, Managing Editor, Packaging Strategies
A start-up company that uses a nano-capsule technology, first developed in Japan to reduce the amount of polyethylene (PE) in plastic bags, has started distribution of the novel technology to Wal-Mart and other major retailers in Canada.
ecoSolutions Int’l has signed an agreement for exclusive use of a technology that strengthens the finished polymer and reduces the amount of material needed for shopping bags, film and other applications. The natural, non-synthetic nano-capsules work as additives that blend with the polymer during crystallization. The capsules use an oxygen carrier containing liposomes-simple fatty acid membranes-that maximize crystallization during polymerization.
The proprietary formulation can cut material costs for bags by as much as 50% but by at least 20% on average, according to ecoSolutions executive vice president Brian Patridge.
The publicly held company has signed an agreement with Hymopack, Canada’s largest bag producer, to use the ecoPlastic technology in bags going to major retailers. Hymopack sells bags to Wal-Mart Canada, McDonald’s, Sears and Best Buy.
While ecoSolutions also offers biodegradable and compostable bags, Patridge honestly stated that the biodegradable market is slowed by a lack of a suitable infrastructure for collection and few industrial compost sites. “Biodegradability will come down the road, but it’s just starting to scratch the surface,” he states.
About 380 billion plastic bags are sold in the U.S. annually, using 1.3 billion gallons of oil. The company claims ecoPlastic could cut oil consumption for PE bags to about 600 million gallons a year. n
Reprinted with permission from Packaging Strategies newsletter, a sister business of Flexible Packaging. For more info, visit www.packstrat.com.