Carst and Walker
Enviropack green packaging

Greener packaging solutions in SA

Jo’burg-based AGQPE is pioneering the use of sustainable food packaging in South Africa with the Enviropack range of ‘green’ packaging solutions. This report on its growing impact in the local market.

‘Eco-friendly’ has become a buzz-word in today’s consumer and industrial environments, a need long identified by AGQPE, a specialist in supplying and implementing food packaging systems, and who established about 18 months ago set up Enviropack as the sustainable packaging wing of its business.

‘”It’’s important to understand the many classifications of packaging and their impact on the environment,’” says Amotz Golan, owner of AGQPE. ‘”We have introduced our Enviropack range to provide customers with the latest in green packaging solutions.’”

There are four key definitions to consider when purchasing packaging – laminated packaging (non-recyclable), monolayer products (recyclable), degradable packaging (capable of being decomposed chemically or biologically) and biodegradable packaging (capable of breaking down biologically, by the action of micro-organisms in the environment).

Another important classification is compostable packaging. Compostable materials are manufactured from organic materials such as corn, palm fibres and bagasse (the pulp waste product from sugarcane processing) and produced using annually renewable resources. They are required to be non-toxic while in use and decompose back to the soil. Capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site, compostable packaging breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds and biomass within a six month period and doesn’t leave any toxic residue.

Enviropack provides bagasse packaging (in both food and industrial options), polylactic acid (PLA) containers, and biodegradable and compostable films.

Bagasse pack‘”Both bagasse and PLA packaging is biodegradable, compostable and natural,’” Amotz comments. ‘”In addition to being microwavable and freezable, bagasse trays can hold oil and grease at high temperature for up to 72 hours with virtually no effect on the material. You can cook a product at up to 200°C in an oven for up to two hours in bagasse packaging.”

The bagasse range includes a full range of plates, trays and bowls; and three generic-size ready-meal trays are popular with local supermarket chains, which means that food processors can use standard machines and moulds.

AGQPE’s compostable packaging is sourced in China and carries the Din Certco stamp of approval, an international accreditation for compostable products.

Three years ago, Nando’s introduced AGQPE’’s biodegradable and compostable packaging products; and Peri Deli, a smaller-format, contemporary Nando’’s store, is the first food outlet in Africa to introduce bagasse and PLA products from the AGQPE range, using transparent PLA for cold cups, lids and salad bowls, which have a lower temperature threshold.

Amotz has recently received confirmation from Woolworths that the AGQPE Enviropack range is accredited for its retail shelves. He’’s also running trials on an AGQPE registered mould for a major UK supermarket chain.

Considered a leader in the supply of ‘green’ food packaging products, Amotz is positive that the latest AGQPE range will expand quickly in the South African market.

‘”We’’re concentrating on Enviropack,’” he confirms. ‘”The products we offer are among the best and most advanced in the world. We’’re also busy with tests on a compostable lidding film from Innovia, which will provide our customers with a completely compostable packaging solution.”’

AGQPE also supplies polypropylene (PP) microwaveable food trays, sealing machines, sealing films, up-market CPET, and AMPET, an award-winning plastic innovation from Denmark’s Faerch Plast.

AGQPE T +27 011 7283947

First published in PACKAGiNG & Print Media magazine, March 2010

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