Bioplastics maker Danimer Scientific will supply thermoforming giant Genpak LLC with material to make biodegradable food containers.
In a Nov. 12 news release, officials with both firms said the eco-friendly foodservice items created by the two companies "will help reduce the environmental impacts of nonbiodegradable packaging produced annually worldwide."
Over the course of the multi-year agreement, Bainbridge, Ga.-based Danimer Scientific will deliver several million pounds of biodegradable resins that Genpak of Charlotte, N.C., will use in its new GenZero-brand line of food packaging products.
Danimer Scientific will include Nodax-brand polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), which officials described as the firm's signature biopolymer, among the resins that it produces for GenZero food containers. Nodax is a plant-based material that officials said was verified as a reliable biodegradable alternative to traditional petrochemical plastics in a 2018 study led by University of Georgia researchers and members of the UGA New Materials Institute.
"Innovation is a core foundation of our manufacturing philosophy, and it has driven the development of some of our most durable and sustainable packaging items," Genpak President Kevin Kelly said in the release. "Partnering with Danimer Scientific provides us with the cutting-edge material we need to take the next step in our dedication to our purpose statement of advancing innovative packaging to enhance the human experience."
Danimer Scientific CEO Stephen Croskrey added in the release that plastic "is a universal material used in countless everyday products, especially in the food and beverage industries, so it's imperative to broaden the conversation around the type of items we can make with biodegradable materials."
Genpak's line of foodservice items are designed for a wide range of applications, including to-go hinged food containers, plates, bowls and platters, serving trays and two-piece food containers. Officials said that the GenZero biodegradable products will build on the company's focus for sustainable packaging options.
Genpak ranked sixth in the 2019 Plastics News' ranking of North American thermoformers, with estimated sales of $500 million. The firm operates 20 facilities in the U.S. and Canada.
Danimer Scientific holds 125 patents in nearly 20 countries for a range of manufacturing processes and biopolymer formulations. Applications for the firm's biopolymers include additives, aqueous coatings, fibers, filaments, films, hot-melt adhesives and injection molded items.