BASF SE and StePac Ltd. announced their partnership to create, what they call, “The next generation of sustainable packaging,” for the fresh produce sector. BASF is supplying StePac with its Ultramid Ccycled, a chemically recycled polymide 6. The goal between the two companies is for BASF’s technology to aid StePac in its goal to advance contact-sensitive packaging formats to a higher sustainable standard.

StePac will begin developing packaging for fresh perishables from chemically recycled plastics. It recently became REDcert2 certified to incorporate BASF’s recycled polyamide 6 into its flexible, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) products—Xgo and Xtend. Both brands are based on MAP technology with built-in humidity control, which slows respiration inside the packaging, delays the aging processes, prevents microbial decay and preserves the quality and nutritional value of the produce during product shipment, the companies say. Ultramid Ccycled will reportedly make up 30% of the packaging material, with options for a higher percentage of integration. 

Chemical recycling involves plastic waste that would have been used for energy recovery or landfilled. “In a thermochemical process, our partners obtain recycled feedstock from these end-of-life plastics, which is then fed into the BASF Verbund. Using a mass balance approach, the raw material can be attributed to specific products, such as Ultramid Ccycled”, explained Dr. Dominik Winter, VP of BASF’s European polyamides business. “This helps to replace fossil raw materials and is an important step towards circularity. As chemically recycled plastics have the same quality and safety as virgin material, the scope of plastics that can be recycled for fresh produce packaging is widened.”

Jardin Exotics S.A.S, Colombian passion fruit exporters, is reported to be the first in line to use the new partnered packaging brand Xgo Circular. The new packaging product will be supplied as film for a horizontal fill-and-seal. Jardin’s products undergo an arduous shipping by sea from Colombia to Europe and the brand’s products will reportedly aid in preserving its produce. BASF and StePac also state that packaging at-source will eliminate the need for repackaging after arrival to its destination.