Sustainable Fruit Packaging

- January 09, 2019 -

Packaging leader Amcor used DuPont resins to create new, sustainable vegetable and fruit packaging. The result: an economical, easy-to-recycle alternative to rigid plastic and wax-impregnated crates.

Using DuPont™ Bynel® and DuPont™ Nucrel® to add to package strength allowed Amcor to produce a corrugated cardboard-based design that delivered significant manufacturing and shipping cost savings – with the potential for added in-store appeal.

The Challenge
Waxed cardboard fruit and vegetable crates have long been used for their ability to keep produce moist without deteriorating. However, waxed cardboard crates have two drawbacks: they cannot be recycled easily and they are relatively bulky and heavy. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) lightweight plastic has provided an alternative for some types of produce, but it is not easily recyclable.

Vegetable and fruit packaging that could reduce materials, simplify packaging, and facilitate recycling has the potential to make a big difference. But produce shippers can’t compromise on protecting delicate crops during shipping, or on display appeal at the store.

The Solution
Amcor developed a fruit packaging application that included coextrusion of Bynel® adhesive resin and Nucrel®ethylene acrylic acid copolymer in the laminating process to help integrate cardboard carton layers. This yielded a structurally strong, moisture-resistant shipping and display carton made out of corrugated cardboard with a PET/Kraft liner.

In addition to allowing for use of less fiber and a simpler manufacturing process, the new SureFresh® crate design eliminates pre- and post-printing processes by using a pigmented polymer tie-layer. This reduces manufacturing steps, which can potentially reduce costs, while also allowing for more attractive boxes.

The design enables higher shipping density (more packs per pallet) versus alternative crates for further cost savings in transport and distribution. By using Bynel® and Nucrel® to add strength, less material is used, making each box lighter. This makes shipping less expensive and can potentially decrease fossil fuel usage.

The SureFresh® crate is strong, costs less than other crates, and can be recycled in existing paper streams compared to wax and expanded polystyrene (EPS) alternatives.

Key Advantages
The Amcor SureFresh® crate for fruit packaging provides a combination of manufacturing, shipping, retail, and sustainability advantages, including:

  • Light, corrugated crate using Kraft/PET
  • Added package strength and moisture resistance using coextruded Bynel® and Nucrel®
  • Cushioned, corrugated crate protects fruit in transit
  • Reduced fiber content
  • Fewer manufacturing steps
  • Enables higher shipping density for cost savings in distribution
  • Allows for higher quality graphics vs. conventional packaging for retail display appeal
  • Can be recycled in existing paper streams

SureFresh® is a trademark of Amcor.