With its acquisition of a significant minority stake in the Slovak company Panara a.s., the global packaging specialist, the ALPLA Group, is stepping up its activities in the research field of alternative, sustainable raw materials for packaging. Panara is focusing on the development of fully bio-based and biodegradable plastics.
ALPLA is pursuing a holistic approach that requires that all of its product areas and future packaging solutions are being developed with a functioning circular economy in mind. Hence selecting materials that are suitable for bio-based and biodegradable packaging. In pursuit of its mission, ALPLA is investing in the Panara a.s. and is acquiring a significant minority share in this Slovak company specialised in the development of bioplastics.
ALPLA Chairman Günther Lehner, who is responsible for sustainability, circular economy, technology development and innovation said: ‘Panara has a lot of experience in the area of bio-based plastics. In acquiring a stake in the company and partnering with Panara, we want to leverage this expertise and make the transfer of knowledge possible for our applications and customers.’
Fully Bio-based and compostable plastic
Panara has been conducting research in the area of biopolymers since 2006. This involves its partnering with the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava and the Centre for Applied Research of Environmentally Friendly Polymeric Materials (CEPOMA) in Nitra. Just recently, the company introduced a bioplastic to the market under the brand name Nonoilen which is made entirely using renewable resources, is recyclable and can be completely industrially composted at the end of its life cycle. The material is also temperature-resistant and stable. Christian Zmölnig, Director of Corporate Research and Innovation at ALPLA, sees the collaboration as another step in the direction of the packaging of the future: ‘As a technology leader in the area of packaging materials, we engage in ongoing work with partners to develop new raw materials that will minimise carbon dioxide emissions as well as resource consumption.’
Advancing the circular economy
Acquiring a stake in Panara is in line with ALPLA’s strategic focus of increased investment in the circular economy. The four R’s: Replace, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle are crucial in order to advance forward-looking activities and to identify areas of action.
The “Replace research field” comprises research into and the use of alternative, bio-based and recyclable materials. ALPLA is already involved in the development of paper-based bottles with the company Paboco, for example, and has unveiled a home-compostable coffee capsule to the public.
“Reduce” focuses on an ongoing reduction in material consumption, “Re-use” is all about optimising the properties of plastic bottles for reuse systems and “Recycle” addresses the overarching objective of keeping as much plastic as possible in the recycling cycle.