Non-PVC stretch wrap to shake up US film market

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The distributor of a non-PVC stretch wrap believes that its
innovation could shake up the $700 million North American stretch
film market and beyond.

Diamant Film, the North American distributor of an innovative non-PVC stretch wrap, has signed a distribution agreement with Victory Packaging.

The agreement is for the distribution rights of Diamant film to the industrial, supermarket, institutional, and catering markets throughout North America.

"Diamant is very excited to work with a reputable packaging firm which possesses established and widespread distribution channels throughout our target market,"​ said Stefan Gudmundsson, chief executive of Diamant Film, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ART International.

"We continue to believe that we possess the only economically viable polystyrene alternative to PVC stretch film for the $700 million North American stretch film market.

" Victory's​ extensive network of warehouses and delivery routes throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico makes them an ideal distribution partner."

ART international claims that Diamant film is the world's first, plasticiser-free stretch film based on polystyrene. It is being marketed as an environmentally friendly and recyclable food wrapping alternative to current PVC based film, though biodegradable alternatives are now flooding the market.

Plastic stretch films are familiar to most consumers. Stretch films are used in supermarkets and grocery stores, usually in conjunction with a plastic or fibre tray, to package individual cuts of fresh meat, poultry, fish and other food products.

Meat packaging represents one of the largest potential applications for Diamant film. Packagers in this industry require film that has enough oxygen permeability to allow the formation of oxymyglobin, which gives the desired fresh red look to the meat.

But it must also be tough, able to withstand low temperatures, and have good clarity and gloss.

ART International is confident that Diamant​ film is the answer. It has a low moisture vapour transmission rate required to retain moisture in the packaged product plus an anti-fogging additive to prevent condensation on the inside of the film.

The ever-increasing demand for environmentally friendly and healthier packaging has been pushing companies to find alternative packaging materials for years. Over ten years ago the R&D department of Permapak in Switzerland set out to develop a better performing, environmentally safe stretch film for the food industry - the first real alternative to PVC and the first genuinely recyclable stretch film.

In 2001 Permapak released Diamant Stretchfilm. ART International recently secured a ten-year agreement with for the exclusive marketing and distribution rights in the United States and Canada to the film.

Environmentally sound packaging is beginning to present itself as a viable alternative to traditional methods of packaging. RPC for example recently launched a range of biodegradable Polylactide (PLA) containers targeted at this growing green consciousness among food packagers.

PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from lactic acid that is processed from annually renewable resources, such as corn. This means it uses less fossil resources compared to petroleum-based plastics.

The development of the packaging range comes in response to a raft of recent European packaging legislation encouraging greater environmental responsibility. RPC says that PLA containers not only help to avoid existing and proposed taxes on packaging and packaging waste but can also in some instances qualify for subsidies.

In addition, new biodegradable materials such as PLA offer food packagers an economically-viable alternative to polystyrene-based packaging materials.

Packaging firms have experienced enormous raw material price increases this year - chemical giant BASF recently increased the prices for its plastic material Styrolux by €200 per metric ton in Europe as of 1 August, blaming the rising cost of raw materials.

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