Mondi and traceless team up to develop a ground-breaking coating solution from agricultural by-products

Alternative to plastic-coated packaging

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Mondi, a global leader in sustainable packaging and paper, is partnering with advanced biomaterial engineers traceless to develop a new coating solution based on by-products from the agricultural industry. This innovative bio-circular coating solution is the first of its kind and will be able to replace traditionally used plastic coating.

There is an increasing demand for plastic alternatives in packaging solutions, and this new coating will respond to the demand directly: made from renewable plant-based materials, namely residues from the agricultural industry, it eliminates the need for fossil raw materials. traceless' consequential life-cycle assessment showed that the provision of traceless® material to the market leads to overall greenhouse gas savings of 76% from sourcing to disposal, if the material is used as a replacement for virgin PET. If only the production and disposal phase is considered, these savings add up to 95%. Also, the material is certified home compostable by DIN CERTCO according to NF T51-800.  

The joint work of Mondi and traceless on this product started in 2021 and brought world-leading expertise together: Mondi’s knowledge in paper coating and packaging solutions, and traceless’ expertise for material solutions based on natural polymers. The coating granulates are produced in traceless' pilot plant and are applied to Mondi's kraft paper in Mondi's R&D centre for further testing of the coated paper in the company’s laboratories. Later production on industrial scale will take place in a designated plant in Hamburg. 

Varying products require different barriers in their packaging and the coated kraft paper solution is tested thoroughly for different packaging purposes, to ensure it can be used across different end-markets: the in-depth trials have confirmed that kraft paper coated with traceless® can resist water, oxygen and fat, while offering good printing abilities for different customers. At the same time, the goal is to develop a solution that is also recyclable in existing recycling streams throughout Europe. Currently, the properties of the bio-based coating are further optimised, fine-tuning the solution to make it fit for different packaging applications for various end-markets such as eCommerce, frozen food, fatty and non-fatty food. The goal is to achieve a packaging solution which can be scaled for a range of different industries and significantly reducing the greenhouse gas emissions throughout the packaging life cycle.

"We are always looking at what the next steps are in creating truly circular packaging, following our customers’ demands as well as our own innovative spirit. This is a fantastic example of how we can combine our R&D forces to be one step ahead in the sustainable packaging game, contributing to a circular economy", Marko Schuster, COO Functional Paper and Films at Mondi.

Anne Lamp, CEO and co-founder traceless adds: “Our mission is to make pollution and waste history by using materials that impact positively. The journey so far has been exciting and insightful, teaching us valuable lessons to ensure our packaging delivers excellent protection. By working with Mondi - its team, its machines and its products and processes - we are adapting our existing expertise in innovative biomaterials to reduce plastic barrier coatings in packaging. The goal is to create a truly fit-for-purpose product, that works for as wide a range of applications and industries as possible.”

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