PEFPACK – Developing new food and beverage packaging based on PEF

Leading plastic packaging designer and manufacturer Plastipak has joined the PEFPACK project which seeks to develop new food and beverage packaging based on PEF and PEF co-polymers. The move reflects the core sustainability values at the heart of Plastipak and also the increasing demand in the industry for PEF, the bio-based equivalent of PET.

Plastipak joins Corbion, Refresco and Wageningen Food & Biobased Research (WFBR) who are already partners in the project.

Project scope

The PEFPACK project is committed to the research and development of PEF, a polymer based on FDCA (furan dicarboxylic acid) across the packaging value chain. Elements of the project include the production routes of FDCA-based polymers (with Corbion and WFBR), and its subsequent conversion in to packaging films (WFBR) and bottles (WFBR, Plastipak and Refresco).

Unique aspects of the project include the investigation of the addition of co-monomers to improve the properties of PEF, as well as exploring the recyclability of the material (with Plastipak, Refresco and WFBR).

Benefits of PEF

PEF is a bio-based alternative polymer to PET which is commonly used in packaging applications. PEF can be made from the bi-products of agricultural streams and therefore contributes to the efficient use of renewable resources.  As it is a bio-based material, PEF leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions when replacing PET (which is based on fossil-based TPA (terephthalic acid).

Additionally, PEF potentially may have properties that will lead to better packaging functionality in terms of both manufacture and performance.  Benefits may include lower energy consumption in production, improved barrier properties for increased shelf-life of packaged food, as well as lighter-weight packaging needed to deliver equivalent performance.  As a direct replacement for PET, there would be no impact on conversion and logistical chains.

Miguel Vieira, Director International Packaging Development of Plastipak said “We are extremely pleased to join this exciting, forward-looking project.  As Europe’s leading producer and recycler of rigid plastic packaging for food and beverage markets, Plastipak has much to contribute both in the research and industrialisation phases.  Sustainability is a core pillar of our company values, and this initiative is a clear demonstration of our continued commitment to the minimising the impact we have on the environment”.

PEFPACK started in 2016 and runs until 2019. Interested companies can still join the project.

About Corbion

Corbion is the global market leader in lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives, and a leading company in emulsifiers, functional enzyme blends, minerals, vitamins and algae ingredients. The company delivers high performance biobased products made from renewable resources and applied in global markets such as bakery, meat, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, home and personal care, packaging, automotive, coatings and adhesives. Its products have a differentiating functionality in all kinds of consumer products worldwide. In 2016, Corbion generated annual sales of € 911.3 million and had a workforce of 1,684 FTE. Corbion is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. For more information:

About Plastipak

Plastipak Packaging, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plastipak Holdings, Inc., is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high-quality, rigid plastic containers for the food, beverage, and consumer products industries. Plastipak operates more than 45 sites in the United States, South America and Europe, with a total of over 6,000 employees. Its customers include some of the world’s most respected and recognized consumer brands. Plastipak is also a leading innovator in the packaging industry, having been granted more than 500 United States patents for its state-of-the-art package designs and manufacturing processes. In addition, Plastipak licenses various packaging technologies around the world. Plastipak was founded in 1967 and is headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan. Additional information about Plastipak can be found at its website

Statements in this press release concerning Plastipak's intentions, expectations or predictions about future results or events are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements reflect management's current expectations or beliefs, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to vary from stated expectations, which variations could be material and adverse.  Forward-looking statements speak only as of the time made, and the Company assumes no obligation to publicly update any such statements.

About Refresco

Refresco (Euronext: RFRG) is the leading independent bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices for retailers and A-brands with production in the Benelux, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the UK and the US. The Company realised in 2016 full year volumes and revenue of circa 6.5 billion litres and circa €2.1 billion, respectively. Refresco offers an extensive range of product and packaging combinations from 100% fruit juices to carbonated soft drinks and mineral waters in carton, PET, Aseptic PET, cans and glass. Focused on innovation, Refresco continuously searches for new and alternative ways to improve the quality of its products and packaging combinations in line with consumer and customer demand, environmental responsibilities and market demand. Refresco is headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and has about 5,500 employees.

About Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops insights and technologies that support companies, governments and other research institutes in the development of healthy and tasty foods, truly-sustainable food chains and chemicals and materials that use biomass instead of fossil resources. The Biobased Products business unit works on the development of a more sustainable economy based on the Biorefinery, Biobased Chemicals and Biobased Materials research programmes. It is a European frontrunner in research into and the product development of bioplastics. Commissioned by companies, it performs research into materials and solutions based on biobased building materials on a laboratory, pilot or semi-industrial scale.

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is one of the Contract Research Organizations of Wageningen University & Research, with the aim to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. With approximately 30 locations, 5,000 members of staff and 10,000 students, Wageningen University & Research is a world leader in its domain. An integral way of working, and cooperation between the exact sciences and the technological and social disciplines are key to its approach.