Biobased packaging for Mars and Snickers
The environmental challenges of packaging are well known. Packaging contributes to landfill overflow, ocean pollution and relies on fossil resources for production. Conventional materials like polypropylene are especially problematic due to their non-biodegradable nature. Together with Mars, Taghleef Industries and Mondi, Rodenburg took on the challenge of creating a bio-based, sustainable wrapper for chocolate bars.
The task at hand for Rodenburg and our partners was far from simple. The main challenge was to find a sustainable, bio-based material robust enough to replace polypropylene film in chocolate wrappers. This new material needed to meet rigorous environmental criteria: it had to be biodegradable, compostable and sourced in a way that did not compete with food crops. Moreover, the solution had to work seamlessly in existing manufacturing and printing processes to ensure that production lines for Mars chocolate bars remained as efficient as before. The balance between sustainability, functionality and manufacturing feasibility presented a complex web of requirements for the project.
Rodenburg developed an innovative material called Solanyl: a food-grade polymer film composed of TPS Solanyl and PLA. The starch component was sourced from the waste water of the potato processing industry. This approach not avoided using food crops for packaging but also qualified the material as a second-generation biomass. After several iterations, the team also managed to allow Mars to run its packaging lines at full speed with the new material, without any compromise on efficiency.
This project was a collaboration between Rodenburg, Mars, Taghleef Industries and Mondi. Rodenburg developed the film, while film specialist Taghleef handled production. Mondi Consumer Goods Packaging printed and manufactured the final packaging in its packaging plant in Poland. Mars provided the industry insights and the platform to test and implement the new material.