Q: What is Inverform?
A: Inverform is a fibre-based material with a low carbon footprint for replacing plastic and aluminium trays in food packaging applications. It consists of paperboard that is building the structure of the package and normally comes with a functional barrier for keeping foodstuff fresh and not influenced by outside environments.
Q: Why is Inverform an ideal replacement to plastic or aluminium trays?
A: Because it has the functional properties required and reduces the carbon footprint of the total package. By using Inverform, which is renewable and recyclable, and combined with a small amount of plastic material for the functional barrier, you create an eco-friendly package that can reduce the carbon footprint by 60 to 80 percent compared to a fully plastic solution. Several studies also show that consumers tend to prefer paperboard packaging from sustainability and aesthetics standpoints.
Q: Is Inverform biodegradable?
A: There is no aligned definition of biodegradability in the packaging world. And in the lack of proper definitions anyone can claim anything. An old plastic boat can be considered biodegradable – but the process of breaking down the hull might take 30 000 years. So be careful whenever biodegradability is claimed. Inverform is intrinsically biodegradable due to being fibre based, but depending on which barrier it is combined with, the degradation properties can vary.
Q: Is Inverform compostable?
A: There are established certifications for compostability. The common one, e.g. EN 13432, stipulates that the material should be broken down within a specified timeframe in an industrial compost. All compostable materials are biodegradable, however not all biodegradable materials are compostable. Inverform is compostable but depending on which barrier it is combined with the degradation properties can vary.
Q: How can Inverform be recycled? In which waste stream?
A: Today, many recycling mills can separate plastic barriers from the paper or paperboard. The rules for sorting packaging with plastic barriers vary from region to region and depend on how developed the waste streams and recycling schemes are. In 2020 the UK recommended that packaging with as much as 15 percent plastic content can be sorted as paper. The UK recommendation is based on the condition that the allowed plastic content gradually will be reduced.
Q: How renewable is an Inverform tray?
A: The main part of the tray is a paperboard made of wood fibres, a renewable material from well managed forests which can be recycled several times. In order to protect the content and to be sealable, the paperboard needs to be coated with a functional barrier. That coating can be either renewable or fossil-based and depending on the recycling infrastructure in your region, the fibres in the paperboard can then be recycled and reused.
Q: Why do you need a barrier on Inverform?
A: Barrier coatings improves the properties of the paperboard and depending on which barriers you use, protect against grease, moisture, gas, aromas and UV-light. Barriers also provides the important sealing ability.
Q: What different barriers are there and which one should I choose?
A: The most common barriers today are fossil-based plastics like PET, PP and PE. There is a lot of ongoing developments in alternatives from renewable sources and some solutions are already on the market today. There is a wide selection of different barriers and to give you the best recommendation on which one that fits your needs best, don’t hesitate to contact us and ask for guidance.