With its acquisition of a significant minority stake in the Slovak company Panara, the ALPLA Group is stepping up its activities in the field of bio-based and biodegradable plastics.

Explaining its motivation, ALPLA says that it is pursuing a holistic approach that requires that all of its product areas and future packaging solutions are developed with a functioning circular economy in mind. Hence it is selecting materials that are suitable for bio-based and biodegradable packaging.

ALPLA Chairman Günther Lehner, who is responsible for sustainability, circular economy, technology development and innovation, says: “Panara has a lot of experience in the area of bio-based plastics. In acquiring a stake in the company and partnering with Panara, we want to leverage this expertise and make the transfer of knowledge possible for our applications and customers.”

Panara has been conducting research in the area of biopolymers since 2006. This involves its partnering with the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava and the Centre for Applied Research of Environmentally Friendly Polymeric Materials (CEPOMA) in Nitra.

Just recently, the company introduced a bioplastic to the market under the brand name Nonoilen which is made entirely using renewable resources, is recyclable, and can be completely industrially composted at the end of its life cycle. The material is also temperature-resistant and stable.

Christian Zmölnig, director of corporate research and innovation at ALPLA, sees the collaboration as another step in the direction of the packaging of the future: “As a technology leader in the area of packaging materials, we engage in ongoing work with partners to develop new raw materials that will minimise carbon dioxide emissions as well as resource consumption.”