Mars Wrigley Partners with Danimer Scientific on Compostable Packaging

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Snack giant Mars Wrigley has announced a two-year partnership with Danimer Scientific to advance home-compostable packaging. Mars Wrigley said it will soon introduce Skittles candy packaged in Danimer’s Nodax polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) material in US stores.

Sourced from the seeds of plants such as canola and soy, Nodax PHA is produced through natural fermentation processes. Danimer Scientific (Bainbridge, GA) and Mars Wrigley (Chicago) plan to introduce Nodax PHA into flexible and rigid packaging that reliably breaks down in both industrial composting facilities and backyard compost units.

The ability to “home compost” Nodax provides consumers with the option of setting up a compost unit where the material will naturally break down alongside other organic substances, such as food scraps or yard waste, Danimer explained to PlasticsToday. “The material will reliably degrade in any circumstances where bacteria are present to break it down.”

Nodax can serve as an alternative to traditional petrochemical plastic and has been certified as biodegradable in soil and marine environments. In addition to better end-of-life options, Nodax PHA is renewably sourced, making it a truly circular material that helps eliminate waste, said the announcement. “If a region does not have industrial composting facilities, Nodax PHA can also biodegrade in municipal solid-waste landfills that have landfill gas/energy (LFGE) projects,” Danimer told PlasticsToday. “These are essentially ‘wet’ landfills that capture the methane that is emitted from decomposing food waste and use it to produce various forms of energy.”

Mars Wrigley’s collaboration with Danimer represents a “step change” for its packaging sustainability strategy and brings the business closer to its vision for a circular economy where no packaging becomes waste. As part of Mars Inc.’s $1-billion Sustainable in a Generation plan to help create a healthier planet, Mars Wrigley is testing a range of material solutions in markets around the world, such as mono-material and paper-based alternatives to make incremental progress toward its goals.

The aim of this collaboration is new, biodegradable packaging for various Mars Wrigley brands starting with smaller and single packs that are more likely to end up as litter and are less likely to be recycled. Initial development work in North America will begin with the underdeveloped recycling infrastructure where littering and leakage into nature are especially problematic. Mars Wrigley’s first on-the-shelf offerings are tentatively targeted for late 2021 or early 2022, featuring its Skittles brand in the United States.”

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