Contributed by Lakeside Organics
Biorenewable wax alternatives are biodegradable and can be substituted for petro-based paraffin wax as coatings for water-resistant boxes. Paraffin-coated boxes are not recyclable and must be landfilled, accounting for about 5% of all boxes, or roughly 1.5 million tons per year at an annual cost to users of about $70 million. The new water-resistant, paraffin-free boxes can be returned with other recycled cardboard, creating a value of about $180 million annually.
“Until now, all of our wax-coated produce boxes have had to be land filled,” said Lindsey Roberts, Marketing Communications Director for Lakeside Organic Gardens, “we have high hopes this trial will end our search for a recyclable box.”
Encore and Chemol have been working diligently to introduce this product into the California produce market and are confident that these boxes will perform very well in rigorous field, hydro-cooling and shipping environments.
“We are excited to see the results of these trials which will include several of Lakeside’s California and west coast customers,” said Encore’s president, Joe Gershen, “and we appreciate Lakeside Organic Gardens for taking a leadership position in helping to bring a zero-waste recycling mindset to the cardboard box industry.”
Chemol’s president, Fred Wellons, stated that “the company has been developing and testing this proprietary renewable wax formula for over 6 years and have had a lot of success with it in the southeastern US markets where the boxes are used for produce and meat packing. We expect that these boxes will hold up equally well in this produce application.”
There is increasing interest in renewable wax alternatives from vegetable growers based on their desire for sustainable packaging. Food distributors, restaurants and consumers are being informed that wax alternative products are becoming available and that the recyclable coatings are produced from sustainable resources and that they allow the wax-coated boxes to be recycled.
Efforts to create demand and to market wax alternatives are only just now beginning. Organic growers as well as regional and local governments are taking the lead to ensure that box users are aware that new technology is available for improved utilization of packaging wastes.
The company will test the boxes Thursday by field packing in morning, then cooling product to see results in afternoon. Stay tuned.