Packaging solutions provider Sealed Air and Japanese firm Kuraray have announced an investment in new production capacity for plant-based food packaging.
Sealed Air plans to invest up to $24m at the Simpsonville facility in South Carolina to produce materials made from Plantic plant-based resin and post-consumer plastic.
The production of Plantic plant-based food packaging at the Simpsonville facility is expected to start in the second quarter of 2020.
The firm’s Simpsonville plant is said to be one of the world’s largest packaging plants with more than 1,000 employees and 1.4 million ft² of operations.
The facility is currently engaged in the manufacturing of packaging materials and systems for food and consumer products.
In June 2018, Sealed Air and Kuraray signed an agreement to provide Plantic materials for packaging perishable foods such as poultry, beef and seafood in the US, Canada and Mexico.
As a support to the work, Kuraray has decided to invest around $15m to install plant-based high barrier resin production and supporting capabilities in Houston of Texas.
Kuraray’s resin plant is expected to be completed by the end of September this year, and will begin operations in early 2020.
Sealed Air president and CEO Ted Doheny said: “This collaborative effort with Kuraray expands our ability to deliver innovative, sustainable food packaging solutions that leave our world, environment and communities better than we found them.
“This investment also helps us reach our commitment to deliver 100% recyclable or reusable packaging offerings, and 50% average recycled content across all packaging solutions by 2025.”
As part of the agreement with Kuraray, Sealed Air will continue to serve North American customers by importing materials from Plantic Australia.
Sealed Air said the investment positions both companies for strategic growth in the Americas as demand for sustainable materials continues to be increased.
Kuraray global EVAL division general manager Katsumasa Yamaguchi said: “Kuraray continues to pioneer proprietary technology to develop new fields of business, grow globally and improve the environment.”
With around 15,500 employees in 123 countries, Sealed Air produces Cryovac food packaging and Bubble Wrap protective packaging solutions.