Camarillo, Calif.-based Zume, a sustainability solutions company creating economically viable substitutes for single-use plastics, announced a partnership with Wilmington, Del.-based Solenis, a producer of specialty chemicals. The companies said they are open-sourcing a PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) replacement for food packaging manufacturing to food manufacturers and CPG brands across the global market. To see the open-source process, go to zume.com/pages/freefromPFAS.
In conjunction, Zume says it will no longer manufacture any products that contain PFAS from its California packaging facility, effective immediately, and the company is collaborating with its global partners to ensure that all production globally is PFAS-free by the end of 2021.
“Open-sourcing our PFA-free solution creates a path for brands across the world to remove plastics and harmful chemicals from their consumer packaging and single-use goods,” said Alex Garden CEO and chairman of Zume. “Brands have made pledges to remove PFAS and this new launch will enable them to deliver on their promises.”
After nine months of deep collaboration and research and development to create a solution that reduces the need for single-use plastics, Zume and Solenis said they are open-sourcing the recipe and manufacturing process so that all packaging manufacturers can adopt the technique and speed up the removal of harmful chemicals. This marks an important milestone for the industry, as two major companies unveil the complex process of creating a molded fiber packaging solution that ensures food grease and water resistance without the need for PFAS or harmful chemicals.
“Our goal is to encourage any manufacturer in the world to start using this technology as quickly as possible,” said Solenis CEO John Panichella. “Through this joint initiative with Zume, global brands can meet their commitments to eliminate the use of PFAS faster than ever before.”
The new scientific report co-written by Zume and Solenis, “Putting Forever Chemicals to Rest: An Open-Source Guide to PFAS-Free Packaging,” details the findings from both companies’ scientists as they created and tested the new process. The coauthors conclude that products leveraging the new solution will be fully compostable within 90 days of disposal, the companies said.
The joint team identified five key parameters — thermoforming, freeness, chemistry management, charge management and part formation — for achieving oil and grease resistance, with chemistry that eliminated PFAS and achieved two hours of oil holdout with 60 degrees Celsius oil. By following these process parameters and control strategy, manufacturers around the world will be able to provide end-use consumers with a fully functional product that does not pose a health risk, the companies said.
According to Zume and Solenis, PFAS, largely known as forever chemicals, are used to coat paper and cardboard containers for fast food and to-go boxes and have been linked to potentially harmful health effects, including decreased fertility, weakened immune system response and increased risk for certain cancers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA has mandated that these substances will not be allowed in the manufacturing of food-contact packaging after January 2024.