With “OutNature”, PreZero, the Schwarz Group’s waste disposal and recycling company, is launching sustainable packaging based on the silphia plant in the retail sector. The packaging is now being used for the first time in the fruit and vegetable sector at Kaufland.
Previously appreciated more by gardeners and beekeepers and used as green fodder for small animals, the silphia plant is increasingly coming into focus for new uses: mainly as an energy crop, but now also as a material for packaging. With “OutNature”, PreZero, waste management and recycling company of the Schwarz Group, is developing new fiber and paper products for packaging solutions in trade and industry. Following a successful pilot phase, the packaging based on the silphia plant is now being marketed for the first time in the fruit and vegetable sector at Kaufland.
“We were completely convinced by OutNature’s sustainable concept,” says Jürgen Schartschinski, Head of Purchasing Fruit and Vegetables at Kaufland. “With the new silphia packaging, we are strengthening the identity of our own brand K-Bio.” The first vegetables to be offered in the packaging will be cress, white and brown mushrooms and tomatoes from Kaufland’s own K-Bio brand.
Suitable for direct food contact
The silphia paper can be used in a wide range of paper applications, the company emphasizes. The focus is on packaging applications, especially those with direct food contact. “The launch of our silphie packaging at Kaufland is an excellent starting position for OutNature’s market entry, enabling us to inspire other customers with our innovative packaging solutions in the future,” says Dietmar Böhm, managing director of PreZero. “With OutNature, we are tapping into an entirely new source of raw materials and intend to continue breaking new ground.”
At the end of 2020, “OutNature” was awarded the German Packaging Prize in the “New Material” category for its idea of producing sustainable packaging from silphia fibers. This was followed in early 2021 by winning the prestigious WorldStar Award from the World Packaging Organization (WPO) in the “Packaging Materials & Components” category.
As an energy crop, silphia has so far been used primarily for the production of biogas. Using a biothermal process, “OutNature” separates the plant fibers prior to bioenergy production, making them usable as a new raw material produced in Germany. In addition to replacing paper and cardboard packaging, the silphia products will also be tested in the future as an alternative for conventional plastic packaging.