Packaging for the Future

Manufacturers and end-users increasingly seek sustainable packaging solutions in response to tightening legislation regarding waste.

Specialised equipment and capability to support packaging development and testing

To this end, Scion focuses on optimising the performance of packaging materials to minimise use of materials, resources and processing.

A key consideration in future packaging design will be on what happens to the material at the end of its life (e.g. recycled, biodegraded, re-used).

Our leading expertise in waste utilisation, carbon footprinting and life cycle assessments (LCA) gives excellent sustainable design capability.

Scion’s focus on sustainability spans all aspects of packaging research including:

  • Minimising waste material
    We ensure that packaging is designed to provide maximum performance using minimum material.
  • Improved recycling qualities
    We have long experience of working with manufacturers to ensure optimum performance of recycled paper products.
  • Using renewable and biodegradable materials
    We specialise in developing packaging materials made from wood fibres and bioplastics.
  • Using environmentally-friendly treatments and coatings
    We focus on developing “green” chemicals and processes to provide manufacturers with alternative solutions to current practices. 
  • Enabling traceability of goods
    We are developing conductive polymer systems that can allow the tracking of packaging material at all stages of its life.
Parts of this research are being undertaken by the Biopolymer Network Ltd, a partnership between Scion, AgResearch and Plant & Food Research. 

Our key capabilities 

  • Bioplastics formulation and processing
  • Paperboard manufacture and testing
  • Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Management
  • Printing and coating packaging
  • Legislative knowledge

Commercial developments

Biodegradable Packaging

Scion looks to use biologically based materials as a starting point for packaging solutions. The use of naturally occurring polymers offers the possibility of products being biodegradable at the end of their life, reducing waste disposal problems.

Options include plant carbohydrates, polyphenolics and proteins, and microbial polyesters. The production of thermoplastics from cellulose is already a commercially developed technology producing cellulose acetate, cellulose propionate and cellulose butyrate by esterification of cellulose from wood pulp.

We are now focusing on lignin, as a by-product from pulp processing, to manufacture high value products. By chemically modifying lignin, and therefore manipulating its properties, a thermoplastic material can potentially be produced.

Commercial opportunities

Scion is keen to collaborate more with New Zealand and international companies to facilitate the commercial implementation of bioplastic and related technologies.

Contact: Jeremy Warnes