VPZ Verpackungszentrum

Austrian sustainable packaging solutions made from beechwood

The Austria-based company VPZ Verpackungszentrum has created a new type of packaging for fruit and vegetables. The reusable Packnatur® cellulose bags are made from FSC-certified beechwood; they are tear-resistant and wet-proof.

The fact that the bags are breathable and moisture-regulating means that they can keep produce fresh for up to two or three days longer. The material is soft, and therefore protects fruits that are prone to damage. In addition, the bags feature a wooden drawstring stopper – which is also made from FSC-certified beechwood and turned in a local workshop.

"The bags are manufactured exclusively from beechwood that has been sourced from local forest thinning – one-third from Austria and two-thirds from Central Europe. Both the netting and the drawstring have been developed using FSC-certified cellulose fibre. Lenzing AG, a manufacturer of environmentally friendly cellulose fibre, produces the Modal® fibres in its Austrian factory, in compliance with the strictest environmental standards and with a zero-carbon footprint. The reusable bag doesn’t need composting and is the ultimate shopping basket accessory for all plastic free consumers," Bettina Reichl, the company's design and R&D manager, tells Packaging Europe.

Packnatur® cellulose bags have been available at the Swiss supermarket chain Coop since November 2017.

Also using sustainable beechwood, VPZ has developed compostable tube netting for fruit and vegetables. And in search for labels to complement the bags and netting solutions, VPZ launched the Packnatur® organic wineglass labels on the market.

The bags, nets and labels have been awarded with a range of design, technology and business awards, most recently with the World Star Packaging Award 2018 in three categories: Food Packaging, Sustainability Award in Silver and Presidential Award in Bronze. In addition, Helmut Meiniger, the company's founder, was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award.

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