Cucumber shrink foil is immensely useful, not only for the cucumber’s shelf life but also in view of hygiene on the shelves where people tend to grab products and return them. A non-packed cucumber rapidly loses 3.5% of its weight in the first three days after harvesting. A packed cucumber slows down this aging process: it loses only 1.5% of its weight in two weeks! This makes an enormous difference. Shrink foil has even more advantages in addition to a longer shelf life. For example, the burden on the environment caused by the packaging is considerably lower than the environmental burden caused by the cultivation and transport of the cucumber. When a cucumber is discarded, the energy that was used (and therefore the environmental burden) is lost.
Most cucumber packaging is produced from a polyethylene recyclable fossil-based raw material. Nowadays, there are many innovations in reusable cucumber packaging, for example, we are able to produce bio-based and biodegradable cucumber shrink foil. But… which variety is the correct choice?
Bio-based – recyclable cucumber foil
When we produce bio-based cucumber shrink foil, we use at least 80% bio-based raw materials, which are 4-star certified and originate from plant material such as sugar canes. The packaging has the same features as the usual fossil-based cucumber shrink foil and is extremely suitable for recycling. Because the raw material is plant material, CO2 is extracted from the air. The production of this packaging causes far less CO2 emission than the extraction from the air by the sugar canes during the growth process. The result is that this bio-based foil has a negative CO2 footprint and it is perfectly suitable for recycling after use.
Biodegradable – compostable cucumber foil
When we produce biodegradable cucumber shrink foil, we use the raw material polylactic acid (PLA), which ensures that the foil is 100% degradable in a compost heap or in an industrial compostable process (OK HOME compostable). The CO2 emission of the raw material production of bio-degradable cucumber shrink foil is higher than the bio-based and fossil-based recyclable raw materials. Furthermore, the compostable raw material cannot be recycled; you can use it only once. However, the packaging will compost or decompose for 100%.
What is the correct choice?
The correct choice depends on the use of the foil during the waste phase.
Choose a biodegradable variety, if this provides an advantage in the entire chain. If the cucumber waste is discarded together with the packaging, then select a biodegradable packaging.
If you can discard the cucumber waste and the packaging separately, then opt for a bio-based recyclable variety. After all, the packaging can be recycled.
Are you looking for a sustainable solution for your packaging? We like to think along with you and see which packaging is the correct option to use. For example, using the Ecochain calculation method we can calculate what is the environmental impact of the various cucumber foil qualities.
Written by Piet van den Oord