Where You Find Challenges, You'll Find IGI
At the heart of our sustainable product efforts is the packaging and paper industry. Maximizing the renewability of corrugated packaging, containers, paper board and coated paper goes to the heart of modern environmental waste management. IGI’s waxes critically impact the product performance for all of these industries. And all of these industries are center-stage when it comes to leading the conversation about environmental responsibility and sustainability. As a product-partner, IGI is proud to be pursuing sustainability across our entire product range.
The versatile line of IGI waxes have many desirable properties that minimize waste and assure cost efficiency. Attributes that companies around the world are taking advantage of right now.
Polystyrene and plastic continues to be replaced by coated paper board and waxed paper in the quick-service-food industry. Life-cycle analysis demonstrates that on a per unit basis, lightweight waxed paper dramatically reduces energy usage, air and waterborne emissions and waste disposal. This application demonstrates the extraordinary efficiency of waxes as a barrier material on paper substrates. In addition to the supply chain sustainability advantages, fully refined paraffins are also inherently biodegradable and compostable.
Across IGI's business activities, you'll find us partnered with key players in materials handling, advanced recycling processes, renewable product manufacturing and materials research.
Today, wax (blended or otherwise) is the proven performance leader for product protection and human safety. Today, wax is the trusted safe and flexible moisture barrier in use worldwide. IGI continues to cultivate new products and alternative wax blends to serve customers confronted with unique performance requirements, accelerated environmental goals and advanced product development. With industries confronted with change from many perspectives, IGI is proud to say, we're always looking for what's next.
The Perfect Blend
More than twenty years ago, IGI illustrated this commitment to new ideas by exploring vegetable wax blends to reduce our reliance on traditional feedstocks. Now in our third decade designing and manufacturing blended waxes, IGI is a recognized resource for customers who want to create the perfect blend for a specific performance need or recycling objective.
At IGI, customer confidence in our environmental stewardship is important to us. Environmental initiatives are cumulative. We all have a responsibility to do our part. At IGI, we are in the trenches asking questions, conducting research and pursuing possibilities for sustainability.
The challenge of recycling wax coatings resides at the intersection of many industries. It's a big challenge, and IGI is playing a big role. Our partnerships with companies in the recycling community are making exciting breakthroughs in coating/substrate separation that are going live in paper mills today. Advanced materials research is ongoing and new options are growing and maturing every year.
Recyclable Barrier Treatments: Advanced Waterborne Emulsions
Build next-generation recyclability into your products with IGI’s waterborne emulsified coatings. With IGI’s Enviro-Coating product line, coated corrugated materials can be redirected from landfills to recycling plants. This advantage converts a cost (transport to landfill) to a profit (sale of materials to recycler) giving customers an environmental and economic benefit.
Enviro-Coating Products exceed qualification standards for recyclability of coated corrugated board. The standard requires 80% fiber yield from the product. IGI’s Enviro-Coatings exceed 95% fiber yield. They also fulfill the requirements to meet the new FBA Protocol for both recycling and repulping making them candidates for a wide variety of end use applications that desire optimum recyclability.
IGI began working with vegetable based waxes more than twenty years ago. The work has been focused on balancing our reliance on traditional feedstocks. Vegetable waxes are annually renewable and can be utilized as a key blending component in numerous wax blends.
Compostability of Wax-based Coatings
In past years, used waxed paper substrates were typically shipped to landfills for disposal. Because waxes have been found to offer superior performance to many alternative materials this practice has been accepted. As part of IGI’s goal to enhance the environmental impact of our products we have strongly pursued compostable / biodegradable and repulpable / recyclable coatings. IGI began working with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) to assess the impact of waxed substrates on biodegradability (via composting). The BPI is an industry leader in the certification of materials and products that demonstrate that they meet the requirements in ASTM D6400 or D6868.
IGI submitted various waxed substrates covering numerous end use constructions (cold drink cups, quick service food wrappers, corrugated boxes) for testing. Based on the body of information, the reviewers concluded that all IGI paraffin and paraffin – vegetable blends will meet biodegradation requirements. Hence, products manufactured with these waxes hold the potential to meet the requirements of ASTM D6868, "Standard Specification for Biodegradable Plastics Used as Coatings on Paper and Other Compostable Substrates"
IGI has also secured BPI approval on our Aquaban line of waterborne emulsions marketed through Enviro-Coatings.
Composting plays a key role in any strategic plan for waste management and recovery. While it is an ancient process, composting is re-emerging with proven practicality. Composting pilot facilities are now operating in urban centers across North America.
The key to a successful composting operation is the quality of compost product, which determines the uses to which the materials can be put. At IGI we have investigated the composting of waxed packaging with both academic and industrial experts.
Waxed corrugated containers, with suitable subdivision and composition, can produce compost of good quality. The wax itself contributes to temperature generation and an extended thermal period, which is advantageous for pathogen inactivation. Under good composting conditions paraffin wax can obtain nearly complete percent decomposition. Ultimately, the compost quality depends on the comprehensive packaging components which can include boron from adhesives, and metals from printing inks. Such factors remind us that sustainability is a team effort across all industries within a supply chain.