(March 18) BORDEN-CARLETON, Prince Edward Island — There are many forms of biodegradable packaging on the market right now, but not many that can stand up to the rigors of baking, microwaving and freezing.

That’s the idea behind a line of packaging coming to North America for the first time through Apack Canada, a subsidiary of Apack Ag, a packaging company based in Losaurach, Germany.

USED IN EUROPE

Alan MacDonald, one of the partners in Apack Canada, said the packaging has been used in European countries for more than a year, with retailers such as London-based Sainsbury PLC using it in their produce departments.

“We are the first ones to bring it to North America,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said the packaging, which can turn completely to compost in about 14 days, has a variety of applications for the produce industry, including fresh apples, fresh-cut tomatoes and citrus. These can all be put in a biodegradable tray and sealed with a biodegradable film.

The trays are made from a combination of proprietary ingredients as well as starch, fiber and water.

MacDonald said the organic community is already showing an interest in the new products, with Sainsbury using them primarily for its organic produce.

“The clientele who is buying organic is already educated in that area,” he said. “This is a natural fit.”

FULL-SCALE PRODUCTION

The packaging is expected to be launched on full-scale production this summer. MacDonald said production would begin no earlier than June, but no later than September, depending on how much demand there was.

Marketing for the containers, which include a variety of trays and tray sizes, will be based on the European model. MacDonald said he and his partner, Roger Bruce, are planning to start at the retail level and work their way into other areas they think the containers will be applicable, including frozen foods and fast-food restaurants.

MacDonald said the containers can be made to fit the customer’s needs as far as strength, size and color.

“We can make these very strong,” he said. “And we can do them in any color you want.”

For more information, call MacDonald at (902) 437-6667 or e-mail amacdonald@apackcanada.com.