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Zume and Solenis partner on PFA-free molded fiber packaging and manufacturing playbook

A Zume employee inspects a tray
In conjunction, Zume is announcing it will no longer manufacture any products that contain PFAS from its California packaging facility effective immediately.

Zume has partnered with Solenis to open-source a PFAS-free food packaging replacement for food packaging manufacturers and CPG brands across the global market.

In conjunction, Zume is announcing it will no longer manufacture any products that contain PFAS from its California packaging facility effective immediately and the company is collaborating with its global partners to ensure that all production globally is PFA-free by the end of 2021.

"Open sourcing our PFA-free solution creates a path for brands across the world to remove plastics and harmful chemicals from their consumer packaging and single-use goods," said Zume CEO and Chairman Alex Garden. "Brands have made pledges to remove PFAS and this new launch will enable them to deliver on their promises." 

After 9 months of deep collaboration and R&D to create a solution that reduces the need for single-use plastics, Zume and Solenis are open-sourcing the recipe and manufacturing process so that all packaging manufacturers can adopt the technique and speed up the removal of harmful chemicals.

The new scientific report co-written by Zume and Solenis, Putting Forever Chemicals to Rest: An Open Source Guide to PFAS-Free Packaging, details the findings from both company's scientists as they created and tested the new process. The co-authors conclude that products leveraging the new solution will be fully compostable within 90 days of disposal.

The joint team identified five key parameters—thermoforming, freeness, chemistry management, charge management and part formation—for achieving oil and grease resistance with chemistry that eliminated PFAS and achieved two hours of oil holdout with 60°C oil. By following these process parameters and control strategies, manufacturers around the world will be able to provide end-use consumers with a fully functional product that does not pose a health risk.

PFAS and polyfluoroalkyl substances, largely known as forever chemicals, are used to coat paper and cardboard containers for fast food and to-go boxes and have been linked to potentially harmful health effects, including decreased fertility, weakened immune system response and increased risk for certain cancers, according to the CDC. The Food and Drug Administration has mandated that these substances will not be allowed in the manufacturing of food contact packaging after January 2024.

The study's participants were Pamela Horine, VP Product Research and Compliance, Zume, Inc., Christopher Dilkus, Senior Research Scientist, Solenis LLC, Cindy Chau, Quality Engineer, Zume Inc., and Dottie Klein, Assistant Manager Sales, Solenis, LLC. 

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