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The Difference Between Natureflex and Cellophane (FREE)

What is the difference between Cellophane and Natureflex? This is a FREE article

Important Message

The initial article was published on the 2nd March 2022. Futamura contacted me through their PR agency on 4th March 2022 and they provided enough evidence for me to (1) correct this article, (2) add their reply in the text + at the bottom and (3) express my apologies.


Today, the company called Futamura Group owns the Cellophane and Natureflex brands. They bought it from a company called from Innovia a few years ago. Just before selling them, Innovia described the brands as follow:

  • Cellophane

Flexible cellulose film manufactured from renewable wood pulp and used widely especially in packaging – confectionery (twist wrap) bakery, yeast and cheese wrap as well as box overwrap .

  • Natureflex

Flexible cellulose film manufactured from renewable wood pulp and taking the Cellophane™ concept to the next level by being fully renewable and certified compostable according to various industry standards.  This range also offers a wide range of ‘end-of-life’ options.

Cellophane

Cellophane was invented by a Swiss gentleman called  Jacques E. Brandenberger in the beginning of the 20th century.

Cellophane was initially a brand, but it became a generic word to describe plastic films. In French speaking countries such as France and Switzerland, people still use the word “Cellophane” to describe plastic films even if the films are produced by the Chinese under another brand name.

The original Cellophane material was made from wood cellulose. Cellophane is thus initially a bioplastics.

Nowadays much of what we refer to as “Cellophane” is actually plastic wrap derived from petroleum. PVC has been used since the 1960s and polypropylene since the 1980s.

In the manufacturing process, an alkaline solution of cellulose fibres (usually wood or cotton) known as viscose is extruded through a narrow slit into an acid bath.

The acid regenerates the cellulose, forming a film. Further treatment, such as washing and bleaching, yields cellophane.

And to conclude, we could say that Cellophane is the grand father of Natureflex.

Additional Info provided by Futamura:

Cellophane™ is a trademark of Futamura and should only be used as such. Unfortunately, to the uninitiated cellophane is sometimes misused to describe simple plastic packaging films. However, true Cellophane™ is a range of coated and uncoated cellulose based packaging films made from renewable wood pulp, sourced from responsibly managed plantations. CellophaneTM films are not certified as compostable.

Futamura

Natureflex

I contacted a Futamura Director a few years ago to have more information about the Cellophane and Natureflex brands.

For a reason that I still don’t know today, the correspondence was terminated abruptly.

Over the years, I’ve tried to find the difference between both materials but it was very hard, almost impossible, until recently.

Whenever there’s a transparent compostable plastic films on the market … it’s probably Natureflex.

Futamura supplies Natureflex to smaller companies that will convert them into plastic film packaging applications.

Additional Info provided by Futamura:

NatureFlex™ is the younger sister product of Cellophane™, also a range of coated and uncoated cellulose packaging films, made from >90% renewable raw materials (wood pulp) sourced from responsibly managed plantations. However, NatureFlex has also undergone rigorous independent verification to achieve its compostable certifications. The full range of NatureFlex films meet international standards for industrial compostability, such EN13432 and are certified By TUV Austria for both industrial and home composting.

Futamura

Correction

In my initial text, I wrongly assumed that Futamura supplied Natureflex films to Tipa.

In a press release / article about Tipa, I read that Tipa supplied films to a company called Jac Vandenberg. In the article we could read that those films were made of 20 biobased and 80 % fossil based (PBAT ) polymers.

As a result, I draw the wrong conclusion in my initial article that Natureflex films were equal to 20 % biobased cellophane and 80% PBAT.

Here’s a fragment of the article in question:

The SUNRAYS grape BIO bags will be available in limited supply this winter. Developed and produced by Israeli-based company TIPA®, the BIO bags are made from 20 percent bio-based plastic and 80 percent fully compostable fossil-based polymers, allowing them to disintegrate within 6 months with an active and healthy compost heap. (Ref: Jac. Vandenberg’s John Paap Details New SUNRAYS® Home-Compostable Grape BIO Bags)

Here’s a screenshot of the text:

Source: https://www.andnowuknow.com/shop-talk/jac-vandenbergs-john-paap-details-new-sunrays-home-compostable-grape-bio/chandler-james/77053

Additional Info provided by Futamura:

There must have been a misunderstanding as Tipa film and NatureFlex™ are not one and the same product. They are two very different films, owned by two completely separate companies. The 20% biobased content and 80% PBAT that you refer to might be the case for Tipa film (?) and we would invite you to speak to Tipa for further information about their products. For your information I have attached a couple of reports which clearly demonstrate the biobased carbon content of NatureFlex films is >90%.

Futamura

Compostable

Futamura Natureflex is certified as compostable”. This means that it’s “theoretically” compostable in a lab. However … 99.99% of the industrial composters worldwide do not accept “compostable” plastics as they consider it as a contaminant. Most plastic films cannot be recycled because they’re considered a “hard-to-recycle” plastics. Futamura Natureflex films packaging probably end up landfilled or incinerated.

Additional Info provided by Futamura:

You reference the infrastructure for compostable packaging: there are a growing number of organic waste recycling centres that accept compostable packaging, with more than 40 in the UK alone. Both Italy and Ireland are excellent examples of successful organic waste recycling schemes that accept and revalorise compostable packaging. The whole recycling infrastructure is evolving, as are packaging films. It is also interesting to note, for the purposes of balance, that currently very few conventional plastic packaging films are able to be recycled. In the UK, only about 6% of flexible films are currently recycled, according to WRAP.

Futamura

Full Reply from Futamura

Here’s the full reply received from Futamura’s PR agency:

Clarifications:

Cellophane™ is a trademark of Futamura and should only be used as such. Unfortunately, to the uninitiated cellophane is sometimes misused to describe simple plastic packaging films. However, true Cellophane™ is a range of coated and uncoated cellulose based packaging films made from renewable wood pulp, sourced from responsibly managed plantations. CellophaneTM films are not certified as compostable.

NatureFlex™ is the younger sister product of Cellophane™, also a range of coated and uncoated cellulose packaging films, made from >90% renewable raw materials (wood pulp) sourced from responsibly managed plantations. However, NatureFlex has also undergone rigorous independent verification to achieve its compostable certifications. The full range of NatureFlex films meet international standards for industrial compostability, such EN13432 and are certified By TUV Austria for both industrial and home composting.

There must have been a misunderstanding as Tipa film and NatureFlex™ are not one and the same product. They are two very different films, owned by two completely separate companies. The 20% biobased content and 80% PBAT that you refer to might be the case for Tipa film (?) and we would invite you to speak to Tipa for further information about their products. For your information I have attached a couple of reports which clearly demonstrate the biobased carbon content of NatureFlex films is >90%.

You reference the infrastructure for compostable packaging: there are a growing number of organic waste recycling centres that accept compostable packaging, with more than 40 in the UK alone. Both Italy and Ireland are excellent examples of successful organic waste recycling schemes that accept and revalorise compostable packaging. The whole recycling infrastructure is evolving, as are packaging films. It is also interesting to note, for the purposes of balance, that currently very few conventional plastic packaging films are able to be recycled. In the UK, only about 6% of flexible films are currently recycled, according to WRAP.

Final Remarks

I made a wrong assumption and made a mistake which I corrected. I would also like to apologise to Futamura for the inconvenience.

We’re humans, we make mistake .. it’s normal. But it’s also very important to recognise your mistake and rectify your faults.

Download the documents (provided by Futamura)

History of Cellophane


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