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IP 570 PT Scheme's packaging a first!

Stanhope-Seta Ltd is the first company in Europe to adopt the latest Biodegradable packaging material which is uniquely based around mycelium - the root like structure under a mushroom. The new bio-compostable material, known as Restore™ is grown into custom shapes that exactly fit the components being packed. Once used the waste packaging is 100% compostable and presents no environmental impact.

In summer 2014 Stanhope Seta commenced a project to convert packing key product lines to a more environmentally friendly system. The first product selected was the IP 570 Proficiency Test Scheme which involves sending test kits to customers on a monthly basis. The existing packaging solution used a combination of cardboard and foam to ensure safe delivery – the key being not to break the two small glass bottles supplied with each kit. Working with Sealed Air a tool was designed and the mycelium grown to fill the tool. Samples were then sent to a number of customers to ensure that the solution provided enough protection for the glass. The tests also ensured that the new packaging material was allowed into countries which have restrictions on packing materials. Two such countries in which tests were conducted were Australia and China. The tests proved successful with no breakages and there were no restrictions on importing the material. Packing was also found to be simpler and quicker.

Restore™ material comes about through combining mycelium with agricultural waste which it binds into a strong composite offering high performance cushioning. It grows within its mould in the space of five days after which it is heat-treated in order to halt growth. In the first instance Sealed Air will be 'farming' the packaging in the USA but the intention is to move production to Europe and to use local sources of waste as a feedstock.

“The Restore™ material is a real breakthrough in packaging," remarked project manager Ingrid Barlebo-Larsen. "We can now grow custom packaging material for our range of instruments, which gives us better packing and importantly the solution has no environmental impact.”

Stanhope-Seta is now committed to the migration of more products to this unique and innovative packaging solution.

Copyright Stanhope–Seta Limited 2014