This Birmingham business just invested $16 million to make recyclable takeout containers

There’s good news for green business here in Birmingham, as a local company moves away from Styrofoam food packaging to a more eco-friendly alternative.

A joint venture between a consumer-packaging company called Sonoco and a recycled-fiber packaging company called Cascades are putting big bucks into its Birmingham-based plant, and the new water-based product that they’re manufacturing means additional jobs, too. About 20, according the Birmingham Business Journal.

Image via cascades-sonoco.com

FlexSHIELD is what you’re seeing in the above photo, and it’s a lining that “is a new aqueous-based barrier coating designed for use in folding carton applications, where scoring and folding often create major challenges,” according to the Cascades-Sonoco website.

FlexSHIELD is a fully compostable product that is FDA compliant, and this water-based alternative to the coatings used in fast-food packaging will be manufactured right here in Birmingham.

Foodbev.com explains it like this:

“The water-based coatings will replace low-density polyethylene (LDPE) coatings on folding cartons—on uses such as burgers, hot dogs and kebabs—which provide barrier protection against water and water vapor. LDPE is also used as a heat sealant, particularly when two sides of the packaging are extrusion coated.”

Work on the $16 million expansion began earlier this year and should be completed and ready to go sometime next year. Recycling Today reports that “the new water-based coating line will be capable of producing 40,000-50,000 tons of sustainable coated materials annually.”