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Water-based barrier coating from Cascades Sonoco

July 13, 2016  By Cindy Macdonald

After three years of rigorous product development and field trial work, Cascades Sonoco, is introducing a water-based barrier coating to replace the standard polyethylene coating used on folding carton grades to make traditional food take-out containers. Incorporating the new FlexSHIELD barrier coating makes the take out box compostable when applied to recycled paperboard, without compromising critical barrier performance, the company says.

“Given the increasing demand for paper-based take-out containers, and in light of many cities banning expanded polystyrene containers (the white Styrofoam food containers you see so often), FlexSHIELD offers a unique, functional and viable option for making paperboard take-out containers much more environmentally attractive given their compostability,” said Sandy McArthur, director of sales and marketing, Cascades Sonoco.

Already adopted by the leading natural and organic food supermarket chains in North America, FlexSHIELD is the first water-based coating designed to be flexible and resist cracking when the folding boxboard is cut, scored, bent and folded, all without losing its important barrier properties. FlexSHIELD’s unique design functions like polyethylene, but is also compostable in industrial composting facilities.


“During the development of this product, we had numerous companies tell us if we could solve the cracking issues with a water-based solution, we would really be on to something the market has been asking about for a very long time. Many companies have been attempting to solve this complex technical challenge for years, and we are extremely gratified to have reached this milestone. We are excited to make FlexSHIELD barrier coating available to the entire market beginning in July,” said McArthur.

A cost effective, sustainable alternative to poly-based products and PLA, FlexSHIELD protects containers against water, oil grease, sauces, toppings and other liquid or viscous substances. Folded containers made from paperboard with FlexSHIELD are ideal for a wide range of applications: food service trays and takeout, bakery products or any non-food product where leakage of the contents could stain, damage, taint or otherwise affect goods stored in proximity to the container.

Cascades Sonoco is a 50/50 joint venture of two packaging companies, Sonoco and Cascades. It was established in 1992 with the aim of bringing together strong technology platforms for the coating and lamination of industrial papers and other substrates. Cascades Sonoco has four locations: two in the U.S. and two in Canada.

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