The Toppan Printing Company is a large manufacturer of food packaging. Founded in 1990, this publicly-traded company had 1993 net sales of $10 billion. Its main divisions are General Printing and Electronics (48%), Packaging (27%), Publications and Printing (20%), and Scientific Printing (4%). The current products that the Packaging Division manufactures are 65% for food uses, 20% for medical and cosmetics uses, and 15% for other uses. The products range from PET bottles to milk cartons to chip bags and snack packaging. Except for the PET bottles, the company wants to make all of its packaging biodegradable.
- Toppan is developing food packaging using the currently available biodegradable materials.
- Toppan Printing Company has developed a coextrusion process for coating paperboard (such as containers and cups) by using Biopol (R), which consists of a series of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) copolymers that are biodegradable polyesters.
- Toppan wants to convert all of its plastics packaging, except PET bottles, to biodegradable materials. However, since Toppan Printing is not a manufacturing company, it depends on other companies to provide those materials.
- Within the next ten years, the company's research goal is to find a material that performs as well as the current packaging material for less than $2.50/lb.
- Toppan takes the view that the price is more important than whether the material is based on renewable resources or petrochemicals.
- The application areas projected for biodegradable polymers are for all of the packaging that Toppan produces, with the exception of PET soda bottles.
Published: March 1995; WTEC Hyper-Librarian