Sealed Air Corp., Charlotte, N.C., announced plans to invest in production capacity at its Simpsonville, S.C., facility to produce plant-based food packaging. This facility is said to be the first in North America to produce materials made from Plantic plant-based resin and post-consumer plastic. Plus, the 1.4-million-square-foot operation is said to be one of the world’s largest packaging plants with over 1,000 employees.

In June 2018, Sealed Air and Kuraray America, Inc., Houston, Texas, entered into an agreement to offer Plantic materials to package perishable foods such as poultry, beef and seafood in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Construction for the $24 million plant is underway, with production scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2020. To support this work, Kuraray is investing approximately $15 million to install plant-based, high-barrier resin production and supporting capabilities in Houston, Texas. Kuraray’s resin plant is scheduled to be completed at the end of September, and will begin operating in early 2020.

“This collaborative effort with Kuraray expands our ability to deliver innovative, sustainable food packaging solutions that leave our world, environment and communities better than we found them,” says Ted Doheny, president and CEO for Sealed Air. “This investment also helps us reach our commitment to deliver 100% recyclable or reusable packaging offerings, and 50% average recycled content across all packaging solutions by 2025.”

As upgrades to both facilities progress, Sealed Air will continue to serve customers in North America by importing materials from Plantic Australia.

“Kuraray continues to pioneer proprietary technology to develop new fields of business, grow globally and improve the environment,” says Katsumasa Yamaguchi, general manager of Sealed Air’s global EVAL division. “We are looking forward to this collaborative investment with Sealed Air, which allows us to produce and offer a high-performing, plant-based packaging option to the food industry on a much larger scale.”