Dr. Bettina Plaumann

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Dr. Bettina Plaumann

Contact us

Kuraray: Sustainable packaging made of paper and innovative polymers

Author Dr. Bettina Plaumann

Sustainability is the big trend in the packaging market. The focus is on using renewable raw materials, cutting CO2 emissions and developing monomaterial-based packaging. Recyclability and circularity are major challenges. Therefore, the repulpability, recyclability, compostability and biodegradability of packaging are becoming more important.

More sustainability and less use of resources are big challenges for society – worldwide. These days, consumers consciously give preference to sustainable packaging that can be recycled. Big brands and retailers in the food industry such as Danone, Mondelez, Nestlé and Unilever along with Sainsbury’s and Walmart have already issued voluntary commitments on sustainability – the sector has set circular packaging solutions as its goal.

Innovative materials

Innovation is key to achieving these objectives. Kuraray’s products and know-how make an essential contribution to the development of innovative packaging. Why continue to package coffee beans in aluminium pouches when paper pouches with a PLANTIC™ layer also provide an excellent barrier to oxygen? PLANTIC™ is a biopolymer derived from starch. Moreover, packaging with water-dispersible, biodegradable PLANTIC™ ensures that paper fibres can be repulped without difficulty.

Another example is EVAL™ – our ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymer. Inserting a barrier layer of innovative EVAL™ SC resin between two layers of polyethylene produces a shrink bag for fresh red meat that is both super transparent and recyclable. The thin layer of EVAL™ EVOH produces particularly light and resource-saving packaging.

Another highlight: Kuraray is the first EVOH producer to offer biocircular EVOH with ISCC PLUS certification. Certification is based on the mass-balance approach and documents the fact that the ethylene monomer in EVAL™ is produced from renewable resources.

Just as good – but more sustainable

As a brand owner, you are under pressure to come up with new and more sustainable packaging solutions as quickly as possible, without any reduction in functionality. Here is an example: If you just want to reduce the film layers in multilayer packaging you could simply reduce the weight. However, using thinner layers might mean the packaging no longer has the required barrier properties. What you need are innovative materials.

Kuraray’s products and sector insight can give you completely new options. In our case studies, which you can download below, you can read more about new packaging concepts that successfully combine sustainability with functionality.

We know that every customer has different needs. Your packaging requirements are very specific. And so are the innovative solutions we develop together with you. We’re convinced we can only design the future by working together. That’s what our Innovation Networking Center (INC) is all about. Here, we network our expert knowledge on a global scale within the company and beyond. By networking, sharing knowledge and working together at the INC, we can create value and come up with innovations – with and for our customers.

Kuraray offers a broad portfolio of high-performance materials for paper packaging and plastic packaging.

A global perspective on the sustainability megatrend

Sustainability is the megatrend in the packaging industry. However, it also results in regional differences in the demands made by consumers, legislators and regulators. In recent years, governments in many countries have responded to consumer concerns by endeavouring to reduce packaging waste and improve waste management systems. Unfortunately, the regulations vary greatly from one country to another. At present, there is no global harmonization. Moreover, many countries do not have the necessary recycling infrastructure and processes.

As a brand owner, you may have to adopt new material concepts to make sure your packaging can be recycled locally. For example, repulpable packaging made primarily of paper with only a thin barrier layer can be a worthwhile goal. Ideally, a suitable, water-soluble film should improve the paper fibre yield in the repulping process. Alternatively, you could opt for a monomaterial composite with a very thin yet highly functional barrier layer that does not interfere with common recycling processes. Depending on the applicable regional requirements, such packaging can be recycled as a monomaterial. There are many ways to make your packaging much more sustainable and adapt it to local requirements.

MonoSol water-soluble films are an ideal packaging solution for applications such as tide pods and dishwasher tabs. A packaging that can dissolve residue-free does not need to be recycled.

Our approach: A fresh perspective on packaging

Kuraray’s products form the basis for innovative packaging that provides the necessary functionality as well as being efficient and sustainable. We can help you turn your packaging challenges into opportunities.

Barrier packaging materials

A barrier is anything that blocks passage, i.e. what leaves or enters the package. Barrier materials are impermeable structures that prevent oxygen and gases flowing in or out, keeping flavours and aromas inside, and contaminants and potential pollutants out. In this way, barriers extend the shelf life of valuable (food) products and help prevent them spoiling and turning into waste. 

Barrier packaging is most commonly used to protect food but there are many other goods that are also susceptible to contamination. These include detergents, personal care products such as lotions and shampoos, and many more.  

Kuraray offers barrier materials for different processing technologies: from (co-)extrusion, (co-)injection and lamination to coating with films and aqueous solutions. Our portfolio includes bio-based, biodegradable and compostable products, as well as sealing films. 

Paper packaging with a barrier layer

Paper packaging is becoming increasingly popular. Not least because these days many consumers routinely recycle paper. As a result, paper has a better image than plastics. Consumers regard paper packaging as more sustainable – and better quality. By using paper packaging, brand owners can show that they take quality and sustainability seriously. However, 100% paper packaging is not generally suitable for food. A suitable barrier layer is needed to resist moisture, oxygen and grease and seal in aroma.

That’s where Kuraray’s innovative solutions come in. Our products help you design customized paper packaging which meets all functional requirements – including for food. In addition, our experts will help you develop paper packaging concepts based on our barrier materials that meet repulpability requirements.

Woof! Rover appreciates the sustainable paper packaging that keeps his food fresh, dry and tasty – thanks to barrier layers from his favourite people at Kuraray.

Sustainable plastic packaging

Plastic packaging deserves special attention in the quest to improve the sustainability of packaging. Reducing the amount of material, using plastics made from renewable resources and designing recyclable packaging are important to enhance the sustainability of plastic packaging. Products from Kuraray open up a wide range of possibilities.

We offer materials with a variety of benefits: bio-based, recyclable, water-soluble, fully biodegradable or compostable (industrial or home composting). In many cases, our products can be used for very thin barrier layers. These can greatly reduce the amount of material used in your packaging and even ensure that packaging can be recycled as a monomaterial.

As you can see: plastic packaging has enormous innovative potential. Our products and expertise can help you utilize that potential.

Smart barrier layers for monomaterial plastic food packaging reduce waste and preserve functionality. Kuraray markets FDA and EU-approved grades for various products.

What makes us unique

Innovative products and applications
Global network of local experts
Sustainable, end-to-end solutions

Kuraray in action

Kuraray offers you a wide range of high-performance materials for functional and sustainable packaging for many different applications and use cases. Our innovative products enable you to overcome your specific sustainability challenges – and even play a key role in your sector.

Get inspired! Download our case studies and find out what’s possible!

Innovative packaging for coffee beans

Facilitate the recyclability of coffee bean pouches by replacing aluminium foil with EXCEVAL™, EVAL™ and PLANTIC™ solutions that retain oxygen and aroma barrier performance.

Dry food packed in paper

Facilitate recyclability of dry food packaging by replacing plastic pouches with KURARAY POVAL™/EXCEVAL™, EVAL™, and PLANTIC™ that ensure an oxygen, moisture, and aroma barrier.

Safe and sustainable packaging for meat

Facilitate recyclability meat packaging by replacing PVDC shrink foil with EVAL™ and PLANTIC™ solutions that fulfil regional preferences and improve shelf-life.

Innovative packaging for dry pet food

Facilitate recyclability of dry pet food packaging by replacing fluoropolymers with EVAL™, EXCEVAL™, and PLANTIC™ solutions that maintain the odour and grease barrier performance.

Innovative packaging for personal care products

Faciltate recyclability of personal care packaging by using Kuraray MonoSol, EVAL™ and PLANTIC solutions that protect shower gels, body creams and lotions from odours and moisture.

Inspired but still have questions? Contact our packaging experts – they will be happy to advise you.

Our key products

From raw materials to ready-to-use films: our products help you find innovative packaging concepts that meet all your functional requirements and greatly increase the sustainability of your packaging. All Kuraray products have their own specific benefits – for example, biodegradability, water-solubility, recyclability, repulpability or compostability.


Polyvinyl alcohols

KURARAY POVAL™ is the brand name for our polyvinyl alcohols (PVOH). These water-soluble products have high tensile strength and elasticity. EXCEVAL™ is our highly water-resistant PVOH.


Water-soluble films

MonoSol is the pioneering technology for single-unit dosage. Water-soluble MonoSol films are suitable for a wide range of applications.


Ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers

A thin barrier layer of EVAL™ EVOH enables particularly lightweight, resource-saving packaging and therefore reduces waste.


The biopolymer made from starch

PLANTIC™ is our biopolymer offering. It has a high gas barrier and is used, for example, in compostable and easy-to-recycle multilayer packaging.

Recent blog posts

What are MOSH and MOAH?

Thermoplastic starch (TPS): A green, biodegradable plastic

What is modified atmosphere packaging?


You can meet experts from Kuraray’s Paper & Packaging team at conferences and trade shows around the world. Take a look at the calendar below – and contact us if you need more information.

Next Events

April 10th – 11th, 2024

Valencia Conference Center

Valencia, Spain

TAPPI FlexPack PLACE Conference,
April 14th – 17th, 2024

Wyndham San Diego Bayside

San Diego, CA, United States

Middle East Coatings Show
April 16th – 18th, 2024

Dubai World Trade Center

Dubai, UAE

April 23th – 26th, 2024

KINTEX (Korea International Exhibition Center)

Goyang, Korea

TAPPICon 2024,
April 28th – May 01th, 2024

Huntington Convention Center

Cleveland, OH, United States

Booth 214

NPE Show 2024 – The Plastics Show,
May 6th – 10th, 2024

Orange County Convention Center

SH-7 – West Building Level 2 – Expo Hall

Orlando, FL, United States

CoFE Conference of Food Engineering,
August 25th – 28th, 2024

Westin Hotel

Seattle, WA – United States

PROPAK West Africa 2024
September 10th – 12th, 2024

Landmark Centre

Lagos, Nigeria

Speciality Papers US
October 15th – 17th, 2024

Milwaukee Marriott Downtown

Milwaukee, WI – United States

September 23th – 27, 2024

Centro Internacional de Negocios y Exposiciones CORFERIAS

Bogotá, Colombia

Our Innovation Networking Center (INC)

From reducing energy usage to adopting recyclable materials, the challenges our customers face in creating a more sustainable future cannot be solved in isolation.
Collaboration, imagination and passion are needed to make positive changes for people and the planet. That will enable us to achieve what no one else can.
INC connects Kuraray’s application expertise and broad portfolio of materials to the unmet needs of our customers. By bridging the gap between the desired end-product and the raw materials that provide the foundations for change, together we can create a more sustainable future.
Since 1926, we have worked to develop innovations for a better tomorrow, solve social issues, and create new value through our business activities. Through the INC, we are fulfilling our desire to discover and co-create new solutions with our partners – working together towards a fairer, safer and more sustainable future. Drawing on decades of expertise to tailor each solution to your unique needs. We use our comprehensive range of resources and service offerings to turn your next ambitious idea into reality.

You have ideas for ground-breaking solutions and are looking for a sparring partner to help you channel your innovations in the right direction?

Contact our experts at the INC right now!

Contact INC

Sustainability at Kuraray

Kuraray has a clear vision: as a sustainability leader, Kuraray will develop innovative solutions with unique products and cleaner technologies to improve the natural environment and enhance quality of life for people everywhere.

Working to enhance sustainability has many facets. At Kuraray, it has four dimensions: the planet, people, products and prosperity. Our plan is to improve the natural environment, create integrative jobs, enable innovation for sustainable products and build and promote a prosperous society.

To fulfil our climate responsibility, we at Kuraray intend to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 (compared with 2019) and to be climate-neutral by 2050. By 2026, we plan to generate 60 percent of sales with products that make a contribution to protecting the environment. In 2020, such products accounted for 46 percent of sales.

In short, sustainability is firmly rooted in Kuraray’s corporate culture.

Find out more

Kuraray is committed to developing new business areas using pioneering technology that improves the environment and enhances the quality of life throughout the world.

Rigid and flexible packaging

Packaging materials from Kuraray give you the freedom you need to design functional packaging for your products. Almost any shape is possible: tubs, pouches, bottles, bag-in-box, trays, pods, fruit sleeves … the possibilities are endless. Whatever you opt for, our technical experts can help you develop the optimal packaging structure. That’s why Kuraray is the ideal choice for brand owners and packaging producers. The benefits are clear: you gain a flexible, top-performing partner that offers a full range of sustainable products – backed up by extensive sector insight and technological know-how. That saves you time and money in the development of sustainable and innovative packaging. We can help you meet all the demands made on your new packaging – with optimal products from Kuraray.

Kuraray provides materials and know-how for all types of paper and plastic packaging – from rigid to flexible.

Real benefits

Our broad spectrum of innovative packaging materials makes it possible to develop new packaging solutions tailored specifically to your requirements. No matter what your sustainable paper or plastic packaging should look like: our materials offer real benefits.

Looking for a solution tailored specifically to your needs? Thanks to our extensive product know-how, we can help you define and develop exactly what you’re looking for. The local experts in Kuraray’s global Paper & Packaging team are always ready to work with you to redesign your packaging: to increase efficiency, functionality and sustainability. We offer the right combination of materials to balance the functional and regulatory requirements made on your packaging.

You can rely on us: we have plenty of ideas for innovative solutions for a more sustainable future. With Kuraray at your side, you will find the right answers – to new packaging and recycling regulations, supply chain requirements, and consumers’ rising sustainability requirements.

We are convinced that “You can’t create the future alone.”
Contact us – we’re always here for you!


Here you can find press release and publications for the paper and plastic packaging industry. Please contact us if you have any questions.

September 24, 2023

Kuraray in ‘Sustainable Packaging’: Packaging materials designed for a circular economy

In this article Didier Houssier, Global Market Development Director at Kuraray, discusses how EVAL™ EVOH contributes to the circular economy model.

August 01, 2023

Interview with ‘Packaging Europe’: Kuraray on LCAs, paper vs plastic, and collaborating with key brand owners

In this installment of our ‘In Conversation With…’ feature, Heiko Mack, Director of Kuraray’s Poval Business, discusses how Kuraray approaches key sustainability…

April 14, 2023

Kuraray showcases bio-circular EVAL™ EVOH as well as global innovation initiative at Interpack

At Kuraray’s booth (Hall 10, D63) visitors will have the opportunity to experience the excellent gas barrier performance of EVAL™. …

March 26, 2023

Kuraray Develops High-Barrier, Recyclable Resin for Paper Coating

Paper-based PLANTIC™ EP resin-coated pouch earns prestigious recycling certification from Western Michigan University. …

January 31, 2023

Kuraray performs LCAs to make the sustainability of its products more transparent

Kuraray has had a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) carried out by Sphera Solutions for four of its products manufactured in Europe. …

January 19, 2023

Kuraray Showcases Innovative Barrier Solutions for Medical & Pharmaceutical Packaging at Pharmapack 2023

Kuraray, the globally active specialty chemicals company headquartered in Japan, will be exhibiting at Pharmapack …

October 11, 2022

K 2022: Kuraray Drives Circular Economy with PLANTIC™ Biopolymer

For Kuraray, the globally active specialty chemicals company headquartered in Japan, the focus at K…

August 15, 2022

New possibilities through innovation and sustainability define Kuraray’s appearance at K2022

Sustainable Bio-Circular EVAL™ and GENESTAR™-composites for hydrogen tanks

March 17, 2022

90 percent recycling rate by 2030: Kuraray joins 4evergreen alliance for innovative circular concepts for fibre-based packaging

The 4evergreen alliance aims to raise the recycling rate of fibre-based packaging in Europe to 90 percent by 2030. As a new member of this alliance,…