December 2005

SAM’S CLUB presents results of partnership with NatureWorks PLA

Phildadelphia, PA— At the 2005 Sustainable Packaging Forum, NatureWorks LLC and SAM’S CLUB, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., co-presented the results of a year-long program to introduce the use of NatureWorks PLA® in fresh cut produce packaging at SAM’S CLUB and Wal-Mart Super Centers. The clear, thermoformed packaging will begin to appear in stores nationwide beginning in November 2005.

After a year of research and test marketing, replacing conventional packaging with NatureWorks PLA for just four items, it would translate to more than 100 million containers per year for Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

“With this change to packaging made from corn we will save the equivalent of 800,000 gallons of gasoline and reduce more than 11 million lbs. of green house gas emissions from polluting our environment,” said Matt Kistler, vice president product development and private brands SAM’S CLUB.

NatureWorks PLA and its ability to provide a price stable product as the price of oil needed to produce conventional packaging keeps climbing higher and higher is attractive to all clients.

Made from Midwestern field corn, NatureWorks PLA is a bio-based plastic that can be used in a wide range of packaging applications from clear food containers to beverage bottles. The material provides the convenience, look, feel and performance of petroleum-based plastic packaging — while being made from a 100 percent annually renewable natural resource.

The relationship between Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and NatureWorks began in the fall of 2004. Wal-Mart will be replacing existing packaging with NatureWorks PLA products in a series of phases through the supply chain. Phase One will roll out the first week in November 2005 with four products in the fresh produce aisle. Phase Two includes approximately eight million more packaging items with cut vegetable containers. Phase Three, just in time for the holidays, will be new NatureWorks PLA gift cards.

The final phase scheduled for 2005 will include bread bags, donut boxes and select tomato packaging.

The technology to produce NatureWorks PLA essentially harvests the starch stored in corn into natural plant sugars. The sugar is then fermented into lactic acid, which is used to create a clear plastic called polylactide (PLA) that can be shaped into a variety of bottles, containers, trays, film and other packaging.

NatureWorks PLA offers many other environmentally preferred benefits. From cradle to resin, its production uses 68 percent less fossil fuel resources than traditional plastics and it is the world’s first greenhouse-gas-neutral polymer.


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