AGI/Klearfold

April 10, 2006 10:00 ET

AGI/Klearfold Introduces NatureSource™ Visual Packaging, North America's First PLA Plastic Folding Cartons; Nature-Based Plastic Made from Corn--a 100% Sustainable, Renewable Domestic Resource

NEW YORK--(CCNMatthews - Apr 10, 2006) -

AGI/Klearfold Innovation Developed in Partnership with NatureWorks LLC and Through an Exclusive Agreement with BI-AX International

AGI/Klearfold introduces NatureSource™ Visual Packaging, revolutionary plastic folding cartons made from corn, a renewable domestic resource. NatureSource Visual Packaging is North America's first commercially viable, high-performance plastic carton made from NatureWorks® PLA (polylactide), a versatile, corn-based polymer. In addition to offering the desirable environmental benefit of being made from a sustainable, annually renewable resource, NatureSource Visual Packaging has clarity and durability that ensure consumer acceptance and powerful brand performance. NatureSource plastic cartons are suitable for any high-quality, value-added visual packaging application, including cosmetics, personal care, liquor, and many other consumer products.

"This is an exciting, historic moment in packaging technology development," says Patrick McGee, director of marketing at AGI/Klearfold. "AGI/Klearfold's 25 years of material and process development experience, structural-design expertise, and manufacturing excellence were essential in bringing to fruition this groundbreaking project. NatureSource Visual Packaging is emblematic of our commitment to developing new products that have the integrity and graphic requirements for high-performance packaging applications. We are extremely pleased that AGI/Klearfold is the first to bring to the North American market leading-edge, nature-based plastic folding cartons that are good for the environment and good for business."

AGI/Klearfold's quest to develop a high-performance PLA plastic carton began almost 18 months ago. It was a collaborative process that included researching and developing a PLA sheet that could withstand the rigors of carton manufacturing and decorating; building a supply chain; and developing converting processes and ink and adhesive systems tailored to the unique requirements of the new substrate.

NatureSource Visual Packaging is created in partnership with NatureWorks LLC, in Minneapolis, Minnesota (www.natureworkspla.com), which makes the PLA resins. BI-AX International, Inc., in Ontario, Canada (www.biaxinc.com), in an exclusive agreement with AGI/Klearfold, manufactures the box-grade PLA substrate that AGI/Klearfold converts into folding cartons.

To bring NatureSource Visual Packaging to market, AGI/Klearfold and its partners applied new processing techniques to yield a clear, heat-stable PLA sheet suitable for demanding box-grade applications. NatureSource cartons are very durable, offer exceptional stiffness, and crease beautifully to form cartons that fold cleanly and maintain a crisp shape. The new visual packaging is available with all the high-quality decorating options that AGI/Klearfold offers for its other visual packaging products. NatureSource cartons can be printed using offset, flexo, or silk screen, or any combination of those printing processes, and can be embossed and hot or cold foil stamped for enhanced brand appeal.

The basic raw material for NatureWorks PLA is dextrose, a natural sugar derived from the starch in kernels of corn. The dextrose is fermented and distilled into lactic acid, which is transformed into PLA resin pellets. As a nature-based product, AGI/Klearfold's NatureSource Visual Packaging is compatible with any local waste management system. It is designed to be accepted into both mechanical and chemical recycling processes; however, because the resin is relatively new, an infrastructure for consumer collection has not yet been developed. It incinerates cleanly, and it can be composted where municipal or industrial composting facilities are available. In addition, NatureSource cartons are priced competitively with traditional plastic cartons, and PLA resin feedstock, corn, has maintained its price stability despite rising energy costs.

"NatureSource is durable, attractive, nature based, and made from annually renewable, sustainable resources--characteristics that make it one of the most exciting new brand marketing tools available today," says McGee. "It clearly has the power to influence consumer choice and to support consumer products companies' environmental packaging objectives."

For more information about AGI/Klearfold's NatureSource Visual Packaging or its other creative and visual packaging solutions, please contact Patrick McGee, director of marketing, at 877-918-3023 or pat.mcgee@agiklearfold.com. Write to AGI/Klearfold, 299 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10171.

About AGI/Klearfold

AGI/Klearfold, a MeadWestvaco Resource, is the world's largest producer of plastic cartons and a leader in the development and marketing of creative and visual packaging. The company is distinctive in its use of plastic, paperboard, and combinations of those materials to produce high- quality, value-added consumer packaging. Its packaging innovations include Evolution™ Boxes, Durafold® Security Packaging, Image™ Compacts, InSight®, InSight Slider™ Visual Packaging, and NatureSource™ Visual Packaging. The company is headquartered in New York and has converting operations in Louisa, Virginia, and Warrington, Pennsylvania, and a converting/fulfillment facility in Melrose Park, Illinois.

MeadWestvaco is a global packaging company that delivers high-value packaging solutions and products to the world's most recognized companies in the food and beverage, media and entertainment, personal care, cosmetic and healthcare industries. The company also has market-leading positions in its Consumer & Office Products, Specialty Chemicals and Specialty Papers businesses. MeadWestvaco, with operations in more than 29 countries, has been selected for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, and manages all of its forestlands in accordance with internationally recognized forest certification standards. For more information, please visit www.meadwestvaco.com.

NatureWorks is a registered trademark of NatureWorks LLC.

For a sample of NatureSource, contact Pat McGee at pat.mcgee@agiklearfold.com or 877-918-3023.

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