Plastic-free - sustainable packaging for organic chocolate


In our consumer society eshopping without plastic waste or even living plastic-free? This is almost impossible - even for those who shop regularly in organic supermarkets and those who pay special attention to the environment.

What does plastic-free or sustainable packaging mean in the organic chocolate segment? 

The majority of organic products and organic chocolates are still packaged in plastic. With the zero waste movement, the topic of “sustainable packaging” is becoming more and more popular among consumers. Due to the increased demand for Ein-buy with With plastic-free packaging, more and more manufacturers are making their packaging solutions sustainable. Plastic-free, BPA-free, compostable and vegan are the keywords here.

The topic of sustainability in the confectionery segment is cellulose packaging. A plastic-free or aluminum-free alternative. We use as primary packaging (the packaging in which the chocolate is directly wrapped and which looks like plastic, but is not plastic!) A film without plastic / without PE, BPA or similar .. NatureFlexTM film comes from one of the world's leading Manufacturer of “biodegradable compostable packaging”. Futumura is a family-run Japanese company and specializes in plastic-free NatureFlex films. This is a biodegradable packaging based on the raw material wood fiber and does not contain any plastic. The material comes from controlled, sustainable forestry (FSC or PEFC certified) and is certified as industrial and garden compostable packaging in accordance with EN13432 and ASTM D6400. It has good gas barrier properties. These help ensure that aromas are optimally protected. This is important for the fine taste of cocoa. Amazing that this can be done without using plastic. In addition, special coatings enable moisture barriers, which are crucial for the "crack" and consistency of vegan chocolate, as well as offer optimal resistance to oils and fats.

Which? - the UK's largest consumer association - subjected plastic-free packaging materials to tests to find out whether they are actually easily degradable in a home composting bin. The from "Which?" The NatureFlex packs tested were environmentally friendly packaging for fresh goods and cereals. The latter consists of a laminate of NatureFlex and another compostable material: Mater-Bi by Novamont. After a two-month test period, the fresh produce packaging was completely dismantled and only tiny particles were left of the cereal bag.

Andy Sweetman, Global Marketing Manager - Sustainable Technologies for Innovia Films said: “We are delighted that our environmentally friendly alternative, NatureFlex film, has been recognized by the UK's leading consumer association. Indeed, NatureFlex is the first packaging film to be awarded the “OK Compost Home Certification Standard” award. These independent of Which? tests carried out confirm all of our statements ”. On the other hand, packaging made from the bioplastic polylactic acid (PLA) was classified by the testers of the consumer association as unsuitable for composting in one's own garden.

By the way: The delivery time for this plastic-free special film is often more than 3 months due to the high global demand for “plastic-free living”. In addition, as a manufacturer, we pay more than double for this environmentally friendly, plastic-free one packaging.

The secondary packaging of the CHOCQLATE dark chocolate made of paper

Can we assume sustainability in connection with cardboard and paper? Yes, because cardboard and paper are renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. Cardboard is made from recycled material, as it is made from renewable raw materials such as wood and grass. Alternatively, waste paper can also be used for production. For example, your old notebooks or love letters can be turned into cardboard sleeves. The paper fibers used are a renewable raw material and can be 100% recycled and reused as packaging material. So once wood is put into the material cycle, it is used again and again.

The risk that people do not sort garbage correctly and therefore paper cannot be recycled is decisive whether we personally leave an ecological footprint in everyday life or not. 

Our request and most urgent tipPlease dispose of cellulose film correctly !!!! 

In each of our plastic-free packaging we point out that our sustainable packaging is actually environmentally friendly in the cycle. 

Tip: Dispose of the cellulose inner film in the paper waste or on the domestic compost

Tip: not in the organic bin

Tip: do not throw in the plastic waste bin. The municipal composting plants still sort these out as plastic

The organic waste is composted in the municipal or communal organic composting plants in only approx. 3 weeks. Our cellulose film takes at least 8 weeks to fully immerse itself in the soil "recycle". The actually plastic-free but plastic-looking cellulose film is "fished out" in the municipal or communal bio-composting plants and sorted into plastic. There, the cellulose contaminates the recycled plastic raw material that can be reused. In this way, we all make a significant contribution to whether recycling really works. In the paper waste plant, the waste is dipped in water and goes under. Our cellulose film absorbs itself with water and sinks and goes into the Circular economy.

We have designed our own PLASTICFREE logo for our organic chocolate and cocoa bars (without plastic).

Consumers keep asking whether the plastic-free alternatives really have advantages in terms of the CO2 footprint, whether they are really better than materials made of plastic. The discussion is that the energy required to produce these is particularly high. The subject is complex. Despite our research, we have not yet been able to form an opinion. Please write to us, if you have interesting pros and cons. We believe that cellulose and its disposal in paper waste is more tangible and more environmentally friendly than outer packaging made of plastic and that it goes much better with our organic products with our special “virgin” cocoa beans.

Tip: Have a look in our shop for our delicacies without plastic and adhesives. Our packaging should be as natural as chocolate can be! We want to make a contribution to plastic-free products and thus reduce plastic waste a little.

How high is plastic production and consumption worldwide? 

A study from 2017 that we took from the following source is interesting:

Around 70 years ago, plastics became a mass product. Living plastic-free was not in the consciousness of industry and consumers. A publication by a research group led by Roland Geyer from the University of California shows that in 1950 two million tons of plastics were produced worldwide. In 2015 there were already 380 million tons of plastic. According to the researchers, 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste had been produced by 2015, only 9 percent was recycled. 12 percent were incinerated and 79 percent ended up in landfills or in the environment.


A mere 600 million tonnes were recycled, but these products are also disposed of again after a short reuse. The highest recycling rates are in Europe (30%), followed by China (25%), and only 9 percent in the USA. The situation is similar with incineration: 800 million tons of plastic waste are disposed of in this way. Here, too, Europe is at the top (40%), China at least 30 percent and the USA 16 percent. The large remainder of 4.9 billion tons is either still in use or is collected as garbage in landfills, in the countryside and in the seas. According to estimates by the researchers, 34 billion tons of plastic will be produced by 2050, so the flood of plastic will continue to increase. With their data, the researchers point to a huge problem and at the same time suggest some measures to solve it: lower production figures and longer use of the products, higher recycling rates, use of sustainable bio-based materials and expansion of waste incineration.

Sustainable packaging solutions through to zero waste - how do you live plastic-free and avoid plastic waste?

People are increasingly asking how to avoid the amount of rubbish and especially plastic waste? We do that with chocolate. We would like our organic chocolates e.g. see in an "unpacked store". Unfortunately, however, chocolate cannot be kept unpackaged. Due to the humidity and temperature fluctuations, it loses its shine, the crystalline structure and thus the "crack". Chocolate quickly becomes porous and the influence of light turns it gray. Chocolate therefore requires sustainable packaging materials. Our dark chocolates are vegan because they consist of a high percentage of cocoa and only a few pure organic ingredients. Nread in our magazine article. But vegan also has a connection with packaging. We do not use any adhesives for the outer packaging (exception: the do-it-yourself sets and the snack bags). Animal products are often contained in adhesives. We avoid them by doing almost entirely without glue dots or adhesives. Vegan Schocolate can also be packed without animal substances. 

Tip: where can you buy plastic-free or unpackaged? We found a good description and overview on Utopia.

We have hereby started an attempt to give an insight into: What makes sustainable packaging? Below is a brief overview of the future alternative possibilities to the vision of “living plastic-free”.

We have the following topics: Pflanzenbla bottom

 Packaging made from plant leaves

In search of alternatives to plastic, researchers want to further develop packaging made from the leaves of bananas and water hyacinths in order to better protect food.

Food packaging should do one thing above all: protect food so that it remains edible and reaches the customer undamaged. Depending on the use, the materials must therefore be heat-resistant and have a high degree of stability. But the trend away from fossil raw materials also presents the packaging industry with ever new challenges. Sustainable alternatives are required to protect resources and the environment equally. One way to do this could be banana leaves.

Optimize packaging made from plant leaves

Rather unusual in this country, it is widespread in African or Asian countries to wrap dishes such as rice or corn porridge in leaves for transport. Scientists at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn want to be inspired by this in their search for alternative packaging. Together with scientists from Benin, they will develop sustainable packaging made of natural materials such as banana leaves for the West African country over the next three years. The “West African local food packaging (WALF-Pack)” project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Water hyacinths as packaging material

In the project, researchers from Bonn work closely with scientists from the University of Abomey-Calavi as well as with local packaging companies, retailers, producers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In addition to banana leaves, the extent to which the water hyacinth is a good alternative in Benin is being investigated. The aquatic plant is a fast-growing plant that overgrows rivers and lakes. Initial laboratory tests confirm that it is not contaminated with heavy metals and is therefore suitable for food packaging. "The NGO JEVEV would like to expand its portfolio in the future by producing paper based on water hyacinths in order to create additional economic structures and jobs and to combine this with species and environmental protection," reports Barbara Götz from the University of Bonn. Pflanzenbla bottom

Alternative bio-based packaging films for food

Partners from research and industry want to develop multi-layer packaging materials based on chitosan and at the same time develop a corresponding method for quality control.

Plastic films make up a large proportion of packaging waste, including in the food sector. Sustainable alternatives face the challenge of having to meet numerous requirements for packaging. The Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems (IMWS) in Halle (Saale) is therefore researching bio-based multilayer films for food together with the film specialist Polifilm Extrusion from Weißandt-Gölzau.

Diverse requirements

Packaging films not only have the task of being tear-resistant, in order to protect the food from dirt and to present printed or affixed information to the customer. They have to use so-called migration barriers to keep aromas and flavors inside and to prevent microorganisms from penetrating. This is how they guarantee freshness and shelf life. Films often meet these diverse requirements by being constructed as multi-layer systems made of the plastics polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Both the packaging waste problem and the climate crisis have made further demands on food films for some time: they should be produced sustainably and be biodegradable or simply recyclable. The Packaging Act, which came into force in 2019, aims to improve the recycling rate for plastic packaging from currently 36% to 63% in the future.

Barrier effect and mechanical stability

The two research partners have set themselves the goal of developing sustainable alternative food films by August 2021: "We want to develop a multi-layer film made of biopolymers that has an efficient barrier effect and still has high mechanical stability, sufficient transparency and other properties relevant for later use" , explains Sandra Richter, project manager at Fraunhofer IMWS. Clever combinations of biopolymers and fillers should lay the foundation for this. The key here is the biopolymer chitosan, which is obtained from the shells of crustaceans. "In addition to an antibacterial effect, chitosan has very good biocompatibility, it is biodegradable, non-toxic and has a natural barrier effect," explains Richter.

Since when have CHOCQLATE and OHYA Chocolates and bars packaged plastic-free

Sustainable packaging, dealing fairly with the environment and thus making a contribution to reducing the amount of plastic waste has been a central component of our philosophy and promise to our customers from the beginning of our company - specifically since 2012. In 2014 we were one of the first manufacturers in the entire organic range to pack products with plastic-free packaging made from wood cellulose. We were there in spite of the big financial Challenges willing to take on higher costs and forego margins in order to take this path.

We have CHOC in the name of our chocolateQLATE consciously a integrated. It means and reminds us every day of our promise best quality to create. Quality in terms of the ingredients of our vegan chocolates, quality in terms of fair and it also contains ours environmentally friendly value orientation. For us, sustainable products mean organic farming as far as possible with permaculture, production with solar energy, plastic-free packaging and humanity across the entire value chain (fair trade according to the aspects of fair trade and also direct trade). This is the standard for the development of our organic cocoa products and organic chocolates. Read our article about fair trading. As soon as we find viable alternatives, we will continue to convert and increase the sustainability of our organic chocolate, including zero waste solutions.

Get inspired in our online shop, which we are constantly expanding with enjoyable and beautiful content in accordance with this philosophy. Companies that pack organic food in particular have to show themselves responsible towards the life of future generations, avoid plastic waste, find sustainable and ecological packaging solutions so that consumers can use them in everyday life as a plastic-free alternative. We are pleased when all our customers with this attitude shop plastic-free in their daily consumption and are ready step by step to forego apparent convenience.





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