Reusable cutlery

Sustainable Growth


Case Study
Sector: Industrial
Lead Fund: Carlyle Partners VI
Acquisition Date: 12/29/2016

Building the Next Generation of Sustainable Packaging

As the world shifts towards reducing excess packaging and single-use plastic, skeptics might see an industry with headwinds – however traditional packaging companies are instead seeing new significant business opportunities in responding to this demand. Innovations in raw materials, design and manufacturing practices can reduce environmental footprints, while also ensuring that needed products – such as safe and hygienic food storage options, vital medical equipment, and indispensable trash can liners – remain accessible and effective. Novolex, a packaging company that Carlyle acquired in 2017, has made a concerted push to reduce waste and use technologies to create new products that meet the evolving sustainability goals of its customers and markets.

One such innovation is the Cutlerease® dispensing system, which releases one piece of plastic cutlery at a time - handle first - without creating contact with a tray, box or drawer. One such innovation is the Cutlerease® dispensing system, which releases one piece of plastic cutlery at a time - handle first - without creating contact with a tray, box or drawer. In fact, cutlery used in Cutlerease® is designed to be inserted without staff touching the cutlery – so human contact with cutlery never occurs until the user takes it. This hygienic system also reduces waste in foodservice settings, providing an alternative to packets that contain forks, knives, and spoons.

Additionally, Novolex has focused on new means of incorporating more recycled content into both its paper and plastic products and is expanding its portfolio of compostable products that utilize renewable inputs, including compostable cutlery for the Cutlerease® system.

Novolex Now Offers Can Liners with 50 Percent Post-consumer Recycled Content



Even the humble trash can liner can be reimagined for a sustainable future. Under the BioTuf® brand, Novolex incorporates PLA, a bio-based resin. Investments in trash can liner technology don’t stop there. Focusing R&D around one of its polyethylene (PE) products, Eco Blend® Max, Novolex now offers can liners with 50 percent post-consumer recycled content. Novolex has a long history of incorporating recycled content into both fiber-and-resin-based products to reduce raw material carbon footprint. This application, combined with the fact that PE already has one of the lowest carbon footprints for film products, creates a remarkably low-impact can liner. Eco-Products®, a Novolex brand, uses a portfolio of compostable foodservice ware to support “zero waste” strategies with foodservice and other large venue customers that want to incorporate both recycling and composting into their waste diversion efforts. When compostable cutlery and can liners are used in conjunction with compostable plates, bowls, and cups, customers can put all of the packaging, as well as their uneaten food, into a compost bin to be diverted from the landfill.

For customers without access to a commercial composter, compostable utensils, can liners, and other food service ware still offer the benefits of being made with a renewable resource. Looking into the future, Novolex intends to continue making its products and manufacturing more sustainable, so that those who need packaging can do so with the lowest-footprint possible.


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