Two longstanding, Northwest-grown companies have announced a partnership to reduce plastic use in the baking industry. Portland-based Franz Bakery has made a commitment to using Kwik Lok’s plant-based Eco-Lok™ bag closure on its bread products, reducing the amount of petroleum-based plastic used in packaging.

Yakima-based Kwik Lok released its Eco-Lok product earlier this year, which utilizes a resin made out of plant-based carbohydrates like corn and potatoes, emits fewer greenhouse gases in production compared to traditional closures and reduces the amount of petroleum-based plastic used overall. By the end of 2019, Franz bread products will start to use the Eco-Lok as part of the company’s commitment to reducing its plastic use by 10 percent by 2023. “We were proud to partner with Kwik Lok during beta testing and are very excited to be one of the first companies to adopt the new Eco-Lok,” Franz Vice President of Purchasing Ken Waltos said.

“We are pleased to work with another Northwest company toward efforts for a more sustainable future.” The new Eco-Lok product is formulated with a plant-based biopolymer called NuPlastiQ that requires up to 20 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions to produce than standard plastic bag closures. Eco-Lok maintains the qualities of existing Kwik Lok plastic closures – they are printable, reusable and metal detector compatible.

“Franz and Kwik Lok have been partners for more than three decades,” said Ron Cardey, Kwik Lok Corp. vice president of sales and marketing. “We believe this is such a strong partnership and natural fit because of some key similarities between our two companies – we’re both Northwest-grown and family-owned, and we both have doubled down on our efforts to achieve greater sustainability in our operations and the products we offer.”

Franz plans to achieve its plastics reduction goals by working with suppliers like Kwik Lok to find innovative solutions. In addition to making the switch to the Eco-Lok, Franz is using less plastic by reducing the thickness and size of its plastic bags and is achieving even greater sustainability goals by recycling or diverting 95% of its solid waste that would otherwise go to landfills.

To achieve its own sustainability goals, Kwik Lok is working to reduce its portfolio-wide energy usage by 20% by 2025, and has already saved more than 1 million kWh in energy since completing building renovations and operational upgrades in 2015. In addition to the Eco-Lok product, Kwik Lok has also developed Kwik Link, which replaces plastic bags and other packaging to bind produce together using a simple elastic tie. When used with an Eco-Lok this form of packaging is a very environmentally friendly choice for the produce industry. Kwik Lok has also released the 912 Laser Printer which eliminates the use of ink, solvents and other waste.