Film is a vital part of the agricultural industry, and the development of new solutions in this field drives the growth of the market. With demand ever higher, alongside the requirements necessitated by sustainability and ecology, it’s an immense challenge. We take a look at Imaflex Inc., worthy winners in New World Report’s Agriculture and Farming Awards 2021, to see just how they have risen to it.
Founded in 1994, Imaflex focuses on the development and manufacturing of innovative solutions for both the flexible packaging and agriculture industry. The team’s on-going focus has been developing film products for the food industry, from those used in cultivation to consumer packaging. Always aware of the meaningful part it must play in sustainability, Imaflex’s line-up of products is further complemented by the reprocessing of all waste created during the manufacturing process into finished products, ensuring plastics stay in use and out of nature. Today, their films are used throughout North America.
Imaflex stands out for its commitment to excellence, innovation and sustainability. This is something that many in the industry are only just adapting to, but it has always been at the heart of their business philosophy. The team has always been aware that their work plays a vital role in meeting the demand for affordable, healthy and safe food, alongside the challenges of feeding a growing global population. As such, their products are economically viable, socially responsible and as ecologically sound as possible.
To meet this enormous challenge, the team has also developed new products that have transformed the industry. For example, back in 2003 it introduced metalized mulch films to lower soil temperatures and mitigate insect infestations without chemicals. As for other agriculture products, Imaflex has its own unique material blends allowing for thinner mulch, solarization and fumigation films, which don’t compromise any mechanical properties. Imagine if all farmers in North America were to use these thinner agricultural films today, they could enjoy all known benefits of plastic mulching, while using 25 million pounds less film.
Although all agricultural films are proven recyclable, once used they are often disposed in unsustainable ways. To fight this ecological waste, and because there are plastics which are certified biodegradable, the Imaflex team began experimenting in this area early on. Today, their biodegradable mulches allow growers to enjoy the benefits of a traditional plastic film, while giving them the option to dispose film waste cost-effectively, on-site by composting or ploughing. Determined not to settle, the team is currently developing many exciting new products, including a special crop protection film that adds integrated pest management to the benefits of plastic mulching.
This particular path led the team to explore the registration and commercialization of a controlled-release crop protection film for active pest and weed control. The upside would be a significant reduction in the amount of pesticides required per acre, reducing grower costs, as well as decreasing the potential risk to human health and the environment.
This degree of innovative thinking has been consistent with the company for over a quarter of a century, and continues to this day. The year 2020 for example, was a transformative one for Imaflex. Despite the clear challenges caused by the pandemic, the company managed to perform well on every level.
Moving forward, the team is looking forward to rolling out their most extensive product line ever. One of the most exciting developments in this area is the pending submission of the US Environmental Protection Agency registration package for their new eco-friendly controlled-release crop protection film, ADVASEAL®. Once approved, the door will open to an agriculture industry able to provide a more efficient, cost effective and ecologically friendly delivery platform for pre-plant crop protection products.
Over the years, the success of Imaflex has come from its ability to offer products that meet the needs of the day in every respect. With their focus on excellence, innovation and sustainability, it’s clear they’re a company that is ideally suited to the challenges of the 21st century. We celebrate their success and look forward to seeing what they will do next.