Plastics research institute Aimplas has developed a new type of sustainable packaging that significantly extends the shelf-life of cheese and fresh pasta.
Conducted within the framework of the European project Bio4Map, the result of the research has been a new generation of barrier, multi-layer and transparent packages with a cost 25% lower than conventional pack types, and with an environmental impact and carbon footprint reduced by up to 29%.
The material uses PLA, an easily recyclable material with excellent mechanical properties, as well as PVOH, which provides barrier to gases and is water-soluble so it disappears in the washing process. Both layers are joined by innovative biodegradable adhesives, while a wax coating made from olive leaves provides water vapour barrier. This coating, Aimplas said, which does not disappear in the washing process, acts like a plasticiser for PLA, thus improving its flexibility. They are materials that, together, have a carbon footprint 57% lower than the footprint of materials traditionally used in packaging manufacturing to contain this kind of food.
The packaging innovation has been developed as part of a €1.5 million research project, funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme and managed by the European Commission’s Research Executive Agency, based in Brussels.
“The role of Aimplas in this project, besides coordinating it, has been focused on developing the biodegradable and oxygen-barrier material, needed to comply with the final requirements of the food to be packaged, as well as being responsible for processing the new materials developed to obtain the new multilayer packaging,” explained Nuria López, main researcher of the project for Aimplas.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019