Combining nanocellulose/polysaccharides & bioplastics enables development of flexible & rigid food packages with tailored performance & functionality for diverse market segments.
Market problems: 1) current food packages are composed of multiple and different petrochemical plastics which are difficult to recycle for individual components; and 2) alarming plastic pollution as polymers do not degrade but break down to smaller pieces ending up in the air, soil and water as microplastics.
Why unique and beneficial: customisable and modifiable physical (e.g. density), mechanical (e.g. stiffness and ductility) and barrier property via smart design and selection of compostable biomaterials (i.e. cellulose, chitosan, PLA, PHA, TPS, PCL, etc.) along with specific treatment/modification as per relevant requirements.
The key benefits of the innovation have both commercial and environmental attributes:
1. Reduce the overall environmental impact of the value chain through novel material selection, package designs, recycling methodologies and controlled product quality.
2. Reduce levels of microplastic entering the environment, providing health benefits for general population and environmental health
3. Reduce costs of packaging compared to current materials measured on a life cycle basis.
4. Potential for increased compliance with environmental regulations (Plastic Packaging Tax)
Food packaging, i.e. pouches, cardboard/thin film tray, containers, etc. Other packaging applications are also valid beyond food, e.g. medical supplies