The BioactiveLayer project will lead to unique alternative to the existing solution of Modified Atmosphere Packaging for dried products. The partners in the project aim to successfully introduce a completely renewable and biodegradable packaging solution that will maintain freshness of dried food products and will reduce high levels of packaging waste.
The demand for ‘advanced’ packaging technologies is higher than ever. Consumers and manufacturers alike are seeking extended shelf life and improved reliability. The EU food packaging industry alone uses approximately 247,000 tonnes per annum of thin aluminium foil, which when applied in laminated structures, means that there is currently no adequate or proven technology capable of fully recycling these materials in an efficient and cost-effective manner. This results in more than 80% of current MAP packaging being sent to land fill. Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) is a preserving technique usually applied for packaging of dried food. However, there is no cost-effective and proven technology capable of fully recycling these materials which are usually based on multilayer plastic materials. If BioActiveLayer is able to make a 5% substitution of these materials which currently lead to MAP applications, a reduction of over 300,000 tons of non-renewable plastic packaging waste will be possible.
Moisture and oxygen barrier improvement
The BioActiveLayer project plans to enhance the novel paper-based, bio-degradable, multi-layer structure by increasing the paper moisture barrier (by applying blends of waxes and resins). The main moisture barrier improvement will rely on a composite based in PHA. Currently PHA lacks the barrier required for MAP applications; therefore, composites with mineral fillers and oxygen barrier materials will be developed to obtain a moisture barrier layer.
The main moisture barrier improvement will rely on a composite based in PHA. Currently PHA lacks the barrier required for MAP applications; therefore, composites with mineral fillers and oxygen barrier materials will be developed to obtain a moisture barrier layer. The paper properties will be enhanced following a three step approach.
- To increase the paper moisture barrier through the application of blends of waxes and resins.
- The moisture barrier improvement will be derived from a newly formed composite based on Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). Existing standards of PHA lack the standard of barrier required for MAP applications. Therefore, BioActiveLayer will identify suitable mineral fillers which can maintain the required moisture barrier layer.
- Oxygen barrier materials will be improved through the use of oxygen scavenging compounds.
The project is funded by EU's Seventh Framework Programme. The consortium started in September 2013 and will continue until September 2015. The partners involved are A. Hatzopoulos S.A. (Flexible Packaging), Nuevas Tecnicas de Coloracion SL (Chemical Compounding), Skymark Packaging International Limited (Packaging Films), Belourthe S.A. (Producer of Baby Food Cereals), Plusfresc (Spanish Supermarket Chain), Instituto Tecnologico del Embalaje, Transporte y Logistica, Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research and the UK Materials Research Institute.