CBPM Paper-based food packaging

There is an increasing interest in paper-based packaging materials for (food) packaging because of the negative public opinion about the environmental effects of plastic. Bio-based, paper-based packaging materials offer specific advantages in recycling and the recycling infrastructure is well developed. Still, paper by itself cannot compete with plastics with respect to (barrier) properties and the protection of packed foods. Paper-based laminates can be a viable alternative for a number of applications, such as extruded PE-coated paper used in drinking cartons. An aluminium layer can be added to provide an additional gas barrier for example for fruit juices. The downside of using these type of barrier coatings is that they negatively influence paper recycling. Moreover, whereas paper will degrade in nature, the polymer (e.g PE) coating will persist resulting in micro-plastics.

To achieve circularity in packaging materials, the next logic step would be reuse of the recycled paper materials in food contact applications. As present recycled paper cannot be used in food contact applications due to the presence of (ink) residues; Mosh (mineral oil saturated hydrocarbons) and/or Moah (mineral oil aromatic hydrocarbons). Even todays common laminates or plastic bags (bag in a box) do not offer sufficient barrier against Mosh/Moah.

This project intends to develop a paper-based laminate that is recyclable and that provides both barrier properties required for food packaging as well as protection against Mosh/Moah contamination.

This development will

  • open the food packaging market to recycled paper products;
  • provide packaging solutions that fit with circularity goals;
  • will help to prevent littering and plastic pollution; and
  • will improve the quality of current recycled products.