Renewable food packaging materials

Renewable food packaging materials

Consumers and brand owners require sustainable alternatives to existing packaging. Together with and for producers of plastic, paper, cardboard, metal, and glass packaging, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is developing new, “renewable” packaging materials with exactly the requested functional properties. With our technologies we offer support during the entire production process: from the materials and product development of the packaging itself to improved end-of-life options such as bio-degradability and recyclability, where we give priority to the packaged product and optimal protection for it with attention to sustainability.

Sustainable and Circular Materials

We assist businesses in finding the most suitable sustainable materials. In doing so, increasingly more complete, renewable alternatives become available for fossil plastics for producing injection-moulding packaging used as bottles as well as paper coatings and flexible films for food packaging. Another example is a tomato container made from tomato leaves or a starch- and natural-fibre-based foam that, after use, can be discarded as paper.

We help businesses that wish to make the move to sustainable and bio-based packaging alternatives to develop these. In the process we not only developed packaging made out of bio-degradable plastics that can be composted in industrial plants, but we also work on packaging that is bio-degradable in case they accidentally end up in nature. Furthermore, we test the recyclability of packaging materials in different waste chains and their use in different products. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research strives to eventually make all packaging for food from recycled materials, and if that is not possible, out of plant-based raw materials. We also want to design the packaging in such a way that they are easily recyclable and do not contribute to the accumulation of manmade materials in the environment.

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is an independent research partner with considerable knowhow on the major conversion processes for PLA.
Robert Haan, application specialist, Total Corbion PLA

Examples of projects

In the “Verpakken versus verliezen” (packaging versus losing) project, we are investigating the options for making packaging more sustainable without these alternatives reducing the shelf-life of food products and in turn, increasing food waste.

In the “Recyclable paper-based food packaging” project, we are developing thin films that create barrier protection in paper food packaging and can be processed in existing systems for paper recycling.

In this "Recyclability of flexible laminates" project used in packaging, we have developed methods for studying the recyclability of laminated packaging, taking into consideration all steps in the recycling value chain.

Would you also like to make your packaging portfolio more sustainable?

Would you like to investigate with us what the possibilities are for making your packaging portfolio more sustainable? Please contact us.