Environmentally friendly options for plastic food wrap

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Some scientific companies have a technologically advanced food contact process that produces paper goods resistant to water, grease, oxygen, and steam; moreover, it does not affect recycling or composting, a potential alternative to plastic coatings, waxes and PFAS.

Environmentally friendly options for plastic food wrap
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Scientists call this process Chromogenic -a green chemistry reaction that adds long-chain butyric acid to different substrates such as paper and starch. Polyvinyl Alcohol, a type of plastic that dissolves in water, is widely used in products such as laundry detergent pods and food or cosmetic containers. It is made of three essential elements: carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen minerals, making it super hydrophobic while maintaining resilience and compostability.

Moreover, Chromogenic affords environmental benefits, becoming a long, strong and lasting barrier and a high-cost viable strategy. It is hard to find something more competitive.

The Chromogenic-treated substance is not a compound material, cannot be altered by cutting or twisted, and ultimately controls capillary uptake. It is very different from a coating-chemical reaction. Instead of adding a separate layer of material to the surface of the substrate, it creates a permanent ester bond over its specific surface area.

These ester links are fundamentally long-lasting, and it has been proved that even when the paper was treated 20 years ago, it still presents identical characteristics.

Chromogenic solves several difficulties confronting the Packaging industry concerning cost and sustainability, such as the capacity to increase paper employment in other sectors. Our planet represents a vast cellulose biofactory, and we must exploit it to benefit our economy.

This procedure’s environmental and blockade characteristics have been well experimented with and are now available in approved journals. However, scientists consider that the first pilots, elaborated over a decade ago, were not rapid or effective, resulting in being highly constrained to adopt.

Scientists developed a scalable cellulose process. Instead of the conventional paper and printing engineering method, they set the chemical engineering one. It cuts down reaction times to just 0.1 seconds, increases the graft rate, reduces the number of substances used, and works out other difficulties faced in the past. In addition, you can process the entire or part of the 3D shape of the corrugated board.

The industry is developing an industrial pilot plan to demonstrate the scalability of this approach. Applications are very diverse because this chemistry process can provide a wide range of barriers and strengths that supply the ability to improve cost percentages and performance.

In food packaging, grafted PVOH might substitute the PE coating on disposable food packaging such as paper cups and eliminate PFAS; contact with food is already approved in some areas.

For non-food packaging, due to the high demand for paper, the grafted product has outstanding durability to help migrate from plastic wrappings, such as toilet and paper towels—to a sort of E-commerce plastic-free package. The grafted paperboard for freezing foods is also a possible market. The capacity to make corrugated cardboard superhydrophobic is also desirable. It saves pulp and eliminates paraffin; it also has a great potential in construction or manufacturing. The grafted PVOH can also work as a respectable release paper.

Chromogenic can eliminate the problem of deterioration when storage causes huge merchandise and packaging disposal each year. It is a new world of bioproducts such as textiles and wood. In addition to packaging, grafted paper can create 100% paper-face coverings and supplies selective oil absorption when removing oil dripped.

Due to the low amount of process and substances used, the initially repulpable and compostable substrate can be re-pulped and composted after transplantation into the current waste stream. In addition, the grafted molecule is a fatty acid ester, which is entirely natural around us and completely harmless to the environment.

What is the future of Cellulotech?

We must avoid petroleum-based food packaging and substitute it with something more sustainable, non-toxic and biodegradable as cellulose; scientists need to perform more effective tests to produce bioproducts and hope the technology will be authorised soon.

To generate environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic food wraps and containers, scientists have obtained a biodegradable, plant-based coating sprayed on foods, protecting against pathogenic and decay microorganisms and transportation damage. It is a scalable technology which enables us to transform biopolymers, which can be developed as an element of a Circular Economy from food waste into innovative fibres that can wrap food directly, a new generation of intelligent green-food packaging. The climbable process could potentially bring down the harmful environmental effect of plastic food packaging, conveying protection of human health.

This new packaging technology uses polysaccharide/biopolymer-based fibres. The resulting material that wraps food products is durable enough to protect from damaging and holds antimicrobial agents to struggle against spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms such as E. coli and listeria.

The coating can be rinsed off with water and decomposed in soil within three days. The new packaging addresses a severe environmental problem: the proliferation of petroleum-based plastic products in the waste stream. Efforts to restrain the use of plastic, such as the legislation to eliminate plastic shopping bag distribution at grocery stores, can help, but we have to do more.

We keep throwing petroleum-based plastics out there because only a tiny portion of them can be recycled, however, degrades slowly. These microscopy fragments make it into the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat.

New fibres encapsulating the food are degraded naturally; innovative materials act as sensors, activating and destroying bacterial to ensure food will arrive undamaged. It will address growing concern over food-borne illnesses and lower the prevalence of food spoilage.

Can we design functional food packaging to extend shelf life and reduce food waste while enhancing food safety?

Dave Food

M: +44 7775 861863


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