Israeli researchers are developing a biodegradable packaging material that automatically “perishes” within 180 days – providing a ‘green’ solution for the food and drink industry.
According to Israel-based developer TIPA, the material, which is a mix of bio-degradable polymers, will degrade in compost within six months – leaving an organic residue.
The resin blend, which has been used to produce rigid and flexible packaging, offers the same chemical, mechanical and visual properties of standard plastic including industry-standard oxygen and vapour barriers and migration properties.
The material, which has migration approval according to Europen and Israeli, has been developed to work with existing packaging production and processing lines, the company added.
TIPA believes the innovation will provide a ‘green’ alternative to an industry that still relies heavily on the use of fossil-based plastics.
Orange peel-like material
“The idea was to develop an orange peel-like material resin, where the product inside could be consumed and the outside be thrown away,” TIPA co-founder Daphna Nissenbaum told FoodProductionDaily.com.
“From this same resin we can produce several applications including blow moulded bottles and rigid packaging. But the resin has performed best so far when used to produce flexible packaging.”
Food packaging disposal is a problem across the sector, with only 5% of flexible packaging films being recycled, the company added.
“TIPA saw this as an opportunity to present a solution for the flexible packaging market, this is a unique solution,” company co-founder Tal Neuman said.
“We know that consumers and producers prefer flexible packaging to rigid packaging, so we see on one side that flexible packaging in going to become a huge sector and on the other that this sector has no recycling solution.”
Food contact approval
As well as working to develop bio-degradable packaging materials, the company has been conducting tests to establish whether the material would be suitable for use with existing technology.
“From the beginning we intended that everything we produced would be tested with existing production lines,” Neuman added.
“All of the products we have created so far are proved to work with existing lines including injection moulding, printing, production of films and blow moulding.”
“We tried to find a unique technology that can offer mechanical, chemical and visual properties that can combine all needs in one blend. It wasn’t simple, but we succeeded,” she added.
The company aims to have market ready products available by the end of 2012.