More and more people concerned about the environment avoid plastics in their purchases. However, this is not so easy when it comes to purchasing coffee, chocolate, cocoa powder or cookies. Their oleic characteristics make it essential that their containers, even when mostly cardboard or paper, have plastic part or even aluminium foil to act as a barrier and protect the product. To offer an alternative, Hinojosa has formed a partnership with French start-up Lactips and together they have developed an innovative, fully recyclable packaging that combines cardboard and a bioplastic made from a natural protein.
The bioplastic, developed and patented by Lactips, is made from a natural polymer, making it 100% organic, compostable and biodegradable in fresh water. In addition, it has the properties of technical plastics. Unlike other bioplastics, it provides a high oxygen barrier so food is preserved better and longer, and food waste is reduced. Another outstanding feature is that this material is heat-sealable, that is, it is incorporated in a laminate into Hinojosa’s recycled cardboard boxes by heat, thus avoiding the use of glues. In addition, it is an effective fat barrier, printable and soluble.
Thus, the collaboration of the two companies has allowed them to generate a new range of 100% plastic-free packaging, but with all the advantages of plastics. The collaboration is part of Hinojosa’s commitment to research for the development of 100% sustainable solutions that provide present and future responses to the needs of the food industry.
This new system, which has already been successfully tested, is also compostable after use, even with food scraps and can be thrown into organic matter containers. Likewise, it is accredited with labels such as Ecocert, EU Ecolabel, and the OK Compost HOME and Ok Biodegradable Water certifications, both from the TÜV Austria auditor.
AIMPLAS, the Spanish plastics technology centre, and OLIPE, a cooperative of olive oil producers, have implemented the GO-OLIVA project to find a high value-added application for this waste by producing a new packaging material for oil packaging items. The result is Oliplast, a plastic compound material made with materials from renewable sources, namely, a filler or reinforcement from olive oil and a thermoplastic material. AIMPLAS also says that the new product is biodegradable and compostable. Oliplast can be processed by extrusion and injection moulding to manufacture new products such as trays and plates to hold bottles, as well as caps for packaging containers for cosmetic creams made with olive oil.
Work done to date has involved selecting raw materials and developing an olive stone that can be used to obtain the new material. The next step will be to perform a behavioural study so the material can be validated for transformation processes. Finally, an environmental study will be carried out to determine the material’s compostability.
Biodegradable bottles made from juice wastewater are the goals of the the EU-funded PHBOTTLE project, due to end this month.
The manufacturing process envisaged would tap into growing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products and could save industry millions in production costs, according to an article published on a European Commission Research & Innovation website.
The bottles would be made of a bioplastic obtained by the fermentation of the sugar-rich fruit juices in production waste.
In the early stages of the project, the researchers demonstrated how a bioreactor could be used to convert the sugars from juice wastewater into polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), a type of biopolymer (an organic compound). PHB is moisture and vapour resistant, won’t dissolve on contact with water, has see-through properties and offers good protection against oxygen.
The researchers also developed a process to strengthen the PHB with cellulose extracted from crop waste, and added an encapsulated antioxidant to increase the shelf-life of the bottle’s contents. Another advantage is that packagers would not have to buy any major new equipment to make the bottle, a factor the project hopes will encourage them to make the switch.
“Food packaging is one of the most visible sources of waste, with over 67 million tons generated in the EU every year. Cutting down this waste would mean reduced energy use and carbon dioxide emissions, as well as less waste treatment costs,” the article said.
Image source: http://www.phbottle.eu/documentos/poster.zip
A fruit juice bottle made from juice wastewater: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/fruit-juice-bottle-made-juice-wastewater
Squeezing every drop of efficiency from juice processing: http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?artid=31676