Say cheese: ADCELLPACK develops cellulose-based MAP

Monday, 11 March, 2013

More than 15 million tonnes of domestic plastic packaging waste is created in Europe each year, according to EUROSTAT, of which 40% is not recovered or recycled. Most of this packaging is of non-renewable, oil-based origin.

In order to increase the amount of bio-based food packaging materials, the European ADCELLPACK consortium is developing a thermoplastic wood-fibre-based packaging material for trays used primarily in packages of sliced cheese.

The new material will be designed to suit modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). The MAP technique is widely used for the preservation of fresh foods because it offers the product an increased shelf life. Common MAP packaging structures are based on non-renewable multilayer materials which are difficult to recycle.

The use of bio-based materials is a promising alternative in the packaging industry for reducing the environmental impact and the use of non-renewable resources. Materials based on cellulose can be an outstanding alternative to substitute materials currently used in MAP.

A fully sustainable solution will be developed that will maintain the freshness of the product and assure its food contact safety. The solution will provide actual or improved shelf life through the use of cellulosic materials and biodegradable polymers, with simplified production. There will be broad opportunity for use of the solution in several food products nowadays packaged using MAP.

ADCELLPACK is a two-year project that started at the beginning of November 2012. Its budget is €1.4 million, and the project is financed by the EU.

The consortium comprises Distribuciones Juan Luna, Papelera de Brandia, Elastopoli Oy, Skymark Packaging International Limited, Centros Comerciales Carrefour, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and ITENE Packaging, Transport and Logistics Research Center. All have expertise in paper production, bioplastics processing, conversion of packaging materials and cheese production.

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