The future of food packaging

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Abstract

Plastics are a vital part of the contemporary food supply chain enabling efficient retail system and low losses of valuable grocery. The demand for and importance of packaging has increased while families have decreased in size and fast food kind of products have become more popular in the last decade. Now, due to littering, marine waste and micro plastics are found practically everywhere and are changing rapidly the acceptance of plastics towards limitation in use.
A solution is not simple and requires complete rethinking of waste management based on recycling and biomaterials. Hybrid packaging materials are combining the best features of recyclable fiber materials and performance of plastics. Moreover, it is an answer to dissonance how to make biodegradable materials recyclable.
Technically, however, preferred sustainable bio-plastics have limitations in performance, and their properties like barrier effect need to be improved. One alternative for this is coating with high performance materials. Advanced technologies enable formation of novel nano coatings. In this presentation two recent case studies are discussed based on nano cellulose and nano metal oxide coatings on substrates.
Nano cellulose provides exceptional barrier effect against oxygen and grease combined with biodegradability, enabled through novel foam coating technology. Metal oxides applied by atomic layer deposition, which enables also moisture barrier with very low coating amounts.
Plastic properties are demonstrated with modified natural polymers like starch, and lately with cellulose. We can state that cellulose seems to become future plastics, and that opens a way towards all-cellulose packaging solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2018
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
Event12th International Conference on Coatings on Glass and Plastics, ICCG12 - Würzburg, Germany
Duration: 11 Jun 201815 Jun 2018
Conference number: 12

Conference

Conference12th International Conference on Coatings on Glass and Plastics, ICCG12
Abbreviated titleICCG
CountryGermany
CityWürzburg
Period11/06/1815/06/18

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Keywords

  • packaging
  • plastics
  • biocomposites

Cite this

Harlin, A., Kangas, H., Forsström, U., & Vähä-Nissi, M. (2018). The future of food packaging. Abstract from 12th International Conference on Coatings on Glass and Plastics, ICCG12, Würzburg, Germany.