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European ADCELLPACK project advances use of cellulose-based materials in food packaging

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European ADCELLPACK project advances use of cellulose-based materials in food packaging

February 28, 2013 - 19:04

VALENCIA, Spain, Feb. 28, 2013 (Press Release) -By developing cellulose packaging material to be used in atmosphere packaging techniques, the European ADCELLPACK consortium is aiming to create an alternative for the use of oil-based packaging materials in food packaging - especially in cheese packaging. The need for the development work rises from the increasing amounts of non-renewable oil-based packaging waste. The project is funded by th VII Framework Programm of the European Union.

Centros Comerciales Carrefour, Distribuciones Juan Luna, Papelera de Brandia, Elastopoli Oy, Skymark and VTT, coordinated by ITENE, will develop a new renewable solution that will maintain the freshness of the product and assure its food contact safety.

Life-style changes and need for product differentiation has put pressure on the quality and sales appeal of food packaging, which has increased the amount of packaging material. At the moment, most of the food packaging material is of non-renewable oil-based origin. According to EUROSTAT, domestic plastic packaging waste represents more than 15 Million tonnes in Europe of which 40% is disposed and not recovered or recycled.

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 sliced cheese packages.

The new material will be designed to suit for Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). MAP technique is widely used for the preservation of fresh foods because it offers increased shelf life of the product. In this packaging technic atmospheric air inside of the package is replaced with a desired gas mixture. 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 to reduce 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 whole sustainable solution that will maintain the freshness of the product and assure its food contact safety, will be developed. It will provide actual or improved shelf life by using cellulosic materials and biodegradable/compostable polymers , with a simplified production and strong possibilities to be used in in several food products nowadays packaged using MAP.

ADCELLPACK is a two-year-long project, which started at the beginning of November 2012. The budget of the project is 1.4 Million euros, and it is financed by EU (FP7-SME-2012 Research for the benefit of specific groups).

The consortium is based on a group of 4 SMEs - Distribuciones Juan Luna(Spain), Papelera de Brandia, S.A. (Spain), Elastopoli Oy (Finland), Skymark Packaging International Limited, S.L.U. (UK) - a large enterprise - Carrefour España (Spain), - and 2 relevant Research Centers: VTT Technical Research Centre (Finland) and ITENE Packaging, Transport and Logistics Research Center (Spain), who is the coordinator of this initiative. All of them with expertise in paper production, bioplastics processing, packaging materials converting and cheese production.