BIOnTop EU project. Sustainable packaging concepts made with organic materials
Packaging waste in general, but particularly the plastic waste from food packaging, is seen by consumers with an increasingly critical attitude, especially as only 15.6% of the plastic waste created in Germany is currently recycled. Environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic packaging made from oil often struggle with insufficient barrier properties, which are needed to protect the packaged product. The barrier against oxygen and water vapour specifically is very important for the shelf life of foods, as well as for cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, environmentally friendly packaging made with organic materials must either be biodegradable with domestic organic waste or in compost bins, or feature recyclable materials. BIOnTop, a cooperative EU project, is intended to be a vehicle for the development of solutions to these problems. The research project is being worked on by 21 expert teams for a planned duration of four years. The teams include representatives from trade associations, research institutions, the machine-building sector and food and packaging businesses in eight EU countries. The scheme’s focus is on the development of sustainable packaging concepts that provide sufficient protection for sensitive products while enabling new options for recycling and end-of-life products. These new packaging concepts will be developed in both pilot and industrial scopes and assessed for feasibility. The initial research has shown that packaging based on polylactic acid (PLA) is very promising. It can be manufactured synthetically on a large technical scale and already accounts for a substantial share of bioplastics.