24. Feb 2021
Reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill is an explicit goal of current EU legislation. In fact, the latest directive includes a binding landfill target to reduce landfill to a maximum of 10% of municipal waste by 2030.
Yet today, a considerable amount of packaging on the market still ends up in landfills due to the fact that their multi-layered, mixed plastic structure make them impossible to recycle.
Now, SP Group and NUREL Biopolymers have developed a new multilayer film structure, with a high oxygen barrier, sealing and transparency properties – that is also compostable.
Until now, biopolymers have mainly been used for fresh-food packaging, such as bread, fruits or vegetables.
This new film structure makes it possible to manufacture bio-based barrier films suitable for packaging complex foods such as salmon. It is currently already used to package spices; tests are under way for, among others, energy bars, nuts, salt.
The new films manufactured by SP Group are based on Nurel’s INZEA biopolymers and are targeted at flexible film packaging for fresh, dry or refrigerated products that require a high barrier to oxygen.
The films can be processed in conventional facilities, have a high barrier performance, are transparent and sealable, have a high bio-based content, are suitable for food contact and can be disposed as organic waste at the end of life; an all-in-one solution that until now had not been achieved.
“This film meets all the quality requirements for the packaging of foods such as smoked salmon, its processing has been very simple and the oxygen permeability results are excellent, comparable to EVOH high barrier structures," said Maria de Guía Blanco, R&D Project Engineer at SP Group,
Maria José Alfonso, head of developments at NUREL Biopolymers, noted that the biggest challenge of this project was to achieve a compostable material that could be processed without difficulty in any conventional blown film extruder maintaining its transparency and providing high oxygen barrier properties.
The biopolymers used to produce the film are OK COMPOST certified and compliant to the criteria of the ISO-EN 13432 and ASTM 6400 standards, ensuring they will completely biodegrade in 3 months. Thus, this type of films should be deposited in the organic waste bin for its recovery as compost.
SP Group markets this type of structure targeting flexible film markets for packaging applications of fresh, dry or refrigerated products that require a high barrier to oxygen.