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Photo: ATB

Heading for innovative packaging material - and less waste

(Photo: Grimm/ATB)

(Photo: Grimm/ATB)

May 27, 2015: The kick-off meeting in Munich was the start for a European research project with ATB-participation. ACTIPOLY aims at the development of a novel fibre-based thermo-formable packaging material for the production of compostable trays for fresh food packaging.

 

Currently, the material of choice for trays for fresh food packaging like meat is mainly thermoformable plastic (PET, PP or PS) or plastic-paper composite materials. However, the recovery rate of those materials is still not sufficient: about one third of the packaging material is wasted nowadays in Europe. 

In order to meet this problem, novel compostable materials have to be developed exhibiting similar barrier properties for the protection of the packaged good. Beneath recyclability and compostability another important feature for modern packaging material is the antimicrobial functionality with the help of active and food contact approved components. This should lead to an extension in shelf-life of fresh food products, resulting in a reduction in food waste. 

The project ACTIPOLY (Active polyvalent packaging based on environmentally friendly fibre material with thermo-formable properties to extend shelf-life of fresh food for the reduction of waste) aims to develop a novel fibre-based thermo-formable packaging material for the production of compostable trays for fresh food packaging. Further development steps will include barrier functionalities for moisture and O2 impermeability optimised for thermo-processing and also antimicrobial coatings, both intended to preserve the freshness and edibility of the packaging good and thus extending the shelf-life. Additionally, a bio-based barrier topfilm with antimicrobial properties will be developed, which is sealable on the fibre-based tray. The total packaging concept is recyclable and compostable.

The project is divided into three phases: I) material development, II) material assessment and III) tray/topfilm demonstration where the performance of the developed packaging material will be evaluated for different fresh food products, both in lab-scale and on industrial scale. 

ATB is mainly involved in shelf life and quality assessment of fresh foods packed in the novel paper tray and comparison of the performance with conventional packaging materials available on the market. This involves planning and implementation of the series of lab scale experiments as well as pilot scale trials in coordination with food companies. Moreover, ATB is involved in identifying the requirements of the selected fresh foods in terms of quality and safety and estimate the target barrier properties. ATB will also participate in dissemination activities that include publication in international journals, presentation in conference and demonstration of a test case at the selected food company.

Contact ATB: Pramod Mahajan

Staff members

In the project ACTIPOLY (Active polyvalent packaging based on environmentally friendly fibre material with thermo-formable properties to extend shelf-life of fresh food for the reduction of waste) eight partners from science and industry from Germany, Belgium and Poland collaborate over a period of two years. 
The project consortium combines the competences of ZUT (West Pomeranian University of Technology, Poland), the Association West Pomeranian Cluster “Green chemistry” (Poland), CELABOR (material testing, Wallonia), MateriaNova (Polymer processing with antimicrobial properties, Wallonia), Sirris (Specialists superhydrophobic / antimicrobial coatings, Flanders), Pack4Food (Consortium of companies active in food and packaging industry and their suppliers, Flanders), Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik Potsdam-Bornim e.V. (shelf-life studies, Germany), PTS (Papiertechnische Stiftung, Germany), project coordination and dissemination, coated fibre-based trays.

Coordinating Association is Papiertechnische Stiftung (PTS), Germany

Funding
ACTIPOLY is an ERA-NET CORNET project funded by national agencies members of the CORNET Network. The German funding is realized by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF). 

More information: http://www.cornet-actipoly.eu/partners/