‘Revolutionary’ biodegradable packaging developed for fish

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Fish ready to be packaged. (Photo: Per Alfsen/Norwegian Seafood Council)

The packaging can be recycled after use

The company Criimpla from Valencia is coordinating a European project that investigates the development of innovative packaging made from wheat starch, recyclable and biodegradable material. This packaging is expected to cause minimal environmental impact and to have a competitive cost for their use by the food industry.

It is Thinfish project, which has been developed with the collaboration of the National Association of Manufacturers of Canned Fish and Shellfish (Anfaco-Cecopesca), Plastic Technology Centre Aimplas and the Bulgarian firm Akumplast.

The European Technology Consortium is funded by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI), within the call Eco-Innovation, whose aim is to support projects related to eco-innovative products, techniques, services or processes that are intended to prevent or reduce environmental impacts, or to contribute to the optimal use of resources, Anfaco reported.

The project began in September 2012. It has an overall budget of EUR 1 million and it is expected to be extended for 30 months.

The Consortium proponents aim to optimize and industrialize new co-injection technology to obtain an innovative package for fishery products made from polypropylene and wheat starch.

Currently, it is difficult to recycle the containers made with polypropylene and Evoh due to the complexity of separating both materials.

Thinfish project plans to create a container having a sandwich structure of three layers: two outer layers made of polypropylene, which is a fully recyclable type of plastic material that acts as an insulator to moisture, and an inner layer made of thermoplastic starch, ensuring a longer life of the packaged product.

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The starch acts as “a very powerful barrier against gases, such as oxygen, preventing the deterioration of food,” Sandra Rellán, head of Anfaco R&D division, explained to the newspaper Faro de Vigo.

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