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Issue 03/2017

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Food packaging Biobased

Food packaging Biobased food packaging in Germany By: Harald Kaeb Narocon InnovationConsult Berlin, Germany Biobased plastics are often associated with physical– chemical properties (e.g. at, vapor and oxygen permeability, modulus etc) that recommend them for the packaging of food. Despite their apparent suitability, the presence of biobased plastics on the German market is low. In fact, solid market data on biobased plastic packaging still are very rare. When it comes to the consumption of real products in real market places, there is hardly any knowledge about the various polymers used, or on specific packaging types and what kind of food is packed in biobased plastics - and why. The German Federal Government wanted to know better and thus had asked expert teams to answer a wide range of questions to describe the market place in detailed statistics including the consumption of biobased plastic packaging, to describe all issues relevant to food contact packaging - from barrier properties to legal safety requirements, including environmental performance, waste management practice, e.g. recyclability and recycling. The authors shall also develop scenarios to project the development up to the year 2030. The study “Biobased plastics for foodstuff packaging” is part of the bioeconomy strategy of the German Federal Government, which seeks a gradual shift to a sustainable biobased economy. Thus the study shall deliver hard facts and solid information needed for developing best strategies within the German Bio- and Circular Economy policy and legislation context. The bid was won by a consortium led by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu) in Heidelberg, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung (IVV) in Freising, and the market expert narocon InnovationConsulting Dr. Harald Kaeb in Berlin. From September 2016 until early 2018 their research will help create an exact picture of the current market situation in Germany. The expert recommendations will help the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) to orient and improve their work and support. The expert team has already contacted many players and interviewed them for getting their views and expertise. It is still possible to address the team and give input, both in the analysis of the problem and the development of proposed approaches and solutions. A workshop is supposed to be held at the end of the project to present some of the results and discuss with relevant stakeholders and players the outcomes and conclusions. For more information please contact Benedikt Kauertz ( or Harald Kaeb ( At interpack Futamura presented their portfolio of food packaging, parts of which are marketed in Germany (photo Harald Kaeb) 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/17] Vol. 12

Food packaging Development of the food packaging of tomorrow The bioplastic developed by Bio-on (San Giorgio di Piano, Bologna, Italy) will be at the centre of a new European project that, thanks to a budget of almost 4 million Euro, aims to create new sustainable and biodegradable food packaging materials in the coming years. The project BioBarr (New bio-based food packaging materials with enhanced barrier properties) has received funding of EUR 3.784.375 from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and started on 1 st June 2017. BioBarr, which received an excellent evaluation from independent science experts at the European Commission, will be coordinated by Tecnoalimenti S.C.p.A. over its estimated 4-year duration and will involve seven prestigious European partners, public and private, from Italy, Spain, Denmark and Finland. The researchers’ objects are as follows: to develop new biobased and biodegradable food packaging materials, to improve and strengthen their barrier functionalities and to validate their application in real working environments inside the food industry. The ambitious research and development project will focus on PHAs biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates) produced using Bio-on technology which, thanks to their high thermo-mechanical and rheological performance, ductility and aesthetic characteristics, are unmatched in the biopolymers market. “We are extremely proud to take part in the BioBarr project, to be an active part in this varied team of complementary researchers and companies,” explains Bioon Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri, “it will allow us to study and increase the potential of our bioplastic in the food packaging sector for new solutions in the wider consumer sectors.” Bio-on, listed on the AIM segment of Borsa Italiana, is the project’s main scientific partner and will make use of a European contribution of EUR 800,000 to carry out the production, development and demonstration of PHAs film to be adapted to the project’s objectives. Bio-on will also work on setting up a complete study of the product lifecycle according to modern LCA principles. The PHAs bioplastics developed by Bio-on are made from renewable plant sources with no competition with food supply chains. They guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as comparable conventional plastics (such as PP) with the advantage of being 100 % eco-sustainable and naturally biodegradable at ambient temperature. This is why Bio-on’s PHAs bioplastics have been shown to have extremely high potential as a replacement for the conventional polymers currently used in food packaging. To increase its adoption in this market sector, the BioBarr Project will focus on the implementations of PHAs’ capacity to protect the food (barrier properties) through the validation of a series of food products with different shelf-lives. “Food products generate a lot of waste plastic packaging. The idea behind this project is to meet the demands expressed by the food industry to offer the market food products with a long shelf-life combined with environmentallyfriendly packaging solutions,” says Raffaello Prugger, CEO of Tecnoalimenti. The project partners are: BIO-ON S.p.A. (Italy), Chimigraf Iberica S.L. (Spain), Centro Nacional de Tecnologia y Seguridad Alimentaria (CNTA) – Laboratorio de Ebro (Spain), Danmark Tekniske Universitet (Denmark), Icimendue SRL (Italy) and TTY-Saatio - Tampere University of Technology (Finland). MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/17] Vol. 12 37

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