Bio-on, an Italian renewable chemical developer and a pioneer in the bioplastic sector, in collaboration with University of Tampere in Finland has developed a new biodegradable material using paper and bioplastic for packaging of food. Made from a combination of paper and bioplastic, the material is a result of Minerv PHA Extrusion Coating project launched by the manufacturer at the end of last year. The innovative technology fused a biopolymer onto some paper through a special grade extrusion process—Extrusion Coating (EC)—while eliminating the use of film for making food packaging. The project is aimed to develop several eco-sustainable and fully biodegradable formulations that would make unique laminates by fusing paper onto them without the need of any film. To make this formulation a success, researchers at laboratories replaced the polyethylene found in current packaging with paper and biodegradable material; the mechanism resulted in the creation of highly permeable biodegradable packaging material with great functionality and high aesthetics. The researchers claims the material to be first of its kind to be created in the history of biodegradable packaging, since it is totally naturally biodegradable and can be safely recycled. As Bio-on chairman Marco Astorri puts it zealously: "Together we demonstrate that it is possible to develop new functionalities in the use of PHAs biopolymers in dozens of items."
The material, already tested for several applications in sectors such as automotive and biomedical, is now considered fully safe for its use in packaging of various food stuffs, including milk and fruit juice.
Bio-on bioplastics are sourced from various renewable plant sources, some of which is discarded as waste, which helps to make fully naturally biodegradable packaging for various applications. The coating developed is expected to transform retain chains across food & beverage industry. Continual technological advancements and considerable investments made by key manufacturers in R&D activities would boost the market growth. As per a recent report added by Big Market Research titled “Biodegradable Packaging - Global Market Outlook (2015-2022)”, biodegradable packaging market accounted for $4.7 billion in 2015, globally, and is estimated to register a CAGR of 17.2% from 2015 to 2020; favorable demographics and rising demand of eco-friendly and biodegradable packaging materials for various applications will foster the market growth.