Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB have developed eco-friendly coating for paper packaging that protects and extends the shelf life of food and prevents the build-up of plastic waste in the environment.

The coating is derived from a combination of plant-based proteins, waxes and bio-based additives that serve different functions. According to the researchers, the protein component serves as an oxygen barrier and also prevents the permeation of mineral oil from the paper to the food. Meanwhile, the wax component forms a water vapor barrier that prevents foods such a fruit from drying out while the bio-based additives feature both antioxidative and antimicrobial properties.

The team suggests that once the packaging is removed from its associated food product, the material is appropriate for recycling.

Source: The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGBSource: The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB

In addition to being applied to paper-based packaging, the coating can also reportedly be applied to cardboard. Likewise, the researchers suggest that the treated packaging can be used for refrigerated and frozen products as well.

The team will continue to develop the coating and expect that once it is in use, it will reduce the amount of plastic packaging that contributes to the world’s accumulation of plastic waste.

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