To reduce the amount of plastic waste from the food industry, a consortium of European Union (EU) researchers are working to develop active and smart bio-based compostable food packaging.

The BIOSMART Project seeks to reduce plastic wrapping associated with food packaging, thereby reducing waste and extending the shelf-life of food.

To accomplish this, the researchers are developing durable bio-based packaging material strong enough to carry food, but that can break down after use.

Further, sensors printed inside of the packaging will detect differences in gas levels — including oxygen, amines and carbon dioxide — within the packaging. Such gas-level changes suggest that a food product is nearing its expiration more accurately than best by and best before dates, according to the researchers.

Eventually, the technology is expected to help distributors and consumers reduce the amount of food waste from the food packaging industry.

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