The Spain-based Technological Institute of Plastic (Aimplas) has announced development work on a new biodegradable and recyclable package for fresh food and cheese products that require modified atmosphere packaging.

At least two types of thermoplastic and biodegradables materials, mainly polylactic acid (PLA) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), will be combined to design the new package. PLA has good mechanical properties, and the water-soluble PVOH has high barrier to gases and allows the package to be recyclable and biodegradable.

A biodegradable coating that is made of natural waxes from agricultural wastes will be applied to raise the barrier effect against the water vapour of both materials and will cover the external layer of the multilayer package.

The new packages will be biodegradable as they will be manufactured with at least 75% raw materials from renewable sources.

Aimplas is collaborating with nine companies and technological centres to develop the new transparent multilayer barrier packaging under European project BIO4MAP, which will last for 30 months and has a budget of €1.5m.

Aimplas lead project researcher Nuria López said: "The function of Aimplas in this project, besides of complying with the tasks as coordinator of the project, is focused on the development of biodegradable and barrier material necessary to fulfill the final requirements of the food to be packaged, and it is the responsible for processing the new materials which are being developed to obtain the new multilayer package."

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Image: Aimplas is collaborating with nine companies and technological centres to develop the new multilayer barrier packaging. Photo: courtesy of AIMPLAS.