There is new packaging material coming out a lot, and VTT is trying a new one called Thermocell, which is a kind of film plastic packaging.
This is made out of fatty acids along with some cellulose, and it is being used in food production.
This is created from materials which are renewable and is utilized like fossil kinds of plastic
Because of the work and development of the research team, a lot of characteristics the film has already hit the requirements the packaging and food industry has, and cooperation has moved to the testing phase.
Renewable origin and the recyclability of the materials are increasing in interest to consumers and packers, and there is new options that are being sought for those types of plastics, in order to be worked and reused and recycled like other plastic.
Cellulose is an ingredient in plants, and it comes from larger polymer molecules.
When it does get extracted from the wood, it doesn’t compete with food or other biomaterials, like the other kinds of packaging.
This is definitely an established method already, but cellulose has one issue: it’s not thermoplastic.
Made for the Food Industry needs
A thermoplastic for food is essential, since cellulose currently isn’t like this.
But Thermocell, is actually working to change this. Made from the fatty acids and cellulose, it’s suitable for injection molding, coating paperboard and paper, and also may be used for 3D printing, and right now, it’s currently being tested for how it works in extrusion technology, and whether it can be used for this sort of thing.
The focus of this industry is to make something that is recyclable, since a lot of thermoplastics right now don’t have that. This bio-based, renewable material will support the long-term goals, and while it still requires a bit of work to see if it can be used with the machinery in place, from the long shelf life and the other features, there is more development that’s coming from this, and it is being tested with products to see if it’s compatible for these too.
You need A certain Kind of Film
When you’re looking at food packaging, you want a film that is thin enough that it isn’t obscuring the product, but also is durable so it won’t break down, but also protects the packaging. And of course, you want something that’s not only safe for human consumption, but also safe for the environment.
Thermocell can be the answer, since it is a plastic that is sustainable, and also is heat sealed with normal equipment.
The biggest development of this is the thinness of this, which is where they got the thickness down past 100 micrometers, which is really thin.
If it does want to compete against normal plastic though, they got to push this further, since it does require it to be incredibly thin, and then improve the protective nature and strength of this too.
Some partner companies have seen the features, and how important they are for the market, and the friction of this film is but one example of the implications of this. Right now, it’s good for being used on industry lines.
Right now, the recyclability of this is normal and comparable to that of the more common thermoplastics, where it’s melted down, extruded again at least five times without the features being deteriorated, and recycling is something that should be sorted in a separate box.
And with that said, we’ll see what happens with all of these thermoplastic alternatives, and if they prove to be a sustainable option for your company as well too.