Materials and technologies – March 2020

31 March 2020

Number of EU patents for packaging material increased by 158 since March 2019
The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that they received over 181,000 European patent applications in 2019, 4% more than in 2018. You can read more in the online EPO Patent Index 2019. The European patent register holds 2,342 patents with the search term ‘packaging material’ (search done by NVC on 16 March 2020). This is an increase of 158 in a years’ time. On 15 March 2019 NVC did the same search and that resulted in 2,184 patents.

Paper packaging
The full report of the fourth version of Pro Carton’s “Carbon Footprint of Carton Packaging” is now available. You can download it after filling in your details. On 28 February 2020 the European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA) was launched.

Antimicrobial packaging
An overview article (1.38 MB) by South China University of Technology researchers on biodegradable films for antibacterial films is published in E3S Web of Conferences. Fraunhofer IMWS and POLIFILM Extrusion are working on biopolymer-based films with chitosan coatings to increase the resistance of food to microbiological impacts. WUR (in Dutch) researchers are also working on the development of antibacterial packaging that extends the life span of products such as meat. They discovered that the efficacy of the packaging depends, among other things, on the fat content of the meat. It works better with lean minced meat than with normal minced meat. An article (1.3 MB) is published in Food Packaging and Shelf Life.

Keller and Heckman has published an article on biobased plastics for food and beverage packaging. Lignin is a by-product of papermaking and a promising raw material for plastic. However, the quality of lignin is not as uniform as that of petroleum-based plastics. An X-ray analysis carried out at DESY provides an approach for a systematic understanding of lignin as a raw material to allow for production of lignin-based bioplastics with different properties, depending on the specific application. The study (1.81 MB) is published in Applied Polymer Materials. In a review, University of Alicante researchers present the latest research results regarding pectin. The review article (399 kB) is published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Heriot-Watt University reports that the BioBeauty consortium has developed PLA packaging for the organic beauty market. Nano clays have been added to improve the barrier properties and a rosemary extract as an antioxidant to protect the cosmetic product from degradation.

Environmentally-friendly RFID tags and 'eco' super-glue
As part of an ESRC grant, the University of Sussex and Advanced Material Development have teamed up with Walmart in a project on bringing more environmentally-friendly RFID tags to market with graphene-based nanomaterial inks replacing metals.
Aalto University researchers have found that the combination of plant-based cellulose nanocrystals and water forms an 'eco' super-glue. One of the applications is packaging. An article (1.42 MB) about the research is published in Advanced Materials.

Prices for plastics
Dutch trade magazine Vraag en Aanbod publishes a weekly overview of the prices for plastics (in Dutch). The prices given are estimated averages between the gross prices published in the trade journals and the net prices.

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