Materials and technologies – October 2020

02 November 2020

Sensor for food
MIT engineers have designed a Velcro-like sensor, made from silk microneedles, that pierces through plastic packaging to sample food for signs of spoilage and bacterial contamination. An article (abstract) is published in Advanced Functional Materials.

Bio-based plastics
EEA has published a briefing entitled ‘Biodegradable and compostable plastics — challenges and opportunities.’ You can download the briefing after filling in your e-mail address.
BSI has published ‘PAS 9017 Plastics – Biodegradation of polyolefins in an open-air terrestrial environment– Specification.’ According to PackagingNews, a number of environmental organisations have criticised this standard.
In an article (3.26 MB) published in Polymers, University of Catania researchers give an overview of recent developments in bio-based polymers.
Five water boards, STOWA, Paques and HVC have signed an agreement to build a larger scale production unit in Dordrecht (NL) for the production of PHBV, a bioplastic made from organic waste streams such as sewage sludge, industrial wastewater and food waste.

Bio-based packaging solutions
Fraunhofer researchers are developing PLA-based packaging that is also suitable for sensitive foods. The concept incorporates bio-based oxygen and water vapor barriers. Fraunhofer researchers are also working on PHA-based packaging for cosmetics. PHA is produced from microorganisms.
The University of Maine is collaborating with Poland Spring and its parent company, Nestlé Waters North America, to develop bio-based packaging for Poland Spring products.
On 30 September 2020, Mart Grefte held a speech entitled ‘Towards a fully bio-based and compostable infant milk powder packaging’ as part of his master assignment at the University of Twente. Chairman of the assessment committee was professor Roland ten Klooster who holds the NVC Chair Packaging Design and Management.

Freezing speed of food in solid and corrugated board
Commissioned by Smart Packaging Solutions, IBE-BVI performed a study (summary, 679 kB) on the freezing speed of chicken in solid and corrugated board. The results show that the average time necessary to reach -3 °C (starting from around 5 °C) is approximately 35% faster with solid board in comparison to corrugated board.

Plastic packaging
In August 2019, the German version of DIN SPEC 6124:2019-08 was published to assess the print quality of primary sales packaging made of plastic films and film laminates. Recently the English version was published. The document can be downloaded after registering.
CITEO (in French) has announced that 9 food companies have formed ConsortiumPS aiming to make PS circular for food packaging in France. At the moment most PS food packaging is exported for recycling, and the recycled PS is not integrated back into food packaging.
In an article (1.21 MB) published in Coatings, University Politechnica of Bucharest researchers give an overview of nanotechnology for smart food packaging.

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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