AINIA and AIMPLAS are working together in the SOSTPACK Project whose main objective is to improve the properties of biodegradable materials (biopolymers, also known as bioplastics) to facilitate their incorporation into food an beverage packaging market.
Global production of plastics is increasing in the last 50 years, only in 2013 was 290 million tons, of which 74% are polyolefins (petroleum-based plastics) of different types. However, only 0.2% of world production corresponds to biodegradable bioplastics.
Although there are different types of biodegradable bioplastics in the market and various applications for food packaging, these have not had the expected implementation in food, mainly due to factors such as are a lower shelf life of packaged food and higher cost.
AINIA and AIMPLAS are working on the development of new formulations for biodegradable materials (bioplastics) to meet the greater number of needs in food packaging.To do this, it is necessary to maintain the shelf life of food content and retain their organoleptic and nutritional characteristics. All with highest sustainability criteria.
Improved barrier properties
The SOSTPACK Project, which started in 2016 and lasts 24 months, includes interesting tests aimed to investigate the barrier to moisture, oxygen and heat resistance of biodegradable materials, that are marketed today, including structural improvements of these materials, in order to be processed in conventional industrial equipments.
The development of these new formulations will allow a large number of applications with these materials in the field of food packaging. In addition, there is also interesting in other potential sectors such as the plastics industry packaging for non-food use, such as customized consumer goods.
The novelty of this project, in contrast to other lines of R&D, lies in modifying the properties of bioplastics without incorporate additives. Modifying, chemically or physically, the structures of commercial biodegradable materials.
Therefore, it is working from the combination of various technologies. On the one hand, modification of bioplastics by chemical means (reactive extrusion process in which changes to morphological and structural level) and physical (mixture of one or more polymers with other substances, which cause changes in physical properties of the material without linkages between the chains forming the biopolymer are modified).
Also we are using predictive models and studies to simulate the shelf life of a food packaged in a biodegradable material.