Are Bugs, Shrimp and Shellfish the Future of Packaging Materials?
The Future of Packaging Materials
Are Bugs, Shrimp and Shellfish the Future of Packaging Materials – Plastic packaging is one of the most widespread forms of packaging in use today—it covers the food we eat, it contains and protects many of the items we buy—basically, it’s everywhere! One of the great challenges of our time is finding a more environmentally responsible solution to using traditional plastic packaging, and researchers may have made a pretty unconventional breakthrough.
Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology experimented with layering cellulose with chitin, an organic substance commonly found in arthropods like insects, crabs, and shrimp. They created a plastic-like film (think Saran wrap) by combining cellulose nanocrystals and chitin nanofibers in water and then spraying them onto a substrate in alternating layers. What they created was astounding, as the organic film exhibited similar traits to traditional polyethylene plastic wrap, but with up to 67% less oxygen permeability. This kind of development could mean more durable packaging that comes from Mother Nature, and one that keeps our food fresher for longer!
There are obvious hurdles ahead for such a new discovery, such as scalability and competitive pricing against current plastic wrap technology. However, at EPE we are excited about developments that lead us toward a more sustainable future, and we will be watching with anticipation as this continues to develop!
At EPE we take a lot of pride in envisioning a more sustainable, eco-friendly future, and working to make it a reality. We have developed packaging technologies that provide product protection only where it is required, thus cutting out unnecessary packaging waste from entering the waste stream. Until there are viable options in the market of organics, we are discovering opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle every package we make.