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VTT develops transparent cellulose film to replace traditional plastic in food packaging

VTT is piloting a brand new transparent cellulose film that reduces microplastic.

Food packages fulfil their most necessary duties after they shield food and minimise waste. Thin plastic movies are nonetheless tough to recycle, they usually usually find yourself in the fallacious locations after use.  VTT has developed an answer to the issue of plastic packaging. Regenerated or recrystallised cellulose can replace plastic film.

“We can produce transparent and versatile cellulose film. The client can not distinguish between the crystal-clear materials and traditional oil-based plastic. Cellulose film can resist dampness, however in nature it disappears as fully as a sheet of paper does. The product is biobased and biodegradable”, says VTT Research Professor Ali Harlin.

In addition to their protecting properties, plastics are necessary as a result of customers need packages that permit them to see the product itself. However, as soon as they’ve been used, many packages are sources of issues. If a bundle has each paper and plastic, the buyer could marvel if it may be recycled with cardboard, or if the plastic wants to be torn off first. Some of the supplies have alternating layers of fibre and plastic.

Many packages are positioned amongst combined waste by individuals who can not consider a greater manner of disposing of it. Plastic that finally ends up in a cardboard recycling bin may be eliminated, however the plastic normally finally ends up incinerated. “The cellulose film developed by VTT can replace plastic as a extra climate-friendly resolution. It additionally makes recycling simple, as it may be positioned in cardboard recycling together with different packages”, says Atte Virtanen, Vice President, for Biomaterial processing and merchandise at VTT.

Finland stays removed from the objectives set by the EU for decreasing the environmental hurt brought on by plastics. At current about 20 p.c of plastics are collected, and even much less finally ends up recycled. Under the EU goal, 55 p.c of plastics must be recycled by 2025.

Plastic film market price 110 billion {dollars}

Finland is at the moment extra of a packaging materials nation than a printing paper nation. Last yr the worth of gross sales of cardboard exceeded that of paper for the primary time. The forest business is searching for new merchandise with a giant market, which carry value-added. Flexible, transparent cellulose film is one such product. The world marketplace for plastic movies was about 110 billion {dollars} final yr.

VTT’s distinctive experience has been used in cellulose film as a substitute for plastic. “VTT has researched cellulose movies for greater than ten years, and for greater than six years on regenerated cellulose in transparent movies”, Virtanen says. The manufacturing of packaging materials is in the pilot section, and it could possibly be in in depth industrial use in 5–7 years.

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