Waste from the agri-food industry will be the raw material for compostable packaging thanks to a new project

Submitted by Serena Rebollo… on 17 August 2022

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  • Companies from the agri-food and packaging sector ―Ametller Origen, Delafruit, Coberagelab, Samtack and Gráficas Salaet―, business links such as the Zona Franca Consortium and Mercabarna, a research center of the UdG and IRTA, join forces in the Foodwaste project for Foodpack, which promotes and coordinates the Packaging Cluster 
  • The project places agri-food companies as drivers of change to move towards the circular economy
  • Compostable paper, cardboard and/or fiberboard will be manufactured from organic waste from food production, which will be used to package food

Foodwaste for Foodpack proposes an industrial symbiosis initiative between companies from the agri-food sector: Ametller Origen, Delafruit and Cobeveragelab, from the packaging sector: Samtack and Gráficas Salaet, with the support of business links such as the Consorcio de la Zona Franca and Mercabarna, and the accompaniment by agents of the Catalan R&D system such as the IRTA research center and the BIMATEC and LEPAMAP research groups of the UdGPackaging Cluster acts as promoter and coordinator of the project.

Within this project, which will last approximately two years, it is planned to create a new circular system between the food and packaging sectors in which the waste generated by the agri-food industry is converted into raw material for the packaging sector. to produce compostable primary or secondary packaging. Foodwaste for foodpack becomes an opportunity to reduce the environmental impact derived from organic waste from food production, converting the organic by-product into raw material with high added value that provides a sustainable alternative to the use of virgin raw materials and plastic.

The fiber-based material will be obtained using existing technology for the manufacture of paper, cardboard and/or fiberboard whose formulation does not compromise its compostability and the final recovery of the container. Applications of the result obtained will be sought as packaging material for food and work will be done to functionalize these materials and provide them with antimicrobial properties that contribute to extending the shelf life of food.

The project proposes a solution that promotes the circular economy, focusing on three pillars:

  • Recovery of food waste from food transformation processes.
  • Reduction of the use of virgin PM, mainly plastic, as packaging material.
  • Design that ensures the final recovery of the container.

Foodwaste for foodpack is an innovative pilot project financed by the Operational Groups Program of the European Association for Innovation (AEI) in the field of agricultural productivity and sustainability (operation 16.01.01 of the Rural Development Program of Catalonia (PDR) 2014-2020) . The pilot project drives the agri-food industry in its transition towards a circular economy that reduces pressure on the environment, improves resource efficiency, reduces waste generation and, at the same time, develops an alternative that makes it possible to deal with the high legislative and fiscal pressure that the sector will have to face.

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