Grass replaces plastic in take-out food packaging

Grass fibers can replace plastic as a 100% biodegradable and disposable material for take out food packaging. This is the goal of the new innovative SinProPack project, which aims to develop a sustainable alternative to the disposable plastics currently used for packaging.

The project brings together industry, consumers and knowledge institutions to develop, demonstrate, test and evaluate fiber-based packaging for take-out food through proof of concept, pilot scale trials and upgrade. industrial scale.

“Disposable weed packaging has many benefits for the environment. The packaging will be 100% biodegradable, so if someone accidentally drops the packaging in nature, it will decompose naturally, ”explains Anne Christine Steenkjær Hastrup, director of the center at the Danish Technological Institute. , who coordinates the project.

Each year, Denmark consumes more than 10,000 tonnes (11,023 US tonnes) of packaging for take-out food and drink. Replacing 10,000 tonnes of disposable plastic with a corresponding amount of bio-based and biodegradable packaging will reduce carbon emissions from packaging production by approximately 210,000 tonnes (231,485 US tonnes) of CO2 annually.

The project will form the basis of a paradigm shift in packaging solutions by introducing and demonstrating the possibilities of using green biomass for single-use packaging of food products, as well as a bioeconomy business model. sustainable for technology.

Green biomass is an easily accessible resource in Denmark, and green biorefinery for protein production is already of considerable interest due to the proven high yields of biomass, environmental effects and the potential to use untapped lowland biomass. unproductive such as grasslands.

“After harvesting the grass and extracting the protein for animal feed, we can refine and pulp the grass fibers into cellulose, from which we can produce packaging. In this way, we can use and enhance a secondary stream of protein production. This is a great way to add value for biorefinery, because not all grass fibers can necessarily be used as feed for livestock, ”says Assistant Professor Morten Ambye-Jensen from the Department of Biological Engineering and chemical from Aarhus University.

Fiber makes up about 70 percent of the herb used for biorefining after protein extraction.

In the SinProPack project, researchers will be looking at both grass and clover as sources of fiber, as clover will be the main biomass for future green biorefineries. However, the project will also take a closer look at the possibilities of using biomass harvested from peaty soil, which is generally more fibrous and contains less protein.

The project involves testing and demonstrating the technology at the demonstration and pilot facilities of the University of Aarhus and the Danish Technological Institute, and the company LEAF Packaging, which already produces and manufactures 100% biodegradable fiber packaging. for the food industry, will test and prove the grass fiber. industrial scale efficiency, stability and moldability.

The project received 3.3 MDKK (approximately USD 536,833) in funding from the Green Development and Demonstration Program, GUDP, under the aegis of the Danish Agricultural Authority.

This press release was originally posted on the Aarhus University Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering website. It was edited for style

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