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Tomorrow never crumbs: The best biodegradable food packaging

  • By Chris Thorpe
  • October 07, 2015
  • Beverage
  • Food

Tomorrow’s packaging technology is here today. And it’s biodegradable. Here are five of the most innovative, eye-opening and ingenious examples of environmentally-friendly food packaging available today.

Eco-friendly packaging matters. Earlier this year (July 2015) Tetra Pak ran an environmental survey that encompassed 6,000 consumers in 12 countries. More than three-quarters of respondents stated that environmentally-friendly packaging influences the brand they buy. For brands across the world it means that eco-friendly packaging is no longer just a case of being kinder to Mother Nature – it’s business-critical.

Here are five of our favourite examples of eco-friendly designs.

1 – Tomato packaging made from tomato plants (Solidus Solutions)

Every year tomato growers compost huge quantities of residue from tomato plants. Packaging manufacturer Solidus Solutions gave Dutch tomato brand Duijvestijn Tomaten another option: turn the raw materials into packaging. The tomato plant residue is combined with waste paper fibres and processed into solid board to make the perfect home for their vine tomatoes.

2 – Wine bottles packaged with mushrooms (Ecovative)

Normally the closest mushrooms and wine get to each other is with a risotto and a bottle of plonk. Not anymore. New York biomaterials company Ecovative has developed a way to make 100% compostable wine packaging from mushrooms. It’s made from agricultural bi-products (such as corn stalks) and the vegetative root structure of mushrooms known as mycelium. It has the versatility to replace plastics, polystyrene and a glut of other man-made materials. There are no petrochemicals and when the material is disposed of it fills the soil with nutrients.

3 – Preserve your food with lobster film (University of the Basque Country)

It’s still at the research stage, but chitosan has the potential to revolutionise the way consumers preserve leftover food. It’s essentially a film made from the shells of crustaceans such as crabs, crayfish, shrimp, krill, barnacles and lobster. Not only is it biodegradable, it also has natural antimicrobial properties to slow the rate at which foods spoil.

4 – Hazelnut packaging for dinner party treat (Stora Enso/PTS)

They have laid claim to crafting the dinner party chocolate sweet of choice since 1982. Now the manufacturers of Ferrero Rocher are having a go at creating eco-friendly packaging too. Ferrero is the world’s largest consumer of hazelnuts. Rather than put the empty shells to waste, they have teamed up with packaging manufacturer Stora Enso and German research firm PTS to use them in packaging. The hazelnut fibres are only used in the middle layer of board packaging to protect consumers with nut allergies.

5 – Eco-friendly thinking takes to water (360)

Holding water – or any liquid – in a bottle made of paper might not sound like the smartest idea. But that didn’t stop the manufacturers behind Paper Water Bottle – a one-use, disposable bottle made from a blend of sugar cane, bamboo, bagasse, and wheat straw. It’s the first bottle of its kind and is designed to help tackle the problem that only 14% of plastic bottles are recycled.

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