Chemicals Play Key Role in Food Packaging, Paper360º January/February 2020
Consumers now really ‘get’ the fact that fiber-based materials are environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastics when it comes to packaging. However, this is not simply a case of brand owners and supermarkets swapping one for the other; plastics have many features that fiber-based packaging simply does not have, at least at the moment. This is where R&D in chemistry comes into the forefront: in the future, chemical R&D success stories will drive the fiber-based packaging industry forward and will hold many answers in the quest to find more sustainable alternatives to plastics.
“Even now, in a lot of cases, fiber-based materials can provide an alternative to plastic-based packaging,” says Reetta Strengell, director of R&D and technology, Kemira. “However, replacing plastics in packaging is not a simple task. Without chemistry, pack-aging board would not have the required properties, such as stiffness, strength, or formability. In addition, all food packaging needs to be hygienic and seal proof, good for protecting food and preventing leakage. So, in R&D at Kemira we are doing a lot of work, for example, on barrier coatings to create resistance to grease and liquids, to find other new solutions to improve the functionality of fiber-based packaging, and to ensure that it meets high standards for hygiene.”
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