Plastic Alternative : Compostable packaging better at boosting shelf life

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TIPA-in tandem with PerfoTec-has produced a type of compostable packaging that doubles the shelf-life of fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables and flowers.

Manufacturers experimenting with biobased and biodegradable materials often contend with functionality issues which has led to the continued proliferation of plastic in the packaging industry. Being both cheap and convenient, plastic comes in all shapes, sizes and colours, often touted as the only suitable packaging material for the likes of meat, fish, cheese and prepared vegetables. (Recent breakthroughs with plastic alternatives such as mushroom or seaweed-based packaging may be set to change that, yet these methods are often still in the R&D stage and far from being universally adopted.)

TIPA’s laser microperforated compostable film does not only perform like virgin plastic but degrades as compost into the soil without leaving behind any pollutants such as toxic chemicals or microplastics. Said packaging solution aims to combat carbon emissions and plastic pollution whilst reducing food waste. The latter is achieved via PerfoTec’s patented High Precision Laser Technology which enables longer-shelf by adapting the barrier permeability of the food packaging in question.

Researchers discovered that TIPA and PerfoTec’s compostable packaging does not only represent a viable alternative to conventional plastic packaging but may in fact trump carbon-based plastics when it comes to ensuring the freshness of produce.

A team of scientists at the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) and the Volcani institute tested both conventional plastics as well as TIPA’s bespoke compostable plastics using cucumbers and bell peppers.

Their findings confirmed that said compostable packaging increased the shelf life of bell peppers by 21 days and the shelf life of cucumbers by 15 days. These results trumped those gotten with conventional plastics.

The respective studies were published in the journals ‘Foods’ as well as ‘Food Science & Nutrition’.

Eli Lancry Ph.D, VP Technology of TIPA, said: "Here at TIPA, we have been confident for a long time that compostable packaging is not only functional, but is the future of how we package our food. Plastic has dominated our lives for decades, but that does not mean things cannot change. Compostable packaging is a ready-made solution to end the scourge of plastic waste where packaging is needed."