PROLIFIC: Greener and functional plastic packaging

There is great potential for green innovations of plastic packaging. Already in its first public workshop “Residual Biomasses for Eco-compatible and Sustainable Food Packaging” Prolific explored the various options to produce and apply bio-based polymers or biomass-derived fillers. Further efforts are directed towards improving the shelf-life of perishable goods by functional packaging. The encapsulation of active compounds like polyphenols, or coatings containing chitosan potentially bring anti-bacterial, anti-fungal or antioxidant properties.

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PROLIFIC contributes to these ambitions. University of Bologna, University of Pisa and Femto Engineering are developing composites combining commercially available biopolymers and fibre rich residues remaining after PROLIFIC extraction steps. Utilising residues is an important part in the cascading approach of PROLIFIC and decisive to achieve the “zero waste” goal.

The partners were able to compose formulations with mechanical and tensile properties suitable for the actual melting and moulding process, including up to 20 % coffee silverskin or 10 % of chickpea residues after protein extraction. Test to also include polyphenols extracted from coffee green beans to provide anti-oxidant activities are ongoing. We will eventually use such composites to produce prototypes of coffee capsule bodies and rigid jars for cosmetic packaging.