ITENE technology center Is developing compostable materials for IV and V range product packaging applications, i.e. fresh vegetables, salad and ready meals, with processability and properties similar to those of conventional ones.
These advances are carried out in the COMPOLIST project, financed by the IVACE (Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness) through FEDER funds, with the aim of validating compostable packaging for applications in which these solutions are not used or in which available sustainable materials do not have the same functionalities as conventional ones. This project was launched last June and will end in June 2023.
the head of the project, Maria Jose Jimenez, highlights that COMPOLIST "works on the development of compostable materials with mechanical, barrier and thermal properties tailored for different applications". “In the design of the formulations, the requirements of the products have been taken into account to guarantee that, in addition to the processability and functionality of the container, the shelf life of the packaged foods is comparable to that offered by conventional materials,” he highlights. .
On the one hand, compostable materials will be improved for flexible packaging applications, such as those used for salads and fresh vegetables, through blown extrusion technology. On the other hand, work will be done to obtain materials for rigid containers made up of a tray and a lid film, such as those used in prepared dishes, by means of injection molding and flat sheet extrusion technologies.
The work carried out within the framework of these lines of research will focus on obtaining compostable materials through melt mixing technology with customized screw configurations and the mixture will be optimized in each case. After a selection of starting materials and the correct adjustment of the processing parameters, it is expected to achieve solutions equivalent to conventional ones with a more sustainable end of life.
Subsequently, the food safety of the containers obtained in the COMPOLIST project will be validated and their compostability will be analyzed in ITENE's own laboratories, which are recognized by ENAC to carry out the 4 phases that these tests consist of (characterization of materials, biodegradation, disintegration and compost quality).