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Can Sustainable Packaging Help to Reduce Food Waste? A Status Quo Focusing Plant-Derived Polymers and Additives

  • The promotion of sustainable packaging is part of the European Green Deal and plays a key role in the EU’s social and political strategy. One option is the use of renewable resources and biomass waste as raw materials for polymer production. Lignocellulose biomass from annual and perennial industrial crops and agricultural residues are a major source of polysaccharides, proteins, and lignin and can also be used to obtain plant-based extracts and essential oils. Therefore, these biomasses are considered as potential substitute for fossil-based resources. Here, the status quo of bio-based polymers is discussed and evaluated in terms of properties related to packaging applications such as gas and water vapor permeability as well as mechanical properties. So far, their practical use is still restricted due to lower performance in fundamental packaging functions that directly influence food quality and safety, the length of shelf life, and thus the amount of food waste. Besides bio-based polymers, this review focuses on plant extracts as active packaging agents. Incorporating extracts of herbs, flowers, trees, and their fruits is inevitable to achieve desired material properties that are capable to prolong the food shelf life. Finally, the adoption potential of packaging based on polymers from renewable resources is discussed from a bioeconomy perspective.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Imke Korte, Judith Kreyenschmidt, Joana Wensing, Stefanie Bröring, Jan Niklas Frase, Ralf Pude, Christopher Konow, Thomas Havelt, Jessica Rumpf, Michaela Schmitz, Margit Schulze
Parent Title (English):Applied Sciences
Article Number:5307
Place of publication:Basel
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2021/06/07
Copyright:© 2021 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Funding Information:This research was funded by EFRE/NRW “Biobasierte Produkte” (Grant EFRE 0500035).
Keyword:active packaging; bio-based polymers; bioeconomy; essential oil; food waste; natural additives; permeability; plant extracts; shelf life; sustainable packaging
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Angewandte Naturwissenschaften
Institut für Technik, Ressourcenschonung und Energieeffizienz (TREE)
Projects:Biobasierte Produkte (EFRE/0500035)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 66 Chemische Verfahrenstechnik / 660 Chemische Verfahrenstechnik
Entry in this database:2021/06/12
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International