Partially bio-based resin enables recyclable food packaging

The moisture barrier properties of food packaging materials are measured using the MVTR (Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate) methodology, which prevents water vapor from passing from one side of the paper or packaging to the other. To achieve a low MVTR, paper, and board food packaging are frequently laminated with aluminum or polyethylene (PE) to provide moisture protection, resulting in longer shelf life and improved product and package integrity. However, this creates recyclability issues for the packaging material, ultimately leading to negative environmental impacts and waste management challenges.

Covestro’s recent innovation, Decovery┬« CQ 6010, addresses this recyclability gap by providing a partially bio-based resin with moisture and oil barrier properties that completely replace PE and aluminum layers in food packaging. This makes it suitable for use in packaging for a wide range of foods, including fresh fruit, ice cream, frozen foods, and even dry, high-fat products. This newly launched bio-based resin contains approximately 37% plant-based ingredients such as bark, castor beans, and corn, which is a plus for the product while also posing a few challenges.

Given the scarcity of castor beans and the continuous hike in corn prices, will it be as simple as expected to compete in a price-sensitive market for PE or aluminum laminated products? Or will more innovations be added to the lineup, including compositions made with more sustainable and affordable ingredients? It would be interesting to see how the packaging industry transforms and changes in the future.

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