The Greening of Food Packaging

by Dennis Machicao

According to an article in the Packaging Digest, there seems to be a new development in the material that is used in food packaging.

It seems that the Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute has come up with a biodegradable food packaging material that can both protect food and extend shelf life while at the same time be environmentally friendly.

It is a tray that instead of using petroleum based plastics to manufacture it, it is a film that is a combination of clay and a thermoplastic starch made from cornstarch that gives strength to the material.

According to Dr. Blessie A. Basilia of DOST-ITDI, the clay is processed to loosen the clay’s layers and then blended with this thermoplastic starch. The clay is treated with ions, a process called ion exchange, thus widening the spaces between the layers of clay resulting in a clay called organoclay or nanoclay.

This transformed clay is now more receptive to be blended with the thermoplatic starch thus being able to form containers that were once formed with petroleum based plastic but are now biodegradable.

This “plastic” container is then submitted to a migration test that makes sure the food that is packed in the container is not contaminated by the packaging material. Now instead of having food plastic containers stagnating in the local landfill, they now become biodegradable.

This green packaging technology developed by the DOST will not only benefit the food packaging industry but can also be extended to green the plastic packaging process in general.

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