Leaders in the food packaging industry are looking for ways to move away from plastics that harm the environment, and new technologies are in development to help accomplish their goals.
For instance, France-based Carbios is developing the first biological technology to transform the end-of-life of plastics, says Martin Stephan, deputy CEO of Carbios. The company has developed a novel enzyme that can biologically depolymerize all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste so that it can be efficiently recycled into new bottles. PET, the most common thermoplastic polymer, is used to manufacture bottles, polyester clothing fibers, and food containers.
Current recycling processes, which are mechanical rather than biological, are not able to break down the plastic to its original form. As a result, the recycled products they produce do not meet the same quality standards as original PET plastic.
Carbios’ process is “truly a recycling process, not just reuse,” Stephan says. “Any kind of PET post-consumer waste, including a transparent bottle, colored bottle, opaque bottle, or mixed packaging, is used as a raw material to make any kind of PET product, with the same quality and specifications as a ‘virgin’ PET.”
The enzyme that Carbios has developed and optimized is so selective that PET—“and PET only”—is broken down into monomers, Stephan says. Anything left in the waste stream, such as other polymers, paper, or adhesives, does not influence the process. The process operates at biological temperature, with hydrolysis at 72°C, atmospheric pressure, in water.
The food and beverage industry has made bold commitments to use more and more recycled plastics in their packaging to help reduce plastics pollution in the world, but “the objectives that have been set cannot be met with the current technologies of mechanical recycling,” Stephan says. He believes that Carbios’ technology can help food and beverage companies meet their goals for using recycled plastics because it allows for the recycling of any PET post-consumer waste, and can produce new PET plastic at quality levels that are approved for use with food and beverages.
France-based Carbios is developing the first biological technology to transform the end-of-life of plastics, says Martin Stephan, deputy CEO of Carbios.
British scientists have gained new insights into the compound in plants that plays a vital role in the natural process through which plants grow.
The food business is “brutal,” says Nancy Preston, a U.S. Army veteran who decided in Iraq that she wanted to work in that business. After learning more about the barriers to entry including the incredible financial risk, little access to capital, and a high likelihood of failure, Preston and her husband decided that instead of opening their own café or food truck, they’d focus on helping simplify the process for other food entrepreneurs.
Air Protein has developed a method of making meat analogues out of carbon dioxide. Based on NASA ideas about how to grow food on board long journey spacecraft, Air Protein says its technology can create protein in a matter of hours and without the use of any arable land.
An interview with Chef J Michael Melton of Impossible Foods
A look at innovations in metal packaging with a focus on cans and pouches.
Universities are playing an essential role in the development of new foods and beverages that respond to changing consumer demands.
Laurent Marcel of Danone Manifesto Ventures discusses Danone’s plans for investing in startups.
Geltor has announced the closing of a $91.3 million Series B financing that will fuel the global expansion of its ingredients-as-a-service platform.
Gathered Foods, makers of Good Catch plant-based seafood, has announced the appointment of Christine Mei as CEO.
Joywell Foods, a food technology company developing a sweet protein portfolio, has announced the closing of a $6.9 million Series A financing round.
Lee Kum Kee, an Asian sauce provider, has announced that its Xinhui Production Base was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification.
Oatly, maker of oatmilk, has received $200 million in equity led by Blackstone Growth.