With growing awareness about environmental concerns, the biodegradable nature of cellulose film has made it an ideal choice in the development of sustainable solutions for packaging, with the aim of reducing the overall carbon footprint of the packaging industry.
Bio-based Nano-Composites of Cellulose Attracts Attention
Materials based on biopolymers have rapidly gained interest in recent times for the role of plastic alternatives, for increased activity in the development of sustainable materials, for packaging. Materials derived from plants such as cellulose are currently undergoing extensive research, for improvements in active biodegradability.
On the other hand, cellulose films are restricted from extensive industrial use owing to limitations in the barrier and mechanical characteristics of the material in comparison to conventional plastic. Moreover, biopolymers such as cellular films are also restricted by their poor resistance to moisture. However, these issues are expected to be circumvented through the development of nano-composite technology.
For example, the nanocomposite of carboxymethylcellulose sodium is made using the combination of carboxymethylcellulose sodium with zinc oxide, which displays significant improvements in tensile strength and elasticity, along with notable reduction in the permeability of water vapor.
Cellulose films are also finding widespread application in the food industry as edible packaging materials. This is particularly true of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, which makes use of chitosan nanoparticles to improve on physical properties, to reduce the penetration of carbon dioxide, oxygen and more, boosting the prospects of the cellulose film packaging market.
Sustainability Activities Drive Innovations in Cellulose Film Materials
With the growing importance given to sustainability practices renewable bio-plastic materials have been developed from numerous sources including corn, wheat, and potatoes among others. However, cellulose based films are gaining popularity owing to its easy availability and abundance in nature. Packaging businesses are focusing their efforts on material improvements to meet a wider scope of packaging needs.
For example, NatureFlexTM by Futamurahas developed cellulose film packaging materials that are resistant to oils and fats, with the use of heat-seal resins that makes the material safe for use in microwave or oven applications. The cellulose is derived sustainably harvested wood pulp, and can comprise up to 99% of bio-based materials.
Moreover, the company has tied up with Bio4Pack by combining cellulose based Tipa and NatureFlex films, which are being used as packaging for food items aimed towards the growing presence of plastic-free aisles in the retail market.
The Research Institutes of Sweden has prototyped cellulose film based containers for food items such as cup soups, which stretch into compostable bowls on the addition of hot water, which provides new opportunities for major retailers such as the UK’s Iceland and the Netherland’s Ekoplaza, that are aiming towards zero-plastic in the near future.
This article was published on packagingworldnews.com.