Most liquid dairy products in Europe are packaged in bottles, pouches and TetraPak® systems with good recyclable properties. The reality is that only 10-15% are actually recycled as they have to be cleaned well to be safely reused and selective waste collection is not universal. Dairy product packaging is subjected to medium to high temperatures during sterilisation and existing biodegradable materials are only of use in a limited range of temperatures.
Innovation: Working with seven partners, AIMPLAS Plastics Technology Centre, EARTO member through FEDIT, developed a novel biodegradable and compostable material that overcomes these limitations. With funding from FP7 project BIOBOTTLE, the consortium modified the chemical structure of current materials in a way that increased their thermal resistance without decreasing their mechanical resistance and biodegradability. The new material can be processed with conventional methods and at a lower cost.
Impact expected: It is estimated that over the first five years market penetration for big bottles will reach 20,000 tons, which translates into turnover of €85.9 million. As well as providing this competitive boost for the European dairy industry, the packaging degrades into compounds that do no harm to the environment and saves energy as no waste management process is required.