Share

Greening Food Packaging

“These barrier coatings have numerous other applications ranging from water-resistant paper, to coatings for ceiling tiles and wallboard, to food coatings for keeping taco shells crispy. The adhesive properties are useful for packaging as well as other applications such as formaldehyde-free wood fiber composites for construction.” ~Jeffrey Catchmark
Jeffrey Catchmark and Snehasish Basu. Photo by Michael Houtz

Jeffrey Catchmark and Snehasish Basu. Photo by Michael Houtz

Research Lead

Jeffrey Catchmark
Professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Product

An environmentally friendly, edible coating to replace petroleum-based coatings in food packaging that could replace millions of tons of plastic associated with food packaging per year in the United States, and much more globally.

Why it's Important

  • The global production of plastic is approaching 300 million tons per year.
  • In 2011, more than 29 million tons of plastic became municipal solid waste in the U.S. and 12.1 million tons of this waste was plastic packaging.
  • It is anticipated that 10 percent of all plastic produced globally will become ocean debris, representing a significant ecological and human health threat.
  • The technology has the potential to be incorporated into foods to reduce fat uptake during frying and maintain crispness.
  • Since the coating is essentially fiber-based, it is a means of adding fiber to diets.
  • Since the composition is also an adhesive, the potential exists to create improved fully natural composites with improved performance like wood fiber composites, drywall board, and ceiling tiles.

Status

  • Current work focuses on developing commercialization partners in different industry sectors for a wide variety of products
  • Patent application filed (14/894,914)
  • Direct approach to volume production established

Technology Development Awards

  • $75,000 - RAIN Grant (2015)