The thermoplastic cellulose material is made using cellulose and fatty acids – two completely renewable substances. It can be used in food packaging in a similar way to plastic, due to its thermoformable properties.
Development work is already under way at VTT, in cooperation with Arla Foods, Paulig and Wipak, and the firm said it expected the material to be ready for commercial use within four years.
“We’re excited at the development of this 100% renewable packaging material,” said Kati Randell, strategic packaging development manager at Paulig Drinks.
“Packages we use for most of our products must offer tight sealing, puncture resis-tance and, for example, an oxygen barrier. Processability and running on the packaging lines are important, too.”
Bringing thermoplastic cellulose into industrial production would be essential to commercialising the packaging material, said VTT. The next step, it added, would be to produce hundreds of kilos of the material and process it into various packaging prototypes.