October 2008

Sustainable, renewable, nano-derived packaging

The EU will invest millions in a project to develop sustainable packaging that precludes the use of petroleum-based materials.

Packaging News reported the European Union will spend $9.5million (€6.5million, £5.2million) in a project to develop sustainable and renewable packaging materials using nanotechnology.

The four-year SustainComp project involves 17 European organizations, including packaging material manufacturers Alcan, SCA, and Novamont, plus chemical companies and associations.

All participants will put research money into the project to take the total budget to $13.4 million (€9.5million).

Swedish research and development outfit STFI-Packforsk is project coordinator.

SustainComp (www.sustaincomp.eu) aims to develop sustainable nanostructured wood-based biocomposite materials for packaging and transportation to replace oil-based products.

SCA's research director Folke Österberg said sustainability was high on the firm's agenda, and he expected SustainComp would find "new renewable cost-effective materials that can be implemented in existing manufacturing organizations."

Novamont strategic projects manager Cecilia Giardi said the project could result in the development of composite products that improved the performance of and increased applications for both biodegradable and wood-based products.

The project aims at developing new types of sustainable composite materials for a wide range of applications and has the ambition to integrate today's large enterprises on the raw material and end-use sides, like pulp mills and packaging manufacturers, and small and medium-sized enterprises on the composite processing side, like compounders and composite manufacturers.