VTT has developed a solution to the problem of plastic packaging. Regenerated or recrystallized cellulose can replace plastic films.
“We can produce transparent and flexible cellulose film. The consumer cannot distinguish between the crystal-clear material and traditional oil-based plastic. Cellulose film can resist dampness, but in nature it disappears as completely as a sheet of paper does. The product is bio-based and biodegradable
”, says VTT Research Professor Ali Harlin.
In addition to their protective properties, plastics are important because consumers want packages that allow them to see the product itself. However, once they have been used, many packages are sources of problems.
If a package has both paper and plastic, the consumer may wonder if it can be recycled with cardboard, or if the plastic needs to be torn off first. Some of the materials have alternating layers of fiber and plastic. Many packages are placed among mixed waste by people who cannot think of a better way of disposing of it. Plastic that ends up in a cardboard recycling bin can be removed, but the plastic usually ends up incinerated.
“The cellulose film developed by VTT can replace plastic as a more climate-friendly solution. It also makes recycling easy, as it can be placed in cardboard recycling along with other packages
”, says Atte Virtanen, Vice President, for Biomaterial processing and products at VTT. “VTT has researched cellulose films for more than ten years, and for more than six years on regenerated cellulose in transparent films
”, Virtanen says.
The production of packaging material is in the pilot phase, and it could be in extensive industrial use in 5–7 years.Source: VTT