Technological watch

Food Plastic Packaging Transition towards Circular Bioeconomy: A Systematic Review of Literature

Advancement in packaging technology has played an essential role in reducing food waste and losses; however, most of this technology relies mostly on the use of plastics. Thus, there is an imminent need to think seriously about the transition towards a circular bioeconomy of innovative biobased materials with biodegradability potentials. This paper examines the driving forces behind the changes in food plastic packaging regimes and specifically seeks to understand how socio-technical configurations may influence niches to transition to a circular bioeconomy, particularly biobased biodegradable plastic materials. By employing a systematic review of the literature, we find that coordination with other back-end socio-technical systems that provide valorization of packaging waste is crucial to enable the transition. The literature indicates that one possible transition path is that the biobased biodegradable materials serve as “carriers of food waste”. The paper contributes to the discussion on the dynamics of food packaging in the transition to a bioeconomy viewed through the lenses of a socio-technical system (niche–regime–landscape), which continues to reinforce future actions, leading to better management of packaging end-of-life.

Publication date: 01/04/2021

Author: Macarena Beltran

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su13073896

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.