Characterizing Mechanical, Heat Seal, and Gas Barrier Performance of Biodegradable Films to Determine Food Packaging Applications
In an organic circular economy, biodegradable materials can be used as food packaging, and at end-of-life their carbon atoms can be recovered for soil enrichment after composting, so that new food or materials can be produced. Packaging functionality, such as mechanical, gas barrier, and heat-seal performance, of emerging biodegradable packaging, with a laminated, coated, monomaterial, and/or blended structure, is not yet well known in the food industry. This lack of knowledge, in addition to end-of-life concerns, high cost, and production limits is one of the main bottlenecks for broad implementation in the food industry. This study determines application areas of 10 films with a pragmatic approach based on an experimental broad characterization of packaging functionality. As a conclusion, the potential application of these materials is discussed with respect to industrial settings and food and consumer requirements, to support the implementation of commercially available, biodegradable, and, more specifically, compostable, materials for the identified food applications.