Could Casein Be The Solution To Plastic Packaging Waste?

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Could Casein Be The Solution To Plastic Packaging Waste?

Could Casein Be The Solution To Plastic Packaging Waste?

Consumers often use plastic wrap to prevent foods from spoiling, but it also presents a problem - plastic waste.  Plastic bags, food wraps, and other plastics are often not biodegradable, which means they end up in landfills, in the ocean, and other places.  Now, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture scientists have discovered how to create a packaging film that's not only biodegradable and superior for preventing spoilage, but edible as well!

 
This new packaging film is made using casein, a milk protein.  According to news reports, the edible film's small pores enhance the shelf life of foods as the packaging is 500 times more effective at locking out oxygen.  Additionally, when citrus pectin is added to the casein base, the film becomes more resistant to humidity and heat, and also becomes more durable.  If consumers wanted to, they could actually eat the packaging right along with the food it's protecting.  However, when thrown out the film quickly biodegrades.
 
The milk protein-based packaging won't likely replace plastic packaging, as the film would need to be wrapped to keep it clean and dry because it is edible.  Still, researchers believe the casein based packaging will have a positive impact on the environment.
 
What do you think?  Imagine your rib eye steak or provolone cheese wrapped in a film you could eat, one that protects the food inside from spoiling far longer than traditional plastic wrap.  Secondary packaging such as cardboard would be necessary to protect the film, which dissolves in water.  However, experts still say the edible film would be beneficial to the environment.
 
Markem-Imaje provides a wide array of coding and marking systems for industries including food/beverage, frozen, candy and confectionery, dairy, pharmaceuticals, and more.  For clear, durable marking on flexible packaging, foil pouches, rigid plastic, cartons, glass, paper-based containers and more, count on our industrial printing equipment to deliver beyond your expectations.

January 10, 2014
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