REFUCOAT: recycling food packaging and preventing salmonella

Illustration food waste
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Elisa Cones Sánchez

Food wastage has become a worldwide problem. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every European throws away an average of 179 kg of fit-to-eat food each year. Food loss and wastage must be reduced to create a Zero Hunger world and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The European REFUCOAT project developed sustainable active packaging solutions in response to the European Union's challenge of ensuring that all packaging is recyclable by 2030. It researched packaging solutions that could help reduce the amount of food wasted. It developed production processes for innovative, efficient bioplastic used to package food using renewable, recyclable materials which could replace conventional fossil-fuel based materials.

The project also broke new ground by devising coatings that go a long way towards reducing the proliferation of Salmonella bacteria in chicken breast samples packaged in a modified atmosphere.

Main results

The REFUCOAT project ended in October 2020 after successfully validating all the new forms of packaging and comparing their performance with metallized packaging currently used for industrial products. Tests were also carried out to compare the products’ shelf life and biodegradability with those of current conventional packaging already on the market.

All the packaging systems developed by the REFUCOAT project can be recycled and/or converted into compost.