From seafood waste to food packaging: CuanTec develops a new circular and compostable bioplastic made with chitosan

Type of organisation or company
United Kingdom
Language for original content
Project elaborated in partnership
Type of funding
several sponsors and investors
Paula Duffy

The blue biotech company CuanTec has produced a solution to address both food waste and plastic pollution using sustainable sources.

CuanTec takes waste from the fisheries industry and upcycles it into compostable food packaging made of chitin and chitosan. CuanTec sustainably extracts chitin - a naturally occurring biopolymer - from fish processing waste. CuanTec's chitin has a high molecular weight and a high and constant purity. While the company still uses some chemicals in their processes, their volumes are significantly smaller than in traditional methods thanks to the innovative biological steps in the process.

Chitin is then deacetylated to obtain chitosan. CuanTec's odourless chitosan is of high quality, and is also made with a sustainable process. Chitosan is mixed with other biopolymers and natural substances to create a flexible and compostable bioplastic film. This film can be used as food packaging to reduce the plastic pollution ending up in landfills and in nature. Furthermore, the anti-microbial characteristic of the film will extend the shelf-life of fresh food.


Main results

Every year, 8.8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea; a third of it has been used only once. Almost a third of food created in Western nations is wasted. 10 % of that loss occurs between farm and supermarket shelf. 

CuanTec processes waste from the fisheries industry biologically and upcycles it with strategic partners into compostable food packaging. The use of CuanTec's products leads to less plastic pollution, less landfill, less food waste and less economic loss.