The GUACAPACK Project, funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency, aims to use renewable sources to develop an innovative biodegradable packaging system that includes barrier labels and antioxidant additives from avocado waste that will extend food’s shelf life by 15%.
When avocados are processed for use in food items, the amount of waste produced can account for more than 45% of the total weight of the avocado. In order to make use of this waste and extend the shelf life of prepared products, AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, is developing the GUACAPACK Project, funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI). The project is led by the company ITC Packaging and the Universidad de Alicante’s research group on Polymer and Nanomaterial Analysis (Nanobiopol-UA) is also taking part.
The project aims to develop a new biodegradable packaging system from renewable sources that also extends the shelf life of food by 15%, thanks to a label with an oxygen barrier function that prevents the oxidation of food, and to the incorporation of natural antioxidants extracted from the avocado itself, which also helps reduce the use of synthetic preservatives.
To achieve this, starch from the avocado seed will be extracted and purified to obtain a film that can be used to make multilayer in-mould-labels (IML) that have oxygen barrier properties and prevent the oxidation of food. In addition, the active components of waste avocado skin and flesh with a high antioxidant capacity will be obtained and used as a component of a bioplastic (PLA) that will be injected and moulded to manufacture the packaging system. When food makes contact with this system, its shelf life will be extended by 15%.
This option provides an alternative to the use of synthetic additives, as well as a new, high value-added use for agri-food waste to obtain biodegradable packaging from renewable sources. The project is therefore fully aligned with circular economy criteria.
This project will also help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 3 on Good Health and Well-Being, SDG 9 on Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and SDG 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.