Biodegradable and edible films for food and pharma packaging

Veena to incubate environment-friendly film from BARC

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Biodegradable
Packaging is said to constitute one of the largest markets for plastics which are largely non-biodegradable and can only be sustainable if they are collected and recycled

Nagpur-based Veena Industries has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with BARC Centre for Incubation of Technologies (BARCIT), a part of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), for the use and scaling up of technology for manufacturing biodegradable and edible films for food and pharmaceuticals packaging.

BARC has developed biodegradable edible films for food and pharma packaging from natural resources for overcoming some of the disadvantages of plastic packaging materials that need to be collected and sorted for recycling. The newly developed films have comparable mechanical and barrier properties to commercially used PVC cling films.

Production and scaling up of this technology will be carried out at BARCIT, the incubation centre of BARC together with Veena Industries in Nagpur for applications in the packaging market. While scaling up this technology, economically viable and user-friendly packaging film products with improved mechanical and barrier properties will be given emphasis.

A suitable dose of gamma radiation will be given to the raw material to improve mechanical and barrier properties such as tensile strength and water vapour transmission rate. BARC will provide its technical know-how and infrastructure, whereas Veena Industries is to provide market search, human resource and material at its own cost for the incubation plan. The technology developed jointly will be licensed to Veena Industries.

Packaging is said to constitute one of the largest markets for plastics which are largely non-biodegradable and can only be sustainable if they are collected and recycled. Large-scale use of such packaging material is thus a major environmental concern and has led to a search for packaging materials that are biodegradable as well as recyclable.

One of the alternatives is the development of packaging material from biopolymers that are biodegradable, non-toxic and made from completely renewable resources. However, a major limitation in the use of biopolymers as packaging materials is their relatively poor mechanical and barrier properties such as tensile strength and water vapour transmission rate in comparison to non-biodegradable packaging films and material.

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