Compostable tray devised for meat packaging

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bioplastic, Packaging

A recent development in compostable packaging trays for fresh meat
products can offer a sustainable alternative to existing tray
materials, according to its distributor.

Australia-based Biopak says that the Naturalbox tray, which is derived from a corn starch-based Polylactic Acid (PLA), can be used to improve shelf life for meats and other food products by absorbing any liquids exuded during storage. The product is made by Europe-based Coopbox at its factory in Italy, though is sold throughout the Oceania region by Biopak. Biopak claims that the tray's benefits are made possible by using Naturework's PLA, which is derived from corn starch by providing an sturdy lightweight alternative to a standard PLA tray. It also requires less packaging material use for the manufacturer to further cut down on landfill waste. Group managing director Richard Fine told FoodProductionDaily.com that corn starch is a particularly useful material for packaging. "It is made from annually renewable resources and is compostable in an industrial compost facility, reducing waste sent to landfill and dependence on fossil fuels,"​ he stated. Along with meats, the tray can also be used effectively in packaging cheese, fruits, vegetables and other delicatessen products, and has been designed with a high mechanical resistance for use in ordinary stretch film or PLA lidding machines. The company added that in its trials, the Naturalbox technology provided a shelf life of up to six days for red meats and 14 days for white meats. In a further boost to the packaging's green credentials, Biopak claims that the secondary packaging used to transport the trays is also biodegradable, and was designed to cut the volume of material required by a third. Fine added that the although the costs of using the system were currently higher than those of conventional trays, efficiency drives both in terms of material supply increases and production techniques was ongoing to drive price reductions. Nonetheless, from an environmental standpoint, Fine claimed that the Naturalbox tray offers significant improvements for processors in terms of reducing landfill bound waste. The product is available worldwide.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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