BIOCOPAC (Development of bio-based coating from tomato processing wastes intended for metal packaging) claims the project will comply with EU Directive 2008/98/EC.
Headed up by Stazione Sperimentale per l'Industria delle Conserve Alimentari (SSICA) in Italy, the group is creating bio-based thermosetting lacquer.
Wax-like water repellent material
Dr. Angela Montanari, project coordinator SSICA, said the team started analyzing and characterizing tomato wastes and will develop an extraction method optimizing the bio-resin.
“The partners are using environmentally friendly techniques to extract the bio-resin from tomato peel,” she said.
“The bio-resin is actually cutin - a wax-like water-repellent material found in the walls of various plant cells.”
Decrease use of plastic containers
BIOCOPAC is confident its packaging will improve the quality of metal cans and decrease the use of plastic containers.
It also means small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can be more competitive in the metal packaging sector.
Montanari added lacquer for metal packaging used for food products with chemico-physical properties will be entirely natural and the final lacquer will be similar to those used traditionally, and usable in industrial plants.
Additional tests for food tins
The lacquers will be designed to meet EU legislation requirements, but the partners will carry out additional tests to find out if their product is suitable for food tins and packaging.
BIOCOPAC's concept is based on an old patent developed by SSICA in the 1940s. The research will lead to improved use of Europe's renewable agri-food resources and support companies' to become 'greener'.
The group comprises four research centers and SMEs, and three enterprises from the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Greece, Liechtenstein and Spain.
The project, funded by the 'Research for the benefit of SMEs' part of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), will end next month.