One of the greatest strains on the planet is plastic waste, especially single-used packaging. However, the industry is heavily reliant on the synthetically-produced compound, long being necessary to maintain food freshness by acting as a barrier to prevent unwanted transmission of oxygen, water, oil and grease.
Melodia was founded in 2010 to create pioneering solutions to address environmental challenges, the most pressing being plastic waste. The company was a spin-off project initiated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem headed by Dr Shaul Lapidot, together with composite expert Tord Gustafsson and nano material and plant biotechnology expert Oded Shoseyov PhD.
The Rehovot-based company has developed a barrier coating made from the only natural and sustainable alternative to oil-based products – the forest – using extensively patented tech (protected by 14 patents) to extract cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from wood pulp, a sidestream of the paper-making industry.
Turning the tide against plastic
Melodea’s CNC-based barrier is 100% biobased, lightweight, can withstand high humidity and an alternative plastic and aluminum in maintaining a product’s integrity. As a forestry byproduct, it’s also biodegradable, fully recyclable and non-toxic.
“CNC is the ideal environmentally-sound solution, delivering high-performance ‘clean and green’ paper-based packaging products,” said Zvika Weiss, CFO of Melodea.
“Our CNC is sustainably produced, recycling about 95% of the materials in the process, and its superior performance has been verified by academic research. CNC has great potential to turn the tide on the cascade of negative impacts from plastic pollution that have been a pressing environmental issue for too long.”
Projected to grow to almost $1bn by 2025, the global nanocellulose market is being driven by consumer demand for eco-supportive packaging, but also fast gaining traction among brand owners and retailers that want to differentiate themselves with a sustainable backstory.
Melodea is expanding distribution of its award-winning material to serve the burgeoning US market. North America accounts for the highest share of the global flexible packaging market and is home to some of the largest global players in the paper-based packaging field.
The company will operate a toll manufacturing plant in the US, which will allow for the cost-effective production, shipping and easier logistics for two of its products that counteract spoilage from oxygen, oil and grease. It has also forged a commercial deal with a major manufacturer of plant-based fibre solutions to produce its specialised moisture barrier.
All of Melodea’s barrier coatings are compliant with FDA regulations for food packaging
“CNC from naturally abundant and renewable cellulose is emerging as one of the most promising green solutions to help replace environmentally harmful materials,” said Shaul Lapidot, CEO and cofounder of Melodea.
“The new plant – combined with our newly established ties in the US – can can potentially triple our manufacturing capacity to meet amplified demands. It also will shorten the travel and subsequent carbon footprint by bringing production closer to our main markets in South America and the US.”
Melodea will be exhibiting its award-winning solution at PackExpo, running from 23-26 October in Chicago, US.