Food packaging materials are traditionally nonrenewable ones, except for paper-based products. In effect, fossil resources could be considered as bio-based and renewable materials but it takes more than a million years to convert biomass into oil used for plastic production. Since the use of crude oil is faster than the replacement of biomass, an imbalance in the carbon cycle is recorded. From the beginning of the 20th century, increasing interest is being given to environmental concerns, racing the replacement of petrochemical-based resources by biologically derived resources. Plant-derived products and by-products obtained from their fermentation were the most interesting candidate for plastics packaging production. Such products, named bio-based packaging materials, have been defined by Robertson (2013a) as “materials derived from primarily annual renewable sources.” Starch and cel- lulose films, polymers obtained from fermented organic materials together with edible films and coatings are included in this defini- tion. At present, the term bio-based plastics means plastics obtained from bio-based materials. Both academia and industry are interested in such materials but their commercial use is still in progress with the hope that in the next decade the situation will change (Peelman et al., 2013). In 2010, the consumption of bio- based packaging materials was about 125,000 tonnes, very far from the 100 million tonnes of petrochemical-based plastics used for the same packaging purpose (40% of the 250 million tonnes produced every year). It takes many years to replace petrochemical plastics with bio-based materials. The driving force of this development could be the interest for a more sustainable packaging industry. Solid waste and litter problem together with the terrestrial and marine environmental pollution coming from the use of plastic materials could be the key of the bio-based packaging materials development. Since the production of packaging represents one of the most consistent causes of material-related environmental impacts, innovative tools have been designed for improving the environment as well as the economic performance of packages. At a global level, there is a strong interest in bio-based materials as a tool to address the food industry needs, to control the produc- tion chain, first of all by reducing material wastes. The aim is to assess and consequently reduce the environmental impact associ- ated with the production, use and disposal of food packaging mate- rials. In particular, edible, bio-based, and biodegradable materials obtained from renewable resources are driving ambitions to replace the packaging materials, coming from nonrenewable resources, to achieve a more sustainable development of the pack- aging industry.
|Titolo:||Sustainable Packaging (Chapter 8)|
SIRACUSA, VALENTINA (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|