Edible Food Packaging: Wave of the Future?

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This new form of edible packaging could help provide a sustainable solution to today’s waste problem.

Waste (and waste disposal) is a major problem in today’s world – especially in the U.S. – but in plenty of other countries as well. Despite the widespread availability of recycling facilities today, statistics show that 85% of all plastic food packaging still ends up in a landfill.

We can all do our part to reduce plastic waste by choosing reusable bags and food containers whenever possible. But what about packaged foods at the grocery store such as meat or packaged vegetables? If you can’t avoid buying these wrapped foods, it would be nice to have a more sustainable packaging option than plastic.

Enter edible packaging!

This unique new plastic-like packaging material is made from milk protein, so it is biodegradable, and you could even eat it if you wanted to (though I’m not sure why you would)… 🙂

Here’s more about this innovation in sustainable food packaging:

A USDA research team headed by Laetitia Bonnaillie and Peggy Tomasula has released their peer-reviewed research study refining the mechanical properties of a casein protein-based, plastic-like film that can be used as an alternative to plastic food packaging. This new product is much more hydrophobic than other biodegradable, plant-based films. This means it’s better at shielding food from moisture and humidity, preserving it from bacteria and other contaminants. It’s also up to 500 times more effective at blocking oxygen than plastic films, which also makes it more suitable for food-borne illness prevention. And the best part? You can eat it.

The film is made from a protein derived from milk called casein, which makes it completely safe to consume. Although originally flavorless, the compound could be added flavors, colors, scents, or other fun things…

The tough part, unfortunately, is that the production of this material is still vastly overpriced compared to traditional petroleum-based films and packaging….

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…Help create your ideal food environment, and make the decision to draw yourself away from single-use packaging and towards biodegradable (and edible!) packaging. And keep an eye out for the new casein-based packaging, coming to a grocer near you by 2019.

Check out the full article at UrbanFarm.org

 

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