Waste from the agri-food industry to be the raw material for compostable packaging thanks to a new project
Companies in the agri-food and packaging sector - Ametller Origen, Delafruit, Coberagelab, Samtack and Salaet -, business links such as Consorci de la Zona Franca and Mercabarna, a research centre of the UdG and IRTA, have joined forces in the Foodwaste for Foodpack project, which is promoted and coordinated by the Packaging Cluster.
The project positions agri-food companies as drivers of change to move towards a circular economy.
Organic waste from food production will be used to produce compostable paper, cardboard and/or fibreboard, which will be used for food packaging.
Foodwaste for Foodpack proposes an initiative of industrial symbiosis between companies from the agri-food sector: Ametller Origen, Delafruit and Cobeveragelab, from the packaging sector: Samtack and Salaet, with the support of business links such as the Consorci de la Zona Franca and Mercabarna, and the support of agents from the R+D+I system in Catalonia such as the IRTA research centre and the BIMATEC and LEPAMAP research groups of the UdG. Packaging Cluster acts as promoter and coordinator of the project.
Within this project, which will last approximately two years, it is planned to create a new circular system between the food and packaging sectors in which the waste generated by the agri-food industry is converted into raw material for the packaging sector to produce compostable primary or secondary packaging. Foodwaste for foodpack becomes an opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of organic waste from food production by converting the organic by-product into a high value-added raw material that provides a sustainable alternative to virgin raw materials and plastic.
The fibre-based material will be obtained using existing technology for the manufacture of paper, cardboard and/or fibreboard with a formulation that does not compromise its compostability and the final recovery of the packaging. Applications will be sought for the result obtained as a food packaging material and work will be done to functionalise these materials and provide them with antimicrobial properties that contribute to extending the shelf life of foodstuffs.
The project proposes a solution that boosts the circular economy, focusing on three pillars:
Valorisation of food waste from the food transformation process.
Reduction of the use of virgin PM, mainly plastic, as packaging material.
Design that ensures the final recovery of the packaging.
Foodwaste for foodpack is an innovative pilot project funded by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Operational Groups Programme on agricultural productivity and sustainability (operation 16.01.01 of the Catalan Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020). The pilot project drives the agri-food industry in its transition towards a circular economy that reduces pressure on the environment, improves resource efficiency, reduces waste generation and, at the same time, develops an alternative to the high legislative and fiscal pressure that the sector will have to face.
CoBeverage Lab SL, is an integral company in the development and production of juices and natural drinks with fresh raw materials and processed by high pressure. CoBeverage Lab is an expert in the development of new products with recipes adapted to different customers. Its LAB (laboratory) pillar is essential to achieve a differentiating product with the highest quality and food safety commitments through a reinforced commitment to internal innovation.
Delafruit S.L.U. is a global company based in La Selva del Camp (Tarragona), specialising in healthy baby food. Its main activity is the development and co-manufacturing of purees, smoothies and fruit juices, alone or combined with other ingredients such as dairy products, cereals, among others, in pouch, bottle and tub format for private and distributor brands.
The Consorci de la Zona Franca de Barcelona, the first consortium established in Spain (1916), is a public entity for economic revitalisation, which operates mainly in the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Its main activity is to manage the Zona Franca Industrial Estate and the Customs Free Zone, as well as to administer its assets and promote the international projection of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain in the trade fair, logistics and real estate sectors.
Gráficas Salaet SA is dedicated to the manufacture of paper and cardboard for the food industry, paying special attention to the innovation of its products and thus providing its customers with excellent service and quality. The company was founded in 1965 and since then it has always kept pace with the demands of the market, evolving towards new concepts for the future.
Grupo Ametller Origen is a food company specialising in quality fresh and processed products. As a result of their experience as farmers and producers, they have consolidated a vertically integrated business model, controlling the products they offer to their shops, both their fruit and vegetables and their processed products, from the point of origin. The Group has a central bakery for processed products of more than 4,000 m², from where the demand for processed products of the more than 120 shops, located in Catalonia, is currently met.
Research groups Advanced Biomaterials and Nanotechnology (BIMATEC) and the Laboratory of Paper Engineering and Polymer Materials (LEPAMAP) attached to the Department of Chemical, Agricultural Engineering and Food Technology (EQATA) of the University of Girona (UdG).
IRTA (Institute of Agri-Food Research and Technology) is a research institute dedicated to agri-food R&D+i in the fields of plant production, animal production, food industries, the environment, global change and agri-food economics. The transfer of its scientific advances contributes to modernising the competitiveness and sustainable development of the agricultural, food and aquaculture sectors in order to provide healthy and quality food to consumers, as well as to improve the welfare of the population. IRTA is attached to the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda (DACC) of the Government of Catalonia and is part of the BUSCA system.
Mercados de Abastecimientos de Barcelona, S.A., also known as Mercabarna, is the main wholesale fresh food market in Europe in terms of sales volume. It operates 24 hours a day as a food city with the aim of guaranteeing the supply of fresh food to the public. It is home to 600 companies specialising in the distribution, processing, import and export of fresh and frozen products.
Packaging Cluster is a non-profit organisation that was set up in 2012 by Catalan companies and today has more than 130 active members, including companies, knowledge centres and organisations representing the entire value chain of the packaging sector. The main objective of the entity is to help improve the competitiveness of its member companies, with the aim of solving the challenges of the current context, promoting innovation, and generating new business opportunities.
Samtack Sl since 1988 is dedicated to the manufacture of all types of glues, stickers, sealants and varnishes. The preparations are manufactured with top quality materials, both natural and synthetic. The raw materials are controlled on arrival at the factory and all products are subjected to strict quality control before being delivered to the customer.