Spain's Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico (Aimplas) claims to have made significant progress on the development of functional barriers in food packaging using non-authorised recycled materials.
Based in Valencia, Aimplas was the co-ordinator of the European Union-funded ‘Banus' project, a two-year exercise which looked at what could be used as a barrier in food packaging and which saw participation from a number of firms and institutions, including the UK's Delta Print and Packaging.
Aimplas said that during the research major breakthroughs had been achieved on the existing methods for the evaluation of the functional barrier performance of different structures, “including the optimisation of methodologies of contaminating materials and the evaluation of the migration of the substances used as contaminants.
“A considerable advance has also been made in knowledge regarding characterisation methods of the coatings evaluated and the behaviour of the contaminant substances inside the different structures evaluated.”
Aimplas admitted none of the evaluated structures had proved 100% effective.
But it said the results of the evaluation carried out had “allowed the participants to know which the critical points of the current structures are, which were the options that could work for certain applications, and which the developments needed to achieve 100 % effective structures are, from the knowledge acquired”.
Undertaking Banus had meant a major advance in the knowledge of the effectiveness of coatings already existing in the market and the possible improvements applicable in order to get a coating that is able to satisfy the requirements of the project's participants, Aimplas said.
"On the other hand, it has been confirmed the existence of problems of diffusion of the contaminant substances during the transformation phase by coextrusion, which limit the barrier effectiveness of the structures obtained by means of this processing technique," it added.