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Welcome to this week’s Innovation Zone snapshot from ThePackHub.

ThePackHub collates up to 20 new packaging innovations every week for our Innovation Zone database.

We have selected four new initiatives for you today.


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This Thursday 11th March 2021 at 3 pm GMT

FREE one hour webinar. Catch up on the latest sustainable packaging innovation trends with this whistle-stop tour of the latest initiatives. We will cover many recent in-market and developmental examples to inspire you and keep you up to speed.

We will be joined by Dr John Williams of Aquapak Polymers, who will be discussing their multi-functional polymers designed to eliminate plastic pollution.

Hosted by Paul Jenkins, Managing Director and Barrington Pamplin, Technical Director of ThePackHub

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#1 Recyclable alternative to plastic bags introduced


Leading provider of corrugated packaging solutions DS Smith has been on the innovation trail again with the introduction of what is claimed to be the first 100% recyclable alternative to plastic bags. The solution has the dual advantage of being accepted for conventional retail product pick up or for use for online deliveries.  As the single-use plastic bag ban continues to advance around the world, DS Smith is offering their Greentote solution as the first reusable and recyclable container made from renewable resources. The USDA food-contact safe alternative is made of cardboard and available in two sizes. The moisture-resistant fibre-based tote is reported to be sturdier than paper to help keep grocery items protected. Greentote can hold more than three times the number of groceries than plastic bags and can interlock to improve convenience during transportation. Greentote is coated with DS Smith’s proprietary Greencoat solution to deliver moisture-resistant capabilities.

#2 OLED tattoos could track freshness of food

A research team from the University College London (UCL) and the Italian Institute of Technology are developing a new high tech way to reduce food waste. The new light-emitting technology may still be a few years from any packaging industry commercialisation. Light-up OLED tattoo technology has been developed to help reduce food waste. The technology could be used to monitor a multitude of different metrics for the measurement of physical human performance as well as packaging applications to determine the freshness of food. The OLED tattoos are just 2.3 micrometres thick. The device is applied using water transfer and can be washed away after use. An electroluminescent polymer emits light when subjected to an electric field. This sits in between a pair of electrodes protected by an insulating layer, with the device then applied to commercial tattoo paper. The technology has been applied to a plastic bottle, an orange and some paper packaging. The tattooable OLEDs can be made at scale and not costly to produce.  Applying the tattoos to fruit to signal when it is past its expiry date is a target development area.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

#3 Water barrier coating eliminates PE film lamination

Many of the entries in the Innovation Zone indicate a clear trend towards the use of mono-materials to improve recycling. This trend has inevitably led to ongoing developments of various barrier coatings. In keeping with this trend, leading printing ink specialists and raw material manufacturers Hubergroup is launching a new water barrier coating. The improved formulation of the binding agents means that there is no longer a need for PE film lamination as a water barrier. Paper packaging employing the barrier coating protects packs against water and can be recycled in established paper recycling waste systems. The use of Hubergroup’s HYDRO-X GA Water Barrier Coating can facilitate the change from laminated to mono-material paper structures. The solution is suitable for use throughout the packaging industry, specifically for foodstuffs such as sugar, flour, and dry animal foods. The new coating is also suitable for non-food sector applications such as cement packaging. It is suitable for both coated and uncoated paper. Huber Group is also working on the development and manufacture of additional protective coatings that deliver oxygen barrier coatings.  The capability is available for use worldwide.


More info in The Innovation Zone.

#4 Bioplastic packaging film using marine seaweed in development

Researchers from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) based in Chennai, India have developed a new bioplastic film made from marine seaweed. The solution renders the same physical and mechanical properties of conventional plastics. The film is a combination of a species of red algae seaweed and a polyethylene glycol PEG-3000 plasticizer. PEG is a non-toxic polymer, often applied to enhance the thermos-plasticity of the polymer used in medicinal applications.  The new film will safely break down in the environment without any toxicity and no biomass used for feedstocks have been used  The algae is inexpensive as well as rapid to grow (45 days) using sunlight only without the use of freshwater or any chemical intervention. The polymers are similar to the plant-based versions used in food packaging applications that facilitate good oxygen and moisture permeability to help extend shelf life. Not only can the new bioplastic polymers biodegrade naturally without producing any toxic wastes, but they can also be disposed of through ordinary food waste collection.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

Watch our latest ThePackhub Expert Interview

Justin Kempson, Director of Sales and Innovation of UK thermoformed recyclable rigid plastic packaging company Charpak discusses how the business has grown, the growth and importance of sustainability as well as the business’s innovative Satchmo solution.

Packaging question of the week

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Please visit ThePackHub or call us on +44(0)118 963 9990 to find out more about the range of packaging innovation services we offer. We’ve delivered projects for a number of brand owner, retailer and packaging suppliers.

Until next time. Happy innovating.

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