MAR 04, 2016 2:01 PM PST

New Food Packaging Material Better for Environment & Food

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The problem with plastics plaguing the Earth and the environment from incorrect disposal of plastic wrappers and containers is continuing to get worse. It’s terrible for wildlife and can have fatal consequences on a large number of species.
 
Moreover, plastic doesn’t just readily decompose. It lasts seemingly forever and causes harm to the environment for long periods of time.
 
Perhaps a new wrapping material for food at the grocery store will prove to be better for the environment?
 

A chitosan-based material fortified with grapefruit seed extract may be better for the environment and for food than traditional synthetic plastic packging materials.


Researchers have been experimenting with a type of bioplastic derived from chitosan, a natural polymer that occurs naturally in shellfish such as crabs, shrimp, and many other species. The specific film being tested is strengthened with grapefruit seed extract.
 
As it turns out, there are many benefits to using these chitosan-designed biplastics rather than using man-made plastics.
 
For one, they’re significantly more biodegradable, which makes it easier on the Earth because they’ll actually decompose instead of lingering around in the environment. Another benefit is that it can actually help improve the shelf life of the food wrapped inside of it by nearly double the amount of time.
 
Experimentation on shelf life was performed with bread. In a lab, bread samples were wrapped in a chitosan-based film and in synthetic plastic films, and the samples wrapped in the chitosan-based film lasted significantly longer. But why?
 
The chitosan-based film is better at blocking out the ultraviolet light spectrum, which means chemical reactions that would normally occur from ultraviolet light striking the surface of the food and causing expedited degradation or deterioration were reduced significantly.
 
Obviously, such a material could be taken advantage of in stores for various reasons – not only to waste less food, but also to help have a positive impact on our environment.

Source: Tree Hugger

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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