World needs visionary Scottish packaging pioneers

Using everything from feathers to fibre, the globe’s brightest are coming up with less destructive packaging concepts. Scotland’s got some of the most creative minds in the world, what contribution can we make to the development of innovative packaging alternatives?

The great thing about having to find new ways of doing things is there are opportunities for entrepreneurial individuals with inspirational ideas.

This is certainly the case when it comes to looking at new ways to package products. There isn't a better time for Scotland to show its innovative credentials. And with the global packaging community coming up some great ways to sideline plastic, the time to innovate is now.

Fruit and veg nets from Austria

The Austrian biogenic packaging company, VPZ Verpackungszentrum, has developed sustainable and 100% biodegradable packaging nets for fruits and vegetables from beech trees.

The nets are made from a natural by-product of the forest industry. The trees are chipped when they get to a certain height, to thin out the forest, and give others space and light to grow. The wood is then broken down into pulp, spun into string-like material and knitted together into a net tube.

Supermarkets and organic fruit and vegetable producers have been using these breathable and natural nets since 2013. This net packaging helps to keep produce fresher for an additional two or three days. Organic delivery box company, Riverford, was the first business in the UK to switch from plastic nets to environmentally-friendly nets.

Wooden ready-meal trays from Finland

Finnish packaging manufacturer, Huhtamaki, has developed a fibre-based ready-meal tray. The cardboard-like tray, is compostable, certified as recyclable by the Forest Stewardship Council, and can be heated in an oven or a microwave.

This new packaging concept was developed as part of an EU-funded project called FRESH. The FRESH project aims to provide a fully bio-based alternative to black plastic ready meal trays by 2020.

Compostable crisps packaging from Herefordshire

Two Farmers, a crisps company from Herefordshire, has this year launched the UK’s first 100% biodegradable crisps packaging. The packaging is made from sustainably grown eucalyptus wood pulp, and it breaks down in a home-composting environment within 26 weeks. 

It's hoped that the packaging innovation Two Farmers has developed will spur bigger crisps manufacturers to will follow suit. 

Feather thermal packaging from London

London-based start-up, Aeropowder, has concentrated its efforts on shaking up thermal packaging with its product, Pluumo. Commonly made from non-renewable resources such as polystyrene, Aeropowder has turned surplus feathers, a by-product of the chicken industry, into an environmentally-friendly insulation textile.

Surplus feathers are cleaned and processed into textiles before being covered in a biodegradable film – a starch that is used in compostable bags. The textiles are naturally absorbent and Pluumo liners come flat-packed compared to bulky polystyrene boxes.

With the majority of the EU’s annual 3.1 billion tonnes of poultry feather waste currently turned into low-quality, low-value animal feed, Aeropowder saw potential. Feathers are strong, lightweight and water repellent. They’re thermally and acoustically insulating as well as being sustainable and biodegradable.

The company hopes this kind of thermal packaging will replace the need for polystyrene. The product’s perfect for recipe box companies, meat and dairy delivery services, in fact for any industry who needs to keep deliveries chilled during transport.

Innovation support for Scottish food and drink companies

Our team of innovation experts are here to support any innovation around packaging that moves Scotland beyond the reliance on plastic. 

Make Innovation Happen is a single source of innovation support for businesses involved in the Scottish food and drink supply chain.

Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise work in partnership across academia, the public sector and the industry to deliver a comprehensive innovation support service.

Make Innovation Happen can help your business by providing:

  • Access to 'connectors', who can offer support, advice and mentoring, as well as direction to appropriate support
  • Ideas and insights on how to innovate through articles and events
  • Funding through the Collaborative Innovation Fund
  • Help to access other innovation services provided by Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Interface and others

 

Looking for innovation support?

Our Make Innovation Happen service can help you improve employee, product and process productivity.