In India, where some 40 per cent of food is wasted before it even reaches the markets, the absence of appropriate packaging in supply chains can cause food to rapidly deteriorate. Now, a consortium of UK and Indian businesses and organisations has developed a new compostable film designed to reduce food and plastic waste. The new compostable plastic film, called BioFreshPak, was developed by a team of experts led by Nextek in the UK and MIT in India and backed by Innovate UK and the Newton Fund.
Cassava waste is used to make the BioFreshPak compostable film. The project began in September 2017 and trials have now been successfully completed for a unique breathable film made of compostable polymers and waste starch from India.
BioFreshPak is made from a blend of starch from cassava processing waste and other compostable polymers, and slows moisture loss and enhances storage stability of food during transport, even at high temperatures.
The film is put forward as a compostable alternative to bio-based polymers for film such as PLA, which is slow to decompose outside of a controlled environment, and aims to keep food fresh for longer without using conventional plastic film, which is largely unrecyclable, especially in developing countries.