Food packaging firm KCC Packaging has installed a pilot production line to begin the manufacture of biodegradable food trays for the ready meal market.
Tests by KCC have shown that the sugar cane by-product bagasse and a waterproof barrier used to create the packaging perform as well for durability, wet strength and effectiveness in cooking as traditional plastic trays.
But the KCC product can not only be frozen, microwaved or put in the oven like plastic trays, but it can also be recycled as paper fibre or used for compost.
KCC packaging developer Kevin Clarke said: “In discussions with a number of supermarkets during our pilot production phase, we see that environmental managers are realising the advantages that bagasse or bamboo trays have over traditional CPET and aluminium. This is the ability to biodegrade, lower carbon footprint needing fewer carbon credits and subsequent reduced impact on landfill.
“Since the KCC barrier trays will be the same size as existing CPET ones, there will be no expensive changes necessary to the manufacturing process, allowing an easy changeover for food manufacturers.
“With ever more ready meals being sold, and subsequently trays going to landfill, I’m confident that our plant-based, low carbon trays can help supermarkets reduce their carbon footprints, as these trays are the most natural green alternative for supermarkets and food manufacturers.”