Retailer Waitrose & Partners has joined forces with Scottish biotec firm CuanTec to work on a new film for food packaging made from waste langoustine shells.
CuanTec takes waste langoustine shells created from seafood processing to make a natural polymer, which can then be turned into a flexible film.
The material also has the possibility to be both industrially and home compostable.
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This new packaging is currently at the experimental stage, but the retailer hopes that the new packaging could be used as an alternative to conventional plastic film on some of its fish products in 12-18 months.
CuanTec chief executive Cait Murray-Green said: “For us this technology represents the perfect virtuous circle. As well as protecting food on sale to consumers, it gives value to what would have been a waste product and takes single use plastic out of the food system, meaning that less waste goes to landfill.”
Waitrose packaging manager Karen Graley said: “While we are still at an experimental stage, the potential for this new packaging material is incredibly exciting. Conventional plastic films can’t currently be recycled, reused or composted – so finding an alternative which doesn’t go into landfill would be very significant in helping us reach our target of ensuring that all own label packaging is widely recyclable, reusable or home compostable by 2023.”
The retailer was introduced to CuanTec during a pitch day to reduce plastic waste for its JLAB retail innovation programme and was impressed with the potential of the langoustine shell film.