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Swiss researchers create edible plastic packaging alternative

Swiss researchers create edible plastic packaging alternative

Researchers in Switzerland have developed a new alternative to plastic packaging - and it’s even edible!

Swiss researchers create alternative for plastic fruit and vegetable packaging

Researchers at Empa, a Swiss materials research organisation, have managed to create an edible alternative to plastic packaging, intended for use on fruit and vegetables. The cellulose coating is made from pomace, a substance that can be extracted from fruit and vegetable peel. 

The researchers worked together with the retail giant Lidl to develop the new material, in an attempt to help cut down on plastic waste in the grocery sector. 

The project spent one year focusing on making the new coating, which when applied to bananas, helped them to stay yellow for 10 days. This extended the shelf life of bananas, meaning that less were thrown away and wasted. 

Special coating washes off or can be consumed

The special coating can be simply washed off without leaving behind any waste. And it's safe for human consumption, too. “The big goal is that such bio-coatings will be able to replace a lot of petroleum-based packaging in the future,” said Gustav Nyström, head of the Empa lab.

To apply the coating, fruit and vegetables can either be sprayed with or dipped into the substance. The aim is for the company to improve the product with further research and development and to eventually bring it to the market in Switzerland across Lidl’s 150 stores. 

Emily Proctor

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Emily Proctor

Emily studied International Relations and Chinese, and is now undertaking Master's degree in International Security. She enjoys writing, cooking, and playing piano.

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