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Unilever and Mondi team up on green paper-based packaging solution

Unilever has worked with packaging solutions firm Mondi to develop high-barrier aluminium-free paper-based packaging for Unilever’s Colman’s dry Meal Maker and Sauces range. The material reduced plastic in the packaging, increased paper content, and replaced the previous unrecyclable multi-material laminate, ensuring recyclability in the UK paper waste stream, Mondi said.

The packaging has 85% paper content and an ultra-thin functional plastic layer that seals the packaging, and provides barrier protection for the food. Mondi and Unilever’s research and development teams identified this layer as the minimum acceptable protection needed to ensure a long shelf-life while maintaining high quality and reducing food waste.

Fikerte Woldegiorgis, foods marketing director, Unilever UK & Ireland said: “We are delighted to partner with Mondi to develop this recyclable paper packaging, becoming the first big brand within the category to do so. The new packaging, which uses a paper-base, ensures that shoppers can enjoy the same great tasting product they know and love, and now with the added benefit of being able to recycle the packs.”

Alternative oxygen barrier for food packaging

A research consortium at Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is working on an alternative to vaporised aluminium as an oxygen barrier for food and drink packaging, which is used for products such as coffee and crisps.

The new material uses a mix of positively and negatively charged polymers that form a dense protective layer against oxygen and do not require an energy-intensive layer-by-layer application. The discovery was the result of a collaboration between Wageningen University & Research, the University of Twente, BASF and AkzoNobel. Jiaying Li, a PhD student at the University of Twente, focused on polyelectrolytes, a type of polymer that is water-soluble.

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