“The end of the throw away culture”
Project PULPACKTION will develop cellulose-based packaging solutions for the specific demands of the food and electronic packaging industries, reducing dependence on non-renewable fossil fuel based plastics.
The PULPACKTION project will take advantage of the flexibility in wet-moulding production of wood pulp based materials. Different types of wood pulp will be combined to prepare slurries for wet-moulding applications. These slurries will be combined with biopolymers and other bio-based compounds in order to tailor the final properties of the resulting wet-moulded materials.
To fulfill the properties required for PULPACKTION as specific packaging applications using a fully bio-based approach, additional barriers will be implemented onto the wet moulded substrate. For this purpose, new bio-based polymer blends will be optimized and will be processed into multi-layer films, composites and coatings that will deliver 100% bio-based integral packaging with similar properties to existing fossil-based packaging.
To reach target goals PUPLACKTION is organized into ten work packages, each working with a specific key part of the value chain needed to be overcome in order to present a new competitive packaging solution.
Project PULPACKTION is spread over eleven phases:
Phase 1 will investigate the likely requirements of potential customers and stakeholders, providing the consumer insight required to address expectations. This will assist the project in determining the optimal material compositions that meet customer perceptions. It will also validate functionality and credence attributes for the targeted final applications.
Phase 2 determines the optimal choice of basic components – pulp type, bio-based polymers and additives to ensure quality, suitability and cost effective production of compression-moulded pulps. The type and mix of components need to be selected as a function of the production process and specific applications.
Phase 3 will optimise the wet moulding process for cellulose-based packaging for the pulp slurries developed in Phase 2.This will deploy specific moulds, drying steps and overall design issues.
Phase 4 undertakes production of the composites, coatings and films to reach the requirements needed for the selected final packaging applications. These will be 100 percent bio-based materials, incorporated onto the wet moulded cellulose-based package as structure. Two different structures will be developed, one that will be applied as a coating to the compression-moulded part; the other is a lid for use in food packaging or as blister packs for electronics packaging. Several technologies will be combined to meet the final properties demanded by each targeted application.
Phase 5 develops traceability solutions for the packaging, by developing bio-based inks that will print QR codes as an information tool and will validate the QR system in a pilot. This phase will also see the development of a specific, dedicated software and vision system to host information about the products.
Phase 6 will implement the innovations developed in the earlier phases on a semi-industrial scale. Firstly, the wet moulded cellulose based part of the package will be assembled with the improved bio-based materials from Phase 4. This will validate their application in food and electronics. The ultimate aim of this phase is to deliver sizeable quantities of the two demonstrators for further activities, including biodegradability studies, validation of product-package interactions and dissemination activities.
Phase 7 validates the performance of the developed prototypes in their targeted applications. This involves selecting three ready meal packs with differing requirements and the most restrictive electronic products. The products will be packed in semi-industrial settings; for the food packaging, this will be a specialist facility. The performance of the product-package will be evaluated during its packaging and distribution until it reaches the consumer; for the ready meals, shelf life will also be evaluated.
Phase 8 will undertake a full lifecycle assessment of the new packing solutions. The objective is to demonstrate a 50 percent reduction in emission compared to competing fossil-based packaging for food and electronics applications. It will also determine both the socio-economic viability of the solutions and their biodegradation.
Phase 9 is dedicated to protecting IPR for the outputs of the project and to disseminating and exploiting the project as results both in Europe and in the global food and electronic packaging industries. Dissemination activities will include a dedicated, regularly updated project website, brochures, press releases, attendance at congresses, conferences and trade fairs, journal publications, project newsletters, a video and a series of European workshops.
Phase 10 addresses managing the Consortium. It will define, propose and establish the activity plan of activities for project management as well as the organisation and operating procedures. It will also address the exchange of information between partners, reporting and quality.
This phase will provide the guidelines for the project management during the whole project duration, striking a balance between control and flexibility. It covers liaison with the European Commission on ongoing evaluation of progress.
Phase 11 will ensure that the project meets with all ethics requirements demanded.