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Innovative cellulose-based composite packaging solutions

Demonstration of the techno-economic viability of a cellulose-based composite packaging enabling a reduction in weight and providing tailored shaped-to-purpose packages for various goods. Mechanical and functional properties (e.g. wet resistance) must be assessed against competing fossil-based products and relevant regulations, in particular when considering packaging for food products. Proposals should include activities to assure economical and sustainable access to sufficient raw material to set up the new value chain. Projects should produce a sufficient amount of composite packaging units in order to validate commercial viability of the process. Proposals will assess market demand and will address the validation and verification of the end products in terms of safety, quality and customer satisfaction. The integration of the developed approaches into a biomass cascading use should be demonstrated. Proposal will consider market pull related activities (e.g. standardisation, consumers’ perception) aimed at facilitating the market uptake of the developed products. Moreover, a life-cycle assessment should be carried out in order to evaluate the environmental and socio-economic performance of the developed products. The leading role of relevant industrial partners is considered essential to achieve the full impact.

It is considered that proposals with a total eligible budget of up to EUR 15 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals with another budget.

Cellulose-based packaging composite materials, consisting of new compositions of cellulose fibres and biopolymers, could be a viable fully bio-based alternative for fossil-based mouldable plastics (e.g. PET, PP, PE and EPS) meeting the high demands of the packaging market. Cellulose-based packaging products have already been successfully produced for many years; however, in order to enlarge their market potential to specific higher demanding applications, such as in food and electronics packaging, new solutions are needed to improve their mechanical properties and address contaminant control (dust, bacteria and other impurities). An additional challenge is to combine these requirements with meeting the specific features required for aesthetic packaging (e.g. surface finishing, printability and durability).

  • Delivering a safe 100% bio-based and biodegradable product. Products are expected to be at least 10% lighter than the fossil alternatives at the same functional properties and show a radically improved environmental footprint over the product lifecycle;
  • More than 50% CO2 emission reduction compared to a competing fossil-based packaging material;
  • Opening up new applications and markets and increase the competitiveness of the European pulp, board and paper making industries, additionally showing high potential in terms of job creation in rural areas, moreover showing high potential for replicability in Europe.