Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Nature Fresh (Development and Commercialisation of a complete compostable film packaging system)
Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-09-30
In the light of the recently published ‘A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy’ document, all stakeholders involved in the lifecycle of plastic packaging are striving towards achieving a solution which could curb plastic pollution and its adverse impact on our lives and the environment. Consumers and retailers demand a packaging film which can be 100% recycled or can be completely biologically decomposed. Compostable plastics have the ability to break down, safely and relatively quickly, by biological means, into the raw materials of nature and disappear into the environment. There is a need of a totally compostable wrapping packaging solution (film, label and tray) along with an easy-to-use (and maintain) cost effective packaging machine.
In response to this market need, the project consortium led by Fabbri Group is developing a platform technology ‘Nature Fresh’ which is a completely compostable film packaging solution targeting specifically the fresh food packaging markets (meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables). Nature Fresh delivers retailers, food processors, and the common public direct environmental benefits and addresses a current opportunity to reduce the use of plastic. At the same time the product will assist in meeting sustainability initiatives. Through the project, the Consortium aims to carry out activities such as commercial scale manufacturing of the compostable films, design and development of the automatic wrapping machines, design and development of a compostable label and applicator system, gain regulatory approvals and conduct end-user trials to gain market acceptance and a swift market entry by Q2-2022.
Regarding the development of the scale, transportation and application unit of the Retail NF machine, as well as for the selection, evaluation and testing of the bio compostable labels with regards to processability, until now the following results were achieved:
-Designed all the transportation units to bring products from the automatic weighing system to the automatic wrapping machine using Nature Fresh film to pack products.
-Scale design and interface designed to weigh the product packed in Nature Fresh according the EU regulation, Including all electronics interfaces.
-Applicator design and XY-Axis design to print & apply automatically up to 2 labels on the top of a package and 1 on the bottom. Including all electronics interfaces
-Evaluation of industrial biocompostable labels
-Testing of industrial bio compostable labels with regards to printing quality/durability and to the adhesion to the Nature Fresh film compared to conventional labels
-Concept creation of common UI (User Interface) design for both machine parts, packaging and labelling to create an optimum user functionality
-Started programming of interfaces to control the scale, printing and application unit and programming of the UI
-Specification of prototype levels and components for each machine module as well as mounting guidelines for prototype components so every team is able to create the test rig at its site
-Ordering of prototype material
-Creation of testing scenario for field tests
-Started working on marketing concept to promote the EU project e.g. during the world packaging exhibition Interpack 2021
-Started working on route to market concept and adapted ESPERA blog with reports about the topic of compostability for the launch of Nature Fresh/Retail NF
-Ongoing market analysis, trend scanning and governmental regulation check with regards to compostable packaging material.
In relation to the implementation of WP6, 2 main tasks have been carried out during the period covered by this report: assessment of the European regulatory landscape related to compostability and food packaging and identification of the laboratory tests to be executed for the NatureFresh packaging solution. Work is also ongoing to evaluate the environmental profile of this final solution.