Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS


SUSTAINPACK Streszczenie raportu

Project ID: 500311
Źródło dofinansowania: FP6-NMP
Kraj: Sweden

Final Report Summary - SUSTAINPACK (Innovation and Sustainable Development in the Fibre Based Packaging Value Chain)

The main objective of SUSTAINPACK was to ensure the future prominence and competitiveness of fibre based packaging using the exciting new opportunities in the field of nanotechnology, material coatings and communication technologies. Through research, development and application of nanotechnology SUSTAINPACK aims to reduce supply chain costs and add value by enhancing the functionality of fibre based packaging.

SUSTAINPACK is the largest and most important research ever undertaken into sustainable packaging. It has been a four year research programme with a budget of EUR 30 million, EUR 17 million having been funded by the EU Sixth Framework Research Programme (FP6). This has been supported by a project consortium comprising of 35 partners from 13 countries. The project team is represented by packaging research associations, academia and industry partners.

There are important development areas where the SUSTAINPACK project has made significant advances without producing a final packaging solution. For instance, its work on printing active elements directly onto packaging has laid the groundwork for a process that could ultimately make tagging of individual items more affordable, particularly if the research is linked to the development of Radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies.

The teams working on communicative packaging have made great strides in the use of visual signals through moving images. They have been successful in making bar codes, humidity and temperature monitors as part of the fibre-based packaging design. The project partners have realised that paper packaging is more restrictive than plastics in respect of design and hence the focus on the three-dimensional elements of packaging. Though there is not yet a product prototype, the team has gone a long way towards developing the materials research necessary to progress the use of nano-fibres in a wider range of shapes for packaging.

Market research was conducted in 2004 to determine demand projections until 2008. This was based on interviews with senior managers from more than 100 technology providers, brand owners and packaging converters. Results revealed that pack converters viewed track and trace, anti-theft, food quality and anti-counterfeiting as important/very important. Brand owners were less bullish than converters, rating track and trace as important / very important and tamper evidence, anti-counterfeiting, anti-theft and food quality / safety as fairly important. Winning technologies for converters included freshness indictors, doneness indicators, time temperature indicators, printed electronics and smart links.

Winning technologies for retailers were freshness indicators, chip RFID, Electronic article surveillance (EAS), time temperature indicators and printed electronics. Rapid growth in freshness indicators was expected due to changing consumer lifestyles, growth in modified atmosphere/controlled atmosphere technologies and consumer preference for foods with indicators. The most rapid expansion of intelligent packaging was forecast in pharmaceuticals and food. Although the main smart application is currently anti-theft, by 2008, it will be brand enhancement. RFID is expected to overtake EAS in sales, although it is still presently hampered by costs, improved functionality of barcodes, technical drawbacks and the lack of standards.

The SUSTAINPACK project has started the process of developing a new generation of packaging solutions using renewable and fully recyclable materials that also respond to the growing packaging communications market. The future for fibre-based packaging will require the re-engineering of the packaging value chain to deliver increased, capital efficiency, product innovation and more competitive packaging materials. The materials will require improved barrier properties to prolong shelf life and carry consumer information and brand protection using new communication technologies and active ingredients. In the future, the ability to completely recycle a package will become a prerequisite of the design itself. Improved collection systems will exploit the potential to characterise and increase the quantity and quality of fibre recovery in the recycling process.

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