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VTT pilots transparent cellulose film for food packaging
Source:Adsale Plastics Network    Editor:JK    Date:13.Jun.2022

If a package has both paper and plastic, the consumer may wonder if it can be recycled with cardboard, or if the plastic needs to be torn off first. Some of the materials have alternating layers of fibre and plastic.


Many packages are placed among mixed waste by people who cannot think of a better way of disposing of it. Plastic that ends up in a cardboard recycling bin can be removed, but the plastic usually ends up incinerated.


VTT is piloting a new transparent cellulose film that reduces microplastic. The company aims at replacing plastic film with regenerated or recrystallized cellulose.


VTT develops a new transparent cellulose film.

“We can produce transparent and flexible cellulose film. The consumer cannot distinguish between the crystal-clear material and traditional oil-based plastic. Cellulose film can resist dampness, but in nature it disappears as completely as a sheet of paper does. The product is biobased and biodegradable,” introduced Ali Harlin, VTT Research Professor.


“The cellulose film developed by VTT can replace plastic as a more climate-friendly solution. It also makes recycling easy, as it can be placed in cardboard recycling along with other packages,” added Atte Virtanen, Vice President, for Biomaterial processing and products at VTT.


Finland remains far from the goals set by the EU for reducing the environmental harm caused by plastics. At present about 20% of plastics are collected, and even less ends up recycled. Under the EU target, 55% of plastics should be recycled by 2025.


Finland is currently more of a packaging material country than a printing paper country. Last year the value of sales of cardboard exceeded that of paper for the first time.


The forest industry is looking for new products with a big market, which bring value-added. VTT believes its flexible, transparent cellulose film is one such product. The production of packaging material is in the pilot phase, and it could be in extensive industrial use in 5 to 7 years.



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