Food packaging keeps your ingredients fresh longer and is good for the planet sounds too good to be true, right? One Norweigan company begs to differ. Scientists at SINTEF, Scandanavia's largest independent research organization, are prepared to unveil a new kind of packaging made from a plant-based "bioplastic," which has the potential to revolutionize how you buy, store, and utilize your groceries, all the while reducing waste.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, a third of all food produced in the world is wasted, and much of this waste is generated by retail outlets and consumers who blindly follow "best by" dates on packages, often throwing away edible food due to a label. This particular issue led to the launch of an E.U. project that aimed to develop a smart packaging that would both extend the shelf life of food and be able to notify the consumer when the food is no longer safe for consumption.
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Four years later, SINTEF claims to have accomplished this feat, combining biopolymers, nanopartical components, and other way-over-our-heads technology, to create a new kind of "green" plastic. The use of improved oxygen barriers in the bioplastic "provides the packaging with new and improved food preservation properties," says SINTEF's Åge Larsen. "It is designed mainly to protect the contents from their surroundings and thus extend shelf life."