Politecnico di Milano
Politecnico di Torino
Università degli Studi di Palermo
Università degli Studi di Padova
Sapienza Università di Roma
The project is focused on packaging materials and technologies to improve their sustainability in terms of:
i) Proper selection of constituent materials towards a ‘mono-material’ structure with high biodegradability and/or recyclability (paper-based and/or polyolefin-based and/or PET-based, properly functionalized and additivated);
ii) Analysis of processing and recyclability of novel biobased/biodegradable materials (also coming from waste biomasses)
iii) Valorization of cellulosic materials from wastes of the wooden furniture supply chain and textile industries for flexible and rigid packaging applications. Extraction of green additives (antioxidant, antimicrobial) and obtainment of reinforcing additives and/or fillers form further extraction from the remaining biomass.
iv) Production efficiency increased through optimization of processing conditions and the implementation of highly automated processes.
WP1 – Development of packaging material and structure
Task 1.A. Development of flexible packaging rooted on a ‘mono-material’ concept. An example, is the development of paper-based structures that are made suitable for packaging applications by proper functionalization using thin coating layers (3-4 microns thickness, deposited by lacquering, extrusion coating, lamination and similar) made of polymeric or inorganic (silica) materials, to impart resistance to fats, barrier to gases and humidity and sealability. Another example is the use of ‘mono-material’ packaging based on a specific type of polyolefin (i.e.,polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP)) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET); again, an important step is the functionalization providing specific properties.
Task 1.B. A second objective is the development of new materials by blending different biobased/biodegradable matrices, adding bio-sourced additives and/or micro/nano fillers also coming from waste deriving from vegetal or animal biomasses. The final goal is to have a full knowledge of the structure-process-properties relationships of the investigated systems as well as the characteristics of the secondary materials that can be obtained after their recycling.
Task 1.C. The third objective is the valorization of cellulosic materials from wastes of the wooden furniture supply chain and textile industries in the framework of packaging sector in different ways based on a fully circular approach: on the one hand, active compounds with antioxidant and antimicrobial action can be extracted from wooden scraps and textile fibres and used as green additives for flexible packaging; on the other hand, the biomass remaining after the extraction can be exploited as reinforcing additives and/or as fillers for reducing costs and environmental impact of rigid packaging in the same production chain.
WP2 – Processing optimization
Task 2A. The first objective is related to the optimization of the production of the packaging structure as, for example, by reducing wastes and start-up times in the printing, coating and lamination processes for the production of flexible packaging. An important role is played by further development of advanced automation techniques with advanced control systems based on Management Execution Systems (MES).
Task 2B. The second objective is the optimization of the process conditions in the packaging equipments. A relevant aspect is the optimization of the sealing process related to the use of the materials developed in WP1. The fundamental aspects of innovative sealing technologies, such as induction or ultrasound sealing will be explored.
i) Development of new materials and structures for packaging (flexible and rigid packaging, foamed packaging) rooted on a ‘mono-material’ and multi-graded single-material packaging concept;
ii) Eco-design and development of innovative biodegradable/recyclable packaging also obtained by using wastes from vegetal or animal biomasses and from wastes deriving from textiles or wood industries;
iii) Determination of functional/structural properties of packaging materials;
iv) Redesign of production and transformation processes of packaging materials and structures aimed at increasing sustainability through the reduction of wastes and start-up times (packaging sustainable by design);
v) Identification of the processing-structure-properties relationships of biodegradable materials as well as the features of the secondary raw materials obtained after their recycling;
vi) Development of advanced automation techniques with control systems based on Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES);
vii) Evaluation of the fundamental aspects of innovative sealing processes by identifying the effects of the most relevant parameters.