The British “Nature Communications” magazine published a new progress in materials science on the 11th: scientists at Oxford University have developed a completely recyclable and very safe transparent film, which can even replace existing metal coatings for food packaging composite material.
The film uses a new environmentally friendly manufacturing process that is easier to recycle than materials currently used in the industry.
A key requirement in today’s economic development is to extend the shelf life of food as much as possible while meeting food safety requirements. But unfortunately, there are serious environmental problems with the current way of food packaging. In view of the needs of sustainable development in the future, people’s requirements for packaging are not only “recyclable”, but also “recyclable”, while the current common composite materials containing metal coatings have great deficiencies in this regard— —It provides a barrier that is essential for food preservation, but the material is extremely difficult to separate and recycle.
So Oxford University scientist Dermot O’Hare and colleagues have developed a recyclable, eco-friendly film that can replace the metal coatings currently used in food packaging while providing a similar level of protection to food .
The thin film synthesized by the research team is composed of layered double hydroxide (an inorganic material), and the production process is cheap and environmentally friendly. The required materials are water and amino acids. The resulting film is transparent in color, as a metallic coating, and as resistant to oxygen and water vapor as it is strong. Because the films are synthetic, their composition is fully controllable, which greatly improves their safety in contact with food.
The research team said that at present, the film has met the safety standards for food contact materials, and further testing is needed at this stage before it can be practically used in food packaging on the market.