“We have developed a new bioplastics based on whey protein for the processing of food packaging”, said Elodie, Benicar, one of the leaders of the project “Ecomaterials”.
The new plastic is part of the protein derived from whey. As a result, this plastic decomposes enzymes.
“Whey is a by – product of cheese production. It contains about seven percent of dry matter, rich in proteins, which can be used in the production of “serum layer” for our new bioplastic,” the delves into the details of Elodie, Benicar.
European industrial dairies produce 50 million tons of whey annually. Some part of it is recycled – for example, in protein supplements for athletes. But nearly forty percent of whey is thrown away.
European project under the management of the Association of small and medium enterprises of Catalonia allows you to use the serum to create new materials with unique properties.
Liquid whey collected at the factories, filtered and evaporated to obtain a pure protein. A solution of this protein is applied in a thin layer in the manufacturing process of plastic film, which makes it airtight and watertight. It protects packaged products and subsequently allows to separate plastic components for recycling.
“Whey protein can be dissolved by the enzymes in the water, causing the layers of plastic film are separated from each other. Individually they will be much easier to recycle”, says Klaus Noller.
This is a big advantage over conventional plastics manufactured from non-renewable hydrocarbon materials and does not decompose in natural conditions many hundreds of years.
Industrial plastic production from whey should begin in the next two years, this will allow you to create biodegradable films, bags and other environmentally friendly food packaging.
“Our project involves fourteen industrial and research organizations from the sectors of plastics, packaging, processing, engineering science, so we have all the necessary know-how for the successful implementation of this project”, says Elodie, Benicar.