Nextek are involved in a number of multi-institution R&D programs based in UK and Europe that are developing new sustainable technologies related to polymeric materials.
This project will underpin an UK-Malaysian “Research and Innovation” bridge to accelerate the deployment of knowledge and the exploitation of research that will a) improve the preservation of food during transport/ storage between the producer and the consumer (in urban settings), b) reduce urban solid waste from plastics going to landfill, and c) improve health and well being of the population by reducing risk of communicable diseases transmitted by foodborne pathogens in meat or vegetables. To achieve these objectives, the project will develop affordable innovative sustainable packaging with improved shelf-life performance. The packaging system will be based on the use of cost-competitive, presently under utilised waste and the use of a new concept of active packaging; a packaging that will reduce/eliminate pathogen microbial growth, increasing shelf-life of packaged food (meat and vegetables). This will reduce food waste across the supply chain. The packaging system will be designed with agri-waste (palm empty fruit bunch), setting-up a platform for other subsequent broader uses, and will contribute to minimising waste-to-landfill problems.
Sorting with Markers: PRISM
PRISM is a new way of rapidly sorting packaging based on intelligent labels with invisible markers that can be detected and sorted using existing high-speed optical sorting systems used in MRFs with minor modifications. This technology uses commercial labelling and decoration methods which are coded with high performing luminescent compounds to sort targeted streams including food-contact plastics, bioplastics, chemical packaging, automotive plastics, black plastics and different grades of one plastic. Sorting is accomplished using modifications to existing NIR sorting machinery. The new technology can boost recycling plant yields with efficient ways of sorting materials such as PP packaging used for food, HDPE milk bottles and sleeved PET and increase recovery of food grade plastics and open up new markets for recovered plastics.This technology will be compatible with all NIR sorting equipment. It will help brand owners to ensure that packaging reaches the recycling loop and boost UK recycling performance.
This project, Bio-based Packaging for Fresh Food (BIOFRESHPAK) is focused on developing packaging materials that will be biodegradable and recyclable and will A) reduce wastage by improving the storage stability and shelf life of food during transit between the producer and the urban consumer, B) reduce the level of adulteration via sealable and tamper-evident features, C)reduce urban solid waste from packaging going to landfill, and D) improve health and well being of the population by improved retention of nutritional quality and reducing risk of spoilage in fruit and vegetables. To achieve these objectives, the project will develop innovative bio-based hybrid polymer packaging films with selective humidity and permeability control and improved storage-life performance with enhanced environmental characteristics. The packaging systems will be based on the incorporation and compatibilisation of presently under used agri-waste (tapioca starch from cassava processing waste) at low costs into conventional and other bio-based polymers. The treatment of the agri-waste (wet stored cassava starch and waste water) will contribute to minimising significant cassava waste.
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