Back to Specialty Food News

Packaging Innovations Could Make for Greener Produce Sections

Amazon produce

As part of the Biden administration’s call for new ways to package food that reduces plastic and uses climate-friendly, antimicrobial material, the following innovations may be coming to a produce aisle near you, reports The New York Times.

• Bags From Trees. A company from Austria makes biodegradable net bags from beechwood trees that can hold produce.

• Film from peels. Natural waste such as orange peels and shrimp shells are being turned into a cellophane-like film that can be made into bags.

• Clamshells from cardboard. The produce company Driscoll’s has been working to develop paper containers for use in the U.S. and Canada that would replace plastic clamshells. In the meantime, it’s using more recycled plastic in its U.S. clamshells.

• Ice that feels like gelatin. The need for plastic ice packs could be eliminated by reusable jelly ice. Invented by scientists at the University of California, Davis, it is lighter than ice and doesn’t melt. After about a dozen uses it can be tossed into the garbage or a garden where it dissolves.

• Boxes with atmosphere. Broccoli is usually shipped in wax-coated boxes packed with ice that get soggy and therefore can’t be recycled. Iceless shipping containers use a mix of gases that help preserve the vegetable.

• Containers from plants. Biodegradable or compostable trays and boxes are being created by rice-paddy straw, grass, and sugar cane stalks left after harvests.

While these greener materials would be a step in the right direction, America’s infrastructure for turning this packaging into something other than trash leaves a lot to be desired, according to the report. Full Story