We waste more one-third of all food we produce on the planet. But what if we could help save the planet with biodegradable food packaging that tells us when food is no longer safe to eat? The green plastic project was just “greenlighted” by the European Union.The smart packaging not only eliminates the need for environment-harming plastic, but also extends the life of the food product it’s protecting, and contains a sensor to let consumers and retailers know when the food is not safe to eat. The result? A new way to package food that cuts down on harmful carbon emissions.
“The packaging is made of biopolymers to which we have added nanoparticle components," Åge Larsen, a researcher who worked on the project, told Science Daily. "This provides the packaging with new and improved food preservation properties. It is designed mainly to protect the contents from their surroundings and thus extend shelf life. We achieve this by means of improved oxygen barriers. Standard plastic packaging allows the entry of air which places restrictions on shelf life.”
The sensors can tell if the temperature of a product has gotten too high for safe consumption, or if dairy products have soured, eliminating the need for an inaccurate “sniff test.” The packaging will change color when the product has gone bad.