On March 30, 2015 the European Commission’s Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) published a news article discussing a new packaging technology developed through an EU-funded project SUCCIPACK (Development of active, intelligent and sustainable food PACKaging using PolybutyleneSUCCInate). In the project, 18 European companies teamed up to create innovative food contact materials (FCMs) based on polybutylene succinate (PBS, CAS 25777-14-4). PBS is currently used by the petrochemical industry, but it can also be 100% bio-based. Bio-based PBS can be produced from cellulosic material and renewable sources of plant biomass (plants or plant waste). Christophe Cotillon, project coordinator and deputy manager of the French Association for the Technical Coordination of the Agrifood Industry (ACTIA), highlights that the project has come up with a technical solution to replace fossil fuel-based packaging with biodegradable and recyclable packaging that promises longer shelf life and better protection of foods. Cotillon further explains that packaging producers can use PBS packaging to produce films, trays and pouches with the exact same technologies they are using for current packaging materials. Thus switching to PBS only requires limited investments. The packaging should be commercialized in two years. However, as Cotillon points out, in the early stages, the PBS used for packaging fabrication will not be 100% bio-based. Initially, it will be a mix of petrochemical and bio-based raw materials. Progressively, with increasing production capacity for PBS in Europe, the packaging shall contain increasing amounts of bio-based PBS.

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CORDIS (March 30, 2015). “Could PBS revolutionise food packaging as we know it?