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Israel-based Melodea Ltd, a producer of sustainable barrier coatings for packaging, has launched MelOx NGen, a high-performance barrier product specifically engineered to allow for the recyclability of plastic food packaging. In addition to its excellent eco-profile, the new barrier has proven superior in its key role of maintaining food freshness and substantially reducing plastic waste.
MelOx NGen is a water-based, plant-sourced coating designed to line the inside surface of numerous forms of plastic food packaging, such as films, pouches, bags, lidding and blister packs, used to house consumer packaged goods (CPG) products. It is being rolled out to the global plastic industry and has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the BfR, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, as compatible for food contact. The coating helps protect and extend the shelf-life of foods including snacks, confectionary, nutrition bars, meats and dairy products, as well as pharmaceuticals.
Melox NGen is a new iteration of its bio-based and renewable material, MelOx, for paper packaging but has been designed specifically for use on plastic. Used to line packaging as a transparent layer, it offers a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to petroleum-based ethyl vinyl alcohol copolymers (EVOH), which are used widely in packaging for their food preservation properties, as well as metallicised polyethylene terephthalate (met-PET) materials commonly used to produce lids.
The company says MelOx NGen could help expand the scope of plastic food packaging that can be recycled, enabling food packagers to fulfill their sustainability goals and aligning themselves with government regulations aimed at reducing single-use plastics.
As a part of a long-term strategy for reducing plastic consumption and waste, the EU has implemented the Plastic Waste Directive. This directive sets targets for the recycling and reuse of plastic packaging waste. It established a minimum recycling target of 50% for plastic packaging by 2025, increasing to 55% by 2030. Moreover, in 2021 the EU approved a tax of €800 per tonne of non-recycled plastic containers and packaging produced in member states’ markets. The tax aims to incentivise the adoption of recycling practices and discourage the use of non-recyclable materials.
“The global collective effort to drastically curb plastic use is a long and complex process,” says Shaul Lapidot, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Melodea. “Our holistic solution can help ease the pressure by boosting the integration of plastic packaging into the circular economy immediately.”
“The majority of plastic packaging available today cannot be recycled due to its multistructure composition,” says Cee Azerraf, Ph.D., Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Melodea. “EVOH, which is typically infused into the thin plastic films of the food packaging to serve as an oxygen barrier, is nonrecyclable, preventing the entire package from being recyclable. MelOx NGen presents an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution by being applicable to various forms of plastics, including monostructure plastics that possess exceptional performance properties and are recyclable. Our solution will also relieve the current bottleneck in the supply of EVOH.”
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Melodea says global demand for EVOH has surged, resulting in a significant spike in prices, prompting food packagers to seek alternative solutions and channels.
“Melox NGen can be effortlessly applied as a thin layer directly to the plastic without the need for primers,” Azerraf says.