UMaine scientists envision smart mills, new papers for medicine and food packaging
The current potato chip bag will go the way of the dodo by 2025 if Doug Bousfield has his way.
The University of Maine professor aims to develop fully recyclable packaging using cellulose nanomaterials derived from wood pulp. The cellulose nanomaterials hold promise for replacing the thin layer of noncompostable aluminum used now to keep oxygen from getting in to spoil the chips, and grease from the chips from getting out through the package to soil consumers.
“We’re looking at alternative packaging based on cellulose nanofibers to replace common snack packaging, so it should break down,” Bousfield told the annual Paper Days meeting of Maine’s paper industry at the university, held Wednesday and Thursday.
Cellulose nanofibers are a big area of research at the university, which also is the largest nanocellulose manufacturer in the United States for use by itself and its industry partners, Proserfina Bennett, managing director of the UMaine Process Development Center, said.
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