The Ellen MacArthur Foundation awarded VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland for a packaging solution made of cellulose in Davos, Switzerland in January 2018.
VTT is one of the five prize winners, between whom the foundation splits US$1 million prize in equal shares.
The new material can extend the shelf life of food, while also reducing food waste and the worldwide microplastics problem.
As material, cellulose is safe, renewable, recyclable and compostable.
VTT developed a compostable and lightweight packaging material by combining cellulose films with different, but complementary properties.
The plastic-like packaging material is suitable for dry and greasy products, such as nuts, cereals, coffee, condiments and raisins, especially packaging products with a long shelf life.
In terms of properties, the material is highly competitive or in many cases even better than the currently available biodegradable bioplastics.
With minor modifications, it can be produced with existing production machinery.
The packaging can be produced by combining cellulose films with different properties.
The flexible and transparent lightweight material protects the product from atmospheric gases and humidity.
It also forms a barrier against the grease or mineral oil in the product.
The package can be sealed by heating.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a British foundation founded in 2010 by Dame Ellen MacArthur, who became famous as sailing competitor.
The purpose of the foundation is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.