BIOCOPAC Project has been funded under 7th FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME - Research for the benefit of SMEs (Grant Agreement No. FP7-SME-2011-286446). The Project has started the 1st of December of 2011 and will last for 24 months.
The goal of the project is to develop a bio-lacquer for the protection of metal food packaging to meet the demand for sustainable production and for the safeguarding of consumer health, at the same time increasing the competitiveness of the metal cans industry, valorising the wastes produced by the preserved industry and reducing refuse. BIOCOPAC, making a better use of Europe's renewable agri-food resources, will enable business to deliver green growth and environmental benefits.
The core of the research is the development of a natural lacquer obtained from industrial tomato processing by-products (skins), to be applied on the internal and external surfaces of cans for foodstuffs.
The research starts with the analysis and characterisation of tomato wastes, leading to the formulation of biolacquers applicable to metal materials on normal production lines. The new lacquers have as main component the biopolymer cutin extracted from the cuticle of the fruit by means of an optimised and standardised method.
After the evaluation of the chemico-physical and hygiene-health properties of the new lacquers produced (according to EU legislation), their suitability will be confirmed by the production of cans and their packaging with the main food products. In this way, at the end of the project it will be possible to have a complete indication as to the use of the new lacquers in contact with food products and of their economic and environmental benefits.
The new type of packaging is a response to the needs of the SMEs involved in the project (lacquer producer, can makers and the preserving industry), to increase their economic and commercial competitiveness, by improving the quality of the metal cans. The 2-year RTD+I workplan is implemented by a consortium of 11 partners (4 SMEs, 3 end-users and 4 RTD performers) from 6 EU countries.