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Edible Packaging


Landfills are getting filled up everyday, leaving less room for humans to deposit their trash. Humans contribute up to 4.6 pounds of trash a day and the average American citizen can contribute up to 185 pounds of plastic a year. The goal to reduce plastic consumption and trash may be possible in 2019. The concept of edible packaging is now a reality.   Edible packaging is already covering products in grocery stores and markets, but they’re made out of starch. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are trying to further improve edible packaging. They have successfully developed a form of degradable and/or edible packaging that preserves food even better than plastic packaging, it’s called casein-based film. Casein-based film is even better than the existing starch based edible packaging. Casein-based film is superior to plastic and starch based edible packaging. It is reported to be 500 times better at keeping oxygen out, better preserving packaged food. This is possible because of its makeup, it has smaller pores which helps it lock out oxygen better than other packaging options.   Although the creation of this form of edible packaging stemmed from the goal to reduce plastic consumption, the creators had a specific goal in mind. They wanted to significantly reduce single-serve plastic packaging, like packaged ice creams and cheese sticks, which consumes a large amount of plastic for the amount of food. The use of casein-based film doesn’t stop at packaging, scientists are looking at other ways to use and optimize the product.   They’re developing a sprayable version that can be used on food and packaging. “A sprayable version [to keep] cereal crunchy in milk - a much healthier alternative to the current method of coating it in sugar. It could also be used as a laminate-like barrier between food and its packaging - keeping pizza boxes from getting greasy.” With stricter enforcements coming from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding grease-proof products, this sprayable version might be a good replacement.   Newly created, casein-based packaging is made from milk proteins. Scientists are still experimenting with what ingredients can be infused into the packaging. With more research and development, this packaging could be infused with beneficial ingredients like vitamins and probiotics. This will further incentivize consumers to purchase products that have this edible packaging and companies to implement this into their business model to be environmentally aware and not aid in the large consumption of plastic.   https://futurism.com/videos/edible-food-packaging-end-plastic-waste-good/ https://newatlas.com/casein-milk-packaging/45005/