The economic and environmental impacts of food often outweigh those of the packaging it comes in. Therefore, food quality and shelf life must be considered when designing sustainable packaging to avoid increases in food waste. Although multilayer lidding films play a significant role in maintaining shelf life, options for their recycling are limited. Compostable bioplastic alternatives may offer a solution. As bioplastics often have poor barrier properties, a model to aid identification of suitable materials was developed by predicting growth of Pseudomonas (a highly sensitive spoilage bacteria) on red meat in modified atmosphere packaging. The model was validated against datasets and used to find the minimum acceptable permeability to maintain shelf life. Using these results, an emerging water-soluble barrier layer, butenediol vinyl alcohol, was selected for investigation. Commercially available bioplastics (PBS, PLA, PBAT and PHA) and a biodegradable adhesive were extruded with the barrier layer creating a multilayer film. The film most suitable for food packaging was identified through characterisation tests, including tensile, permeability, and composting. Environmental performance of the resulting film (PHA/butenediol vinyl alcohol) versus a conventional film was investigated using life cycle analysis that included production and disposal of wasted food in the system boundary. Barrier layer thickness of the bioplastic film was determined through modelling to ensure fair comparison with the conventional film regarding shelf life and food waste. The biodegradable film required a thicker barrier layer to maintain shelf life, however, it can be demonstrated that, using waste as feedstock, a viable, sustainable alternative is attainable.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted - 04 Feb 2021
EventGlobal Research & Innovation in Plastics Sustainability - Online
Duration: 16 Mar 202118 Mar 2021


ConferenceGlobal Research & Innovation in Plastics Sustainability
Abbreviated titleGRIPS 2021
Internet address


  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Composting
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Modified atmosphere packaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Food Science


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