The aim of REPAC² is to support accelerated implementation of functional and recyclable coated paper and board materials for food packaging applications.
The roadmap 'Food packaging of the future' states that the recyclability of packaging is an important characteristic for the realisation of the transition to circular packaging. As a result, there is a significant focus on the use of paper and cardboard materials for food packaging. However, in order to be suitable for use as food packaging, paper and board materials are finished with one or more coatings that provide good sealing and barrier properties to gases and/or moisture. Various coated paper and board materials for food packaging applications are currently on the market. However, it is not always clear whether these materials have the desired properties and whether they are suitable for the purpose. Moreover, the recyclability of these coated materials is unknown. At present, there is no universal method available to determine the recyclability of coated paper and cardboard packaging materials. However, it is generally accepted that a coating should not exceed 5% of the packaging to ensure recyclability.
REPAC² is a collective research, development and dissemination project (Cornet Tetra type) with the aim of supporting accelerated implementation of highly functional and recyclable coated paper and board materials for food packaging applications. Market research will be used to record commercially coated paper and cardboard packaging materials throughout the project. A method will be developed to determine the recyclability of coated paper and cardboard. The recyclability and functionality (i.e. water vapour barrier, sealability and formability) of commercial packaging materials will then be assessed.
In addition, a matchmaking event will be organised between food companies and the coated paper and cardboard packaging industry. Based on this event and the packaging characteristics of the coated packaging materials, generic case studies will be defined for further research. For these generic case studies, a shelf life simulation tool will be used in the first instance, after which common shelf life studies will be carried out.
Finally, in-company validation studies will be set up.
REPAC²'s target group includes the food industry, producers and processors of coated paper and cardboard packaging and recycling companies.
The research group MPR&S of Hasselt University manages and coordinates the project.
Partners are Sirris, Pack4Food and Flanders' FOOD together with the foreign partners Fraunhofer, Natureef and CBIMO.
The project starts in January 2022 and runs until December 2023 (project duration 2 years); until then participation is always possible. The results can be requested and accessed at the end of the project (for a fee).