Danish scientists develop herbal food packaging to reduce CO2 emissions

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Danish scientists have developed grass-based food packaging to replace harmful plastic and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in a project called SinProPack. Researchers aim to reduce CO2 emissions by around 210 kilotons by replacing 10 kilotons of disposable plastic packaging with 8 kilotons of packaging made from grass fibers. On average, more than 10,000 tonnes of take-out plastic food packaging is used each year in Denmark, which is harmful to the environment due to its non-biodegradable nature.

Anne Christine Steenkjær Hastrup, Center Director at the Danish Technological Institute, highlighted the environmental benefits of budding disposable packaging. He said that these packaging will be 100% biodegradable and therefore if someone accidentally drops their packaging in nature, it will decompose. Researchers are not only relying on grass, but they would also be looking at clover for fiber sources that can also be used as the main biomass for future biorefineries. Peaty soil will also be an excellent source of B biomass because it contains more fiber and less protein.

Assistant Professor Morten Ambye-Jensen from the Department of Biological and Chemical Engineering at Aarhus University, explained that they would refine and pulp the grass fiber for cellulose after harvesting the grass and the protein extraction for animal feed. He mentionned, “This is a great way to add value for biorefinery, because not all grass fibers can necessarily be used as animal feed.”

The abundant availability of green biomass and green biorefinery makes this project significant for both business and government.

The project received 440,000 euros in funding from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, under the Green Development and Demonstration Program (GUDP). It is expected to be completed by 2023.

This new technique was developed at a time when the level of CO2 is increasing. The level of carbon dioxide increased to 2.6 parts per million in 2020. This is one of the highest levels recorded in the past 60 years by NOAA.

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