A third of the waste that is dumped into landfills are packaging such as boxes, bags, bottles and food wrappers. Packaging waste is approximately 30% of municipal waste by weight, 13% is due to plastic material which is non-biodegradable.
The value of the market for disposable wrappers, dishware, and cutlery at fast-food restaurants, hospitals, and other facilities is $20 billion, and recyclable or compostable products are in demand nowadays. There is a lot of interest in edible food packaging but the only problem now for consumers is with its taste, texture, and appearance.
Edible food packaging projects are inspired by the problem above. Therefore the aim of this project is to create organic edible food packaging that can be digested easily by the enzymes in the human body. We selected five different types of substances that have the potential to be created into these products. They are rice, milk, gelatine, fruit puree and corn. We also want to figure out whether the modified substances such as milk plastic, fruit puree film, gelatine film, rice paper and corn plastic can be degraded by various enzymes found in the human body. The main idea of edible food packaging is to protect the food from oxygen, oils and moisture. Although there will still be a need for some traditional plastic and cardboard packaging, we can still reduce the non-biodegradable plastic wrappers that we currently use. Therefore it will potentially reduce environmentally-damaging waste.
An edible film is defined as a thin sheet, which can be consumed, coated on food or placed as a barrier between the food and the surrounding environment. For the past 10 years, food researchers have been researching on edible films and coatings for food due to the high demand of consumers for longer shelf–life and better quality of fresh foods as well as environmentally friendly packaging.
• To make edible food films and wrappers from natural substances to reduce the waste caused by disposable packaging.
• To determine which edible films and wrappers can be broken down the fastest by enzymes found in human body such as peptidase and amylase.
• Edible food film can be produced by protein- based materials such as milk and gelatine.
• Edible food film can be produced by polysaccharide – based materials; corn and fruit puree, and rice.
• Peptidase and amylase in the human body can break down edible food films and wrappers efficiently.
1) How are edible food film and wrappers that are made up of rice, protein and polysaccharide- based materials formed?
2) What are the benefits of edible food packaging for consumers?
3) In what way can edible food packaging help to reduce waste and protect the Earth?
4) How long does it take for the enzymes in the human body to break down edible food packaging?
5) Which of the edible food film and wrappers produced will be broken down by enzymes the fastest and why?