The wheylayer project has researched and developed a whey protein-coating that can be used in cosmetics packaging such as tubes as a replacement for currently used synthetic oxygen barrier layers like Ethylene Vinyl Alcohol (EVOH).
The bio-based material “solves multiple environmental challenges by finding new commercial uses of currently discarded cheese by-products [and] replacing petroleum-based plastics with natural bio-plastics, while safeguarding the performances and enhancing the recyclability of multi-layer films”, Elodie Bugnicourt, technical co-ordinator told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.
The first of two workshops taking place was held in Budapest, Hungary on 26th October 2011 aimed at the plastic packaging industry and was hosted by the Association of Hungarian Plastics Industry (HUPLAST).
The second workshop will take place in Bergamo, Italy on 28th October 2011 and will be hosted by the Italian Association of Plastic Recyclers (ASSORIMAP) focusing on the recycling aspect of the project.
It will include a practical demonstration of the recycling process for the wheylayer-based multilayer films.
A workshop has already taken place in Slovenia on 11th October 2011 presenting the packaging material to the cosmetic, food and packaging manufacturers and was hosted by the Plasttechnics Cluster of Slovenia in conjunction with Lajovic TUBA, an aluminium packaging company.
The wheylayer project has made use of whey, a milk protein by-product of cheese production, which acts as a moisture barrier for packaging products sensitive to oxygen.
The use of the whey coating on plastic films also improves the recyclability and reusability of the plastic layer as it can be removed chemically or with the use of enzymes, according to the project team.