ITENE will showcase new materials and technologies to ensure packaging sustainability at the Interpack trade fair

  •  Under the slogan ‘Sustainability of packaging: the time is now’, its stand will be focused on solving current challenges for the circular economy, such as new materials and recycling processes and the transformation of waste into new products, as well as showing success stories with companies that have developed solutions ready to market.
  • As part of the Save Food Highlight – Route, organized by FAO and Messe Düsseldorf, it will present its new solutions for extending the shelf life of food, as well as to reduce food waste and food losses.
Dispositivo con sensor para evaluar variables que afectan a la vida útil de la fruta
Soluciones para alargar la vida útil de alimentos expuestas por ITENE en Interpack
Tapones compostables para perfumería

The ITENE research center will present new materials and technologies to ensure the sustainability of packaging at the Interpack fair, to be held from May 4 to 10 in Düsseldorf (Germany).

On booth F01 in all 9 at Messe Düsseldorf, the research center will offer solutions to meet the needs of industry throughout the packaging life cycle, from the development of sustainable packaging materials, recycling processes and the transformation of waste into new products to the validation and scale-up in industrial environments. In addition, it provides testing services for products and packaging, as well as pilot scale-up of new developments. To illustrate all this, several success stories with companies with which ITENE has developed solutions and technologies will be exhibited.

In addition, it will showcase its new solutions to extend the shelf life of food, as well as to reduce food waste as part of the Save Food Highlight – Route organized by Messe Düsseldorf and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Among the solutions developed together with companies that ITENE will present at the fair are new sustainable and advanced materials that are compostable and have good processability in conventional equipment. Among others, a film for home compostable semi-liquid products that guarantees the optimal preservation of products will be exhibited. Plus, visitors may learn about a bacterial cellulose obtained from concentrated whey that has been applied in paper matrices as a coating, achieving a biodegradable composite or bi-layer material with improved mechanical, barrier, and moisture resistance properties.

As for rigid plastic formulations, a compostable cap for perfumery applications, a compostable tray, a single-dose packaging, and a fish box made of a compostable, recyclable and reusable bioplastic material will be shown, as well as a compostable lid for use in high-performance food packaging in which wheat waste has been used as reinforcement of a biopolymer, among other solutions.

Among the new materials obtained from waste, bottles for cleaning products obtained from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) from post-consumer recycling will also be exhibited.

Moreover, ITENE will present the results of innovative recycling processes, including a delamination process for multilayer and multi-material flexible packaging to obtain high quality materials and a process for the valorization of by-products from the dairy industry for the production of an edible film.

Research in progress

The ITENE technology center has been developing technological solutions for 29 years through R&D&I, which represents more than 87% of its activity, obtaining new materials and technologies for the circular economy. All this is framed in the research projects that it executes in Spain and internationally, where it has participated in more than 100 European projects since 2007. In 2022 alone, ITENE is working on 33 EU projects together with more than 500 companies and entities, and since 2007 it has obtained 36.3 million € in returns from the European Union.

Some of the projects supported with European funds include PRESERVE, which has developed a non-woven fabric made from recycled PET (rPET) with a coating that reduces the release of microplastics by 88%.

As for new material recovery processes, the European MERLIN project is researching new processes for the classification, delamination, and recycling of multilayer post-consumer packaging, while ENZYCLE is developing an innovative process for the enzymatic recycling of plastics.

The companies attending the fair will also be able to learn about the open call of the BIONANOPOLYS project, to which they can apply to test their developments in bio-based materials with nanoparticles of high added value, whether they are additives, raw materials, composites or products for different sectors.

Finally, ITENE will explain in Düsseldorf how the BIOMAC project will boost, with a European network of pilot plants, the production of bio-based and nanostructured plastic materials.

Besides, among other ongoing research, ITENE will present AGROMATTER, a CERVERA network of excellence, financed by the CDTI in which a biodegradable tray has been obtained with rice husks as a reinforcement for food packaging applications.

In the same line, the VALOCEL project will be presented, funded by the Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness (IVACE), in which a new process of decontamination of recycled paper will be achieved to allow its use in food packaging applications, in addition to investigating new processes for obtaining bacterial cellulose.

Save Food Highlight – Route

ITENE’s stand will also be part of the Save Food Highlight – Route organized by Messe Düsseldorf and FAO. Thus, visitors who follow this itinerary will be able to learn about solutions such as a sensor device, named E-FRUIT, developed by ITENE to evaluate variables that affect the shelf life of the fruit, such as the speed of the conveyor belt, vibrations and shocks during transport, or temperature and humidity.

It will also be presented an active packaging with sustainable additives for protecting flour and rice against pests, developed within the framework of the DIANA project, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Spanish State Agency for Innovation, in which the technological center has worked with SEPIOLSA, ICV-CSIC and ENCAPSULAE.

Furthermore, within the framework of the Save Food Highlight – Route, ITENE will show an active antioxidant flexible film, obtained from the valorization of pineapple agri-food by-products, which increases the shelf-life of fresh minced meat by 15%. This development is part of the VALPIPACK project, supported by the Valencian Agency for Innovation (AVI), in which ITENE has worked together with the University of Alicante.

Experience, knowledge, and technology for the industry

Apart from its solutions to promote a sustainable revolution in packaging, ITENE works to maximize the safety and functionality of packaging, assessing its suitability for food contact and its quality, as well as designing and optimizing packaging to control the condition of the product or extend its shelf life or homologate it for transport.

It also offers technological solutions for monitoring distribution risks, ensuring the quality and safety of the product that reaches the consumer, the transport of dangerous goods in accordance with current regulations and the optimization of logistics chains to solve the challenges of this sector related to sustainability and digitization.
To improve the functionalities of materials and validate new developments, it performs more than 500 types of tests in different areas, such as material characterization, food safety, validation, and optimization of packaging for distribution and compostability. It also carries out pilot scale-up processes using extrusion, injection, thermoforming, blow molding and thermosealing technologies, among others.

To this end, at its headquarters in Valencia (Spain) it has more than 3,000 m2 of laboratories and pilot plants equipped with cutting-edge technology, which in 2024 will be expanded with the extension of the current building and the construction of a new one.

With almost 30 years of experience, the technology center puts its knowledge and technology at the service of industry through R&D projects, technical assistance, testing services, and training and technology transfer. In fact, between 2018 and 2022, more than 1,900 companies relied on its team of more than 190 highly qualified professionals.