Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Cilkoa

A thin ceramic film for paper packaging

Springwise ChangeNOW

A French company has created a plastic-free, recyclable, and compostable film that makes paper water and oxygen resistant

Spotted: Slowing down plastic production has never been more crucial for preserving our planet, yet we are still producing more and more plastic year-on-year. And often, common plastic alternatives such as paper packaging are not entirely plastic-free. Now, French startup Cilkoa is hoping to remove all of the plastic in packaging.

Harnessing a technology called atomic layer disposition (ALD) – a thin film deposition technique similar to those used by microlectronics companies – the startup has developed a ceramic film that protects food from oxygen and water vapour. This ultra-thin, transparent material is made of alumina and is totally plastic-free. The final packaging – which can take the form of paper, cardboard, or moulded fibre – is up to 99.9 per cent cellulose. And, once processed, the materials remain recyclable, compostable, and as biodegradable as any other paper material.

The novel alumina layer is only a few nanometres thick, but this is enough to make paper packaging an extremely effective barrier for water vapour – a key property that makes plastic an attractive material for packaging manufacturers. And the technology required to produce the film is extremely modular and compact. In fact, the company estimates that producing 50 million ‘B5 trays’ – a common form of packaging – would require equipment that takes up only a few cubic metres of space.

Founded in June 2022, this new company is giving itself two more years to finalise its technology and create its first pilot study.  

Springwise has previously spotted other innovations that make packaging more sustainable, including compostable paper packaging that works just like plastic and a reusable packaging service model to help the made-to-order food market transition towards carbon neutrality.

Written By: Georgia King



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