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Redysign project

Packaging fresh meat with wood-derived products

wood packaging

The world is facing an unprecedented pollution crisis, with a mixture of synthetic chemicals, especially plastics, in hundreds of everyday products endangering human health and wildlife. One of the key issues is the vast amount of plastic packaging waste generated and its limited recycling rate, which globally only reaches 40%, according to Eurostat. In this context, Redysign, a new project funded by the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking, will develop new sustainable materials made almost entirely from wood components, which will then be assembled to replace the ubiquitous non-circular plastic packaging currently used for fresh meat distribution.

In this way, Redysign will help address existing gaps related to both the technical limitations of current bio-based products and the efficiency of (bio)industrial production processes. The project aligns with the measures the European Union is taking in this field and with the growing consumer awareness of the effects of plastic waste and the corresponding increase in demand for wood-based packaging solutions.

Wood packaging: origin and objectives

Led by Tecnalia Research and Innovation and launched officially on the 3-4 of October in Bilbao (Spain) with the participation of all the members of the consortium and the CBE Project Officer, over its four-year duration, Redysign will create a fully bio-based, intelligent, and recyclable packaging for fresh meat. Each intermediate product – the tray, the barrier coating, the absorbent pad and the transparent film – will be made almost exclusively from wood components. To this end, 12 innovative resource-efficient processes will be developed. Additionally, the packaging solution will incorporate two sensors to prevent food spoilage: one will detect early rotting, and the other will monitor breaks in the cold chain during meat distribution and storage.

The project will also apply two innovations to improve recycling efficiency. The first involves using specific identification markers to accurately sort bio-contaminated products in the waste treatment plant. The second is based on the application of advanced oxidation treatments to sanitize materials and reduce energy consumption in the subsequent fibre recovery operation, making the recycling process more energy efficient.

To conduct the project, a multidisciplinary consortium consisting of 13 partners from seven European countries brings together some of the most advanced companies and research institutes in the European bio-based sector. Zabala Innovation, as an innovation-oriented consultancy, will lead the tasks of communication, dissemination, and stakeholder engagement, crucial for achieving the project’s maximum impact.

Triple impact of the Redysign project

By replacing fossil-based packaging with bio-based packaging, Redysign aims to have a triple impact. First, an environmental impact, contributing to the EU’s long-term 2050 strategy for a climate-neutral Europe. Second, an economic impact, paving the way for the commercialization of highly demanded new sustainable packaging products in the fresh meat market. And third, a social impact by expanding the market share of fibre-based packaging and thus creating new jobs in the forestry value chain and bio-based industries.