slippery packaging to cut food waste


Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed super slippery packaging that lets consumers squeeze out every last drop of a product, and could significantly cut down food wastage.


Food left behind in plastic packaging contributes to the millions of pounds of perfectly edible products being wasted every year.


Researchers from Virginia Tech in the US aim to cut down on that waste with a novel approach to creating super slippery industrial packaging.


The technique not only will help sticky foods release from their packaging much more easily, but for the first time, it can also be applied to inexpensive and readily available plastics such as polyethylene and polypropylene.


These hydrocarbon-based polymers make up 55 per cent of the total demand for plastics in the world today, meaning potential applications for the research stretch far beyond just ketchup packets.


They are also among the easiest plastics to recycle.


“We can make our SLIPS out of these hydrocarbon-based polymers, which are widely applicable to everyday packaged products,” Ranit Mukherjee, a doctoral student at Virginia Tech.


These surfaces are not only very slippery, but they’re also self-cleaning, self-healing, and more durable than traditional superhydrophobic surfaces.


The method has obvious implications for industrial food and product packaging; it could also find widespread use in the pharmaceutical industry. The oil-infused plastic surfaces are naturally anti-fouling, meaning they resist bacterial adhesion and growth.


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