Using the potential of the sea to preserve our earth


 

CuanTec is a revolutionary Scottish biotech company. They are using the waste products of the shellfish industry to change the packaging industry. They extract a natural compound called chitin from the waste shells, transform it into chitosan which is then mixed with other natural biopolymers to create the world’s first home-compostable, antimicrobial food packaging. Their packaging, CuanSave, is similar to standard packing in appearance (thin, flexible and transparent) but it has two very different properties. Firstly, it is fully home-compostable – there is no need for industrial conditions for composting. Secondly, chitosan’s antimicrobial properties mean it can extend the shelf-life of food wrapped in it, helping to prevent food waste.

Going back to nature

We cannot recycle our way out of plastic crisis that we are in. We must adopt a truly circular economy where resources are not wasted during any processes and most products decompose naturally into the environment, without causing harm.

CuanTec uses waste materials from another process to create something new. They extract chitin from the waste shells of the fishing industry to create a product that will degrade back into its natural components. CuanSave will not leave lasting damage or chemical traces for future generations to deal with, like current packaging does. Their product comes from nature and will go back to it.

Zero Waste Processes

CuanTec are using food waste to prevent food waste, as part of a zero waste, circular economy. By using raw materials that would otherwise be incinerated, they are saving tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. They have redesigned the chitin extraction process to use significantly less harmful chemicals that produce toxic waste. Their main by-product from extraction is a high protein ‘soup’ that they hope to formulate into a feed for salmon, again putting back into nature rather than creating a waste stream. The antimicrobial properties of chitosan make their packaging antimicrobial, therefore extending the shelf life of fresh fish by 40%. This helps prevent food waste, a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It also saves the economy billions for producers, retailers and consumers. Finally, of course, their product is fully home-compostable and will decompose into compounds safe for the environment.

Want to know more?


 

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