Industry: Sustainable packaging made from chitin nanofibers
Chitin is a naturally tough substance found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans. It’s abundant in nature and is a major byproduct of shellfish processing. Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a new process for converting chitin into packaging material.
The technique uses high-pressure homogenization to create chitin nanofibers without first dissolving the chitin. The method produces transparent, flexible films that would serve as a good barrier-type plastic.
Chitin Packaging plans to commercialize this biorenewable form of packaging, which would be ideal for storing and transporting food and beverage — particularly as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics, which are not environmentally sustainable.
As chitin is an abundant, renewable, biodegradable and functional substance, it would offer a low-cost and sustainable packing material to meet the needs of the $400 billion global food and beverage packaging market.