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Recyclable cellulose coated packaging solution

06 December 2021

Green-tech start-up Melodea, Ltd has developed MelOx, a high-performance, plant-sourced barrier coating that protects packaged products from oxygen and oil and grease transmission. The company also developed Melodea VBcoat that protects packaged goods from water vapor and oil and grease transmission. 



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Unlike existing materials used for such purpose like plastics and aluminium, Melodea sources its barrier coating material for packaging from wood pulp, the same raw material used to make paper. The innovative green solution helps steer paper and packaging producers toward more socially responsible packaging routes and will enable them to meet sustainability goals more quickly. The coatings are sustainable and recyclable, and do not contribute to plastic waste pollution.

Shaul Lapidot, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Melodea, explains: “Cellulose, the primary building block of the cell walls of all plants, is the most abundant biopolymer on the planet,” explains. It provides plants with extraordinary strength, and is a lightweight – yet strong –material. We found that this material can be utilised to produce novel, eco-friendly packaging alternatives for the packaging industry.”

The company applies proprietary technology to extract cellulose nanocrystals from wood pulp sourced from trees grown in industrial forests. The sustainable barrier coatings are designed to offer protection from oxygen, oil, grease, and water vapour transmission. The coatings helps maintain the quality and integrity of the packaged foods inside, while eliminating the need for aluminium and plastic. 

As a forestry by-product, it also is compostable, recyclable, and completely non-toxic for people and the environment. 

The EU Single-Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) went into force in July, effectively placing a ban on the ten most polluting single-use plastic items littering EU beaches. Among these are plastic bags, packets, wrappers, and food containers. The directive also placed labelling requirements to inform customers on the packaging’s disposal options and its content. 

“It is no secret that the solution for a sustainable and circular packaging industry necessitates moving to bio-based materials,” said Zvika Weiss, CFO of Melodea. “Our cellulose-based barrier coatings offer an economically affordable, naturally abundant, and sustainable alternative to oil-based products. More importantly, its raw material lives in harmony with nature – it comes from the forest, and it returns to the earth at the end of its lifecycle.”

The company's liquid formulas can be applied as a coating to various substrates, including paper, paperboard, bio-plastic, and even plastic itself. The high-barrier coatings can be tailored to a broad range of packaging products, such as pouches, lids, and food and beverage cartons. It is suitable for packaging both dry and liquid products. “Our coatings can easily be integrated into standard industrial coating lines, including slot dies, rod coaters, and gravures,” said Weiss. “The coatings already are in pilot use by a number of major companies.”


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