Designing recyclable bio-based coatings for paper packaging


Paper packaging is increasingly being used as a more sustainable packaging option. To ensure that any products packaged in paper are as well protected as possible, the paper must be coated to meet certain requirements. However, these coatings in turn affect the recyclability of the paper.

The goal of the »BiPaRe« research project is to identify the systematic connections between the conflicting priorities of the barrier effect of a coating vs. its recyclability, and thus increase the market potential for bio-based paper coatings to be used in sustainable packaging. To do this, a database will be created for product developers to use to assess the functionality, process capability and recyclability of new coatings in advance while considering the wider context. The coatings can then be organized effectively.

New laboratory test methods for coating recyclability

The interference potential of redispersible and finely-dispersed coating particles, which among other things accumulate in the process water at paper mills, is being investigated using newly developed testing methods. Bio-based paper coatings with a barrier function will also be systematically investigated. The results will be used to further develop recyclability in order to help the coatings meet the requirements of the recovered paper industry. Based on this, new packaging concepts will be developed and a generally applicable decision tree for the product development of bio-based barrier coatings will be defined.

Process optimization for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The »BiPaRe« project aims to obtain the following results:

  • A generally applicable laboratory test method for the »interference potential of redispersible coating components in paper production« to supplement current recyclability test methods.
  • A data matrix showing the influence of material parameters of bio-based coating materials on recyclability.
  • Sample packaging concepts for food group/product categories which combine both functionality and recyclability.

The recommendations for action for holistic product development, including recyclability, that are developed over the course of the project should enable SMEs to increase their sales potential with sustainable product variants and reduce the license fees for the dual systems.

Funding logo of BMWi
AiF logo

Project term: 2021 to 2023
Project management
/project funding:
Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschung AiF (über Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung e. V. - IVLV)  und Papiertechnische Stiftung (PTS)
Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie BMWi