REPAC²: functional and recyclable food packaging made from coated paper

Research project »REPAC²«

A row of paper packaging filled with cookies
© Techa Tungateja/

Stricter requirements regarding the recyclability of packaging

In step with the EU’s Green Deal and legislation at national level, the requirements regarding the recyclability of packaging and the use of recyclates in packaging are constantly increasing. At the same time, the protective effect of food packaging needs to be preserved to ensure that established food shelf lives are maintained. At present, highly sensitive food products in particular tend to use polymer multi-material packaging that either contains only a low proportion of recyclable material or cannot be recycled at all. This is because easy-to-recycle paper packaging, something that is increasingly becoming the preferred choice among consumers, often has a lower protective effect. However, this issue can be resolved by applying suitable coatings.

Highly functional paper packaging as a substitute for multi-material packaging

The aim of REPAC² is to fast-track the development and subsequent market application of highly functional and recyclable coated paper packaging for food. Where possible, these materials are intended to replace conventional multi-layer plastic packaging.

As a first step, the coated papers and paper coatings available on the market will be recorded. The most promising materials will then be examined in terms of their processing properties, recyclability and suitability as packaging for selected food products. In addition to the physical and mechanical characterization, the ecological footprint of the materials will also be determined. At Fraunhofer IVV, we will also be carrying out shelf-life simulations and storage tests to evaluate the protective effect of the paper-based packaging. In case studies involving participating companies, the selected materials will then be tested under realistic conditions. We will also be bringing together representatives from the food and packaging industries at matchmaking events.

A key outcome of REPAC² will be practical guidelines that are designed to make it easier for the food industry to select suitable, sustainable packaging materials that meet the objectives set by legislators.

Funding logo BMWK
AiF logo
IGF logo

Project term: 2022 to 2023
Project management
/project funding:
Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschung AiF (über Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung e. V. - IVLV) / Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (BMWK)
Project partners:
  • MPR&S (Universität Hasselt, BE)
  • Pack4Food (BE)
  • Sirris (BE)
  • Flanders Food (BE)
  • Natureef (PL)
  • IVLV (DE)
  • Fraunhofer IVV (DE)