Good practice

Packaging made from biopolymers

Packaging made from biopolymers
© Sunny studio, #138733085, 2017, source:
Materials, Waste
All manufacturing industries, Wholesale and retail
Co2 emission reduction:
15 % lower environmental impact than synthetic counterparts
Size of company:
Small (less than 50)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Biopolymer, the 'whey' forward

  • Innovative EU project develops whey protein-based polymer 
  • New 'green' product performs as well as traditional plastics but can be easily recycled 

An EU-funded initiative created innovative biopolymers from cheese byproducts as a green packaging solution. This promising technology, developed by the Wheylayer project, received significant scientific and commercial attention, leading to a follow-up project and eventual spin-off.

The company, Wheylayer Ltd., was formed by several partners in the project to further develop products and services related to bio-based barrier packaging, especially coatings based on whey protein leftovers.

Key benefits

The biopolymer solution offers environmental and economic benefits:

  • Using whey creates new product and market opportunities
  • It can replace petroleum-based plastics with natural bioplastic
  • Whey protein-coating offers good oxygen barrier properties and can be removed enzymatically, improving recyclability
  • Multilayer films means the packaging performs well in preserving contents, adding huge value to the European packaging industries and end-users 
  • Strong market potential in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical sectors
  • Wheylayer biopolymer production has 15 % lower environmental impact than similar weight synthetic versions

"We have received a lot of interest from the packaging industry and its end-users, as the whey protein-coating offers good oxygen barrier properties and can be removed enzymatically thus the resulting multilayer films presents a greatly improved recyclability." - Wheylayer team

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