Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


2.10 NANO-TECHNOLOGY, Nano-materials, Nano-processes, Food and beverages

Publication Details

Journal of Cleaner Production 283 (2021) 125263


In 2018, European Union adopted a European strategy for plastics in a circular economy as a part of theiraction plan for a circular economy. Sustainability is the underlying motivation behind the plasticsstrategy with a goal of addressing how plastics are designed, used and recycled in the EU. One of thestrategies outlined is that by 2030, all plastic packaging placed on the EU market is either reusable or canbe recycled in a cost-effective manner. A large portion of food packaging is multi-layer plastic that is notrecyclable in a cost-effective manner. Given the difficulties associated with recycling today’s complexfood packaging, what impacts will the European Union’s strategies for plastics in a circular economy haveon food safety? This article explores what is being done and what can be done to mitigate the risks tofood safety while adhering to the EU’s plastic strategy. It has been observed that the plastic plays a vitalrole in maintaining food safety, extending shelf-life and minimising food waste. However, it is currentlynot possible to recycle multi-layer plastic packaging which is widely used throughout the food industry,and there are currently no viable alternatives offering the same level of protection. Unless possiblesubstitutes to multi-layer plastics offering the same level of food protection can be developed then therewill be detrimental effects on food quality, safety and shelf-life, which will lead to increased food waste,additional food costs and a reduction in the variety and availability of certain foods.