At the grocery store, most foods — meats, breads, cheeses, snacks — come wrapped in plastic packaging. Not only does this create a lot of non-recyclable, non-biodegradable waste, but thin plastic films are not great at preventing spoilage. And some plastics are suspected of leaching potentially harmful compounds into food. To address these issues, scientists are now developing a packaging film made of milk proteins — and it is even edible.

From ACS.org, check out the new biodegradable casein-based ‘biofilm’ that could be wrapping our foods in just three years. It’s up to 500 times more effective than petroleum-based plastics at protecting food from oxygen.

Potential uses for this packaging material/food of the future: Cheese sticks… just eat the wrapper, too. Single serve coffee or soup… drop the whole thing into hot water and let the packet dissolve. The casein mix can also be sprayed onto cereal to help keep it crunchy, replacing the sugar coatings that are currently being used. Read more at ACS and Bloomberg.

Next: Sixteen year old Elif Bilgin turned banana peels into a bioplastic and Ecovative Designs’ biodegradable mushroom packaging.

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