At the Innovation Day for SMEs of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, an award was presented for a refrigerated shipping package with thermal insulation made of recycled paper.
The Munich-based company easy2cool GmbH in cooperation with the Technical University of Dresden, Institute for Natural Materials Technology, HFT, AG Paper Technology, has developed a cooling package with thermal insulation made of recycled paper, which is used for online shipping.
The Styrofoam and plastic packaging most commonly used in e-commerce for shipping foods and medicines that require refrigeration is difficult to recycle. Therefore they often end up in the incinerator. Packaging with film-covered wastepaper fiber mats is a sustainable alternative. These can be fed into the wastepaper cycle.
The product and its innovation
In a joint project between easy2cool GmbH in Munich and the Institute of Natural Products Technology at the Technical University of Dresden, the cooperation partners pursued the goal of developing a food-grade insulating material made of recycled paper and, based on it, a system solution for the mail-order trade in foods requiring refrigeration. The packaging properties were to provide a fully-fledged alternative to environmentally harmful polystyrene packaging. At the Institute of Natural Materials Technology, the necessary foundations were laid for the production of dry-processed fiber formulations based on scrap paper, insulation elements made of film-covered fiber mats were developed and tested, and their recyclability was demonstrated.
easy2cool GmbH was responsible for developing the insulating structure for the fresh food packaging and for designing and testing the manufacturing process. The company now has recycled paper-based insulating fiber mats suitable for food contact in its product range, which can be disposed of in the wastepaper container without hesitation after removal of the chilled goods. According to the manufacturer, functional tests under practice-relevant conditions have shown that the insulating elements, due to their low thermal and temperature conductivity as well as their high heat storage capacity, are able to replace refrigerating packaging made of Styrofoam and other plastics and even surpass their insulating properties.