One of the greatest threats to the environment and climate is plastic waste.
Melodea, an Israeli company, confronts that issue by producing a cellulose nanocrystal coating sourced from wood pulp, a side stream of the paper-making industry.
The plastic-free, plant-based package coating will be available from Melodea within six months — ready to ship to the United States and South American markets.
This eco-friendly material lets food, beverages and consumer-goods packagers stop using plastic or aluminum as a barrier to elements seeping through single-use packaging.
And, as a forestry byproduct, it has several advantages. It is biodegradable, fully recyclable and non-toxic to people or the environment.
Given increasing demand from the U.S., the green-tech start-up will open a manufacturing plant there to produce MelOx, which protects packaged products from oxygen and oil and grease transmission; and VBcoat, which counteracts the transmission of water, oil and grease.
Both materials are compliant with FDA regulations for food packaging and are currently used for the manufacture of paper-based pouches, lids, molded pulp trays and more.
Shaul Lapidot, CEO-cofounder of Melodea, said cellulose nanocrystals are a naturally abundant and renewable alternative to environmentally harmful materials.
“The new plant, combined with our newly established ties in the U.S., can potentially triple our manufacturing capacity to meet amplified demands. It also will shorten the travel and subsequent carbon footprint by bringing production closer to our main markets in the U.S. and South America,” Lapidot said.
“CNC from naturally abundant and renewable cellulose is emerging as one of the most promising green solutions to help replace environmentally harmful materials,” he said.
Melodea estimates it will start shipping locally from a U.S. site as it initiates production of its barrier coatings with a local American partner.
The global nanocellulose market is currently valued at approximately $346 million and is projected to grow to $962 million by 2026, according to a Nanocellulose Market report.
Melodea was founded as the result of a spinoff project from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2010 by Lapidot with Tord Andres, a composites expert, and serial entrepreneur Oded Shoseyov, a professor of protein engineering and nanobiotechnology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The technology is protected by 14 patents and won the Packaging Europe 2019 Sustainability Award.
Zvika Weiss, CFO of Melodea, said: “Our CNC is sustainably produced, recycling about 95% of the materials in the process, and its superior performance has been verified by academic research. CNC has great potential to turn the tide on the cascade of negative impacts from plastic pollution that have been a pressing environmental issue for too long.”
Produced in association with ISRAEL21c.
Recommended from our partners