LITHUANIA – Researchers from the Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) have partnered with Lithuanian packaging experts and members of the public to develop a plastic-free takeaway food box.

Created through a joint workshop, the packaging is designed to address various challenges in existing takeaway packaging, including accidental food leakage and food cooling.

In a lab session arranged by the European Institute of Development and Innovation Food Neighborhood (EIT FOOD), the public attempted to expose the imperfections of the takeaway packaging currently being used.

During the workshop, they collaborated with product packaging specialists from Spaudos Departmentamentas and the agents of Daugirdas, a restaurant in Kaunas, Lithuania.

The task started with a three-course meal, in which a group of 16 individuals aged from 22 to 60 years evaluated their food product packaging and provided their insights.

Participants called for a heat-resistant package that could be easily heated at home.

In addition to withstanding heat in the oven, the cardboard can be recycled up to six times and composted after a certain processing method.

This type of cardboard also features a special non-flammable material that reduces its weight by up to 10%.

Additionally, the packaging comes with specially adapted inserts, which are tabs to allow the box to be adjusted depending on the food components.

The cardboard is suitable for branding as it can be printed to display a restaurant logo or other important information.

Its empty package can be flattened to save storage space and be sent for recycling or composting after use.

KTU Food Institute junior researcher Aelita Zabulionė said: “Kaunas citizens, with the help of professionals in their field and guided by scientists, are starting a real revolution in the world of takeaway food. Everyone can create innovations.

“Soon these boxes, created by Lithuanian consumers and businesses, will be one of the package options when ordering food at home.”

The new innovation comes as no surprise as the European country has been at the forefront in the fight against plastic waste pollution.

Aided by its Plastic Recycling Deposit Scheme, launched in 2016, the country has a recycling rate of 93%, according to data from the European Environment Agency.

With this data, the country has a high potential to become one of the first countries to achieve a circular economy.

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