An Israeli company that turns paper sludge into food packaging is to start manufacturing in the US.
Melodea recycles waste from the pulp and paper industry to create a biodegradable, non-toxic barrier coating for food packaging.
It extracts cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) from the sludge, which is normally found in cellulose, tough carbohydrates that keep plant cell walls stable.
The company will operate a manufacturing plant in the US and start shipping within the next six months, boosting production capacity of its products in US and South American markets.
CNC withstands high humidity and protects contents from oxygen, water, oil and grease, and acts as an alternative to plastic and aluminum. It is currently being used for the manufacture of paper-based pouches, lids, molded pulp trays, and more.
The global nanocellulose market is currently worth approximately $346 million, and is expected to nearly triple by 2026.
“CNC is the ideal environmentally sound solution, delivering high-performance ‘clean and green’ paper-based packaging products,” said Zvika Weiss, CFO of Melodea.
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“Our CNC is sustainably produced, recycling about 95 per cent 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.”
Shaul Lapidot, CEO and Co-founder of Melodea, said: “CNC from naturally abundant and renewable cellulose is emerging as one of the most promising green solutions to help replace environmentally harmful materials.
“The new plant, combined with our newly established ties in the US, 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 South America and the US.”
Melodea was founded as a spin-off project initiated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2010. It is based in Rehovot, Israel.