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Frontpage News 2016 Eco-innovation in packaging

Ecofish project ES02-0117 © Dow Chemical (2)
Photo credit: Dow Chemical

Eco-innovation in packaging

  • “We estimate huge energy savings of around 125 000 GJ over three years and a reduction of 18 750 tonnes of CO2. That is the equivalent of emissions from 3 750 cars driven for one year,” said Felip Vidiella, EMEA and India Packaging R&D Director at Dow Spain.

    Spain is one of the biggest consumers of seafood products in Europe, with the average person eating more than 40kg per year. While bulk purchases of whole and fresh fish are still common, pre-portioned and packaged fresh fish is steadily gaining market share. This means more waste. With plastic manufacturing generating twice its weight in CO2 emissions and barely half of fish containers recycled, new packaging solutions are long overdue.

    Packaging results Ecofish project ES02-0117© Dow Chemical Photo credit: Dow Chemical

    The EcoFishPack project is run by two companies in Spain - Dow Chemical and ULMA Packaging. They are working together to develop new packaging materials, which retain their airtight and durable properties, but crucially can be recycled.

    The companies have collaborated closely with two technological centres: Nofima, in Tromso (Norway), Ainia, in Paterna (Spain), with all benefiting from the shared learning and expertise of the other partners. In total, four packaging solutions have been developed which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 25-50%.

    Pilot machines Ecofish project ES02-0117 © Dow Chemical (3) Pilot machines Ecofish project. Photo credit: Dow Chemical

    EcoFishPack is one of 162 projects financed by the EEA Grants under an €18 million programme to strengthen the knowledge base on climate change and increase the application of environmental technology in Spain.

    Its distinctive funding mix of grants and loans has proved highly successful, with the programme operator receiving more than twice the standard number of applications.

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  • Country:


    Project title:


    Project number:


    Priority sector:

    Climate Change


    € 59525



    Project promoter:


    Type of Institution:

    Large enterprise

    Project duration:

    16 months

    Project cost:

    € 470,501

    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Although there are studies on the environmental impacts of different stages of fish processing (mainly fishing and transport), impacts related to packaging (materials/machinery) have not been studied extensively and has therefore not been optimized. The overall objective of this project is to find new sustainable packaging solutions for the fish processing industry, in order to reduce its environmental impact by decreasing the production of greenhouse gases with 10 to 15%. This project will examine the entire process of fish packaging, studying materials, and machinery and their parameters that affect the products' shelf-life. Consumers and retailers will benefit from packaging specifically developed for fish products, economic savings, and reduction of energy costs, packaging materials and environmental impacts. The consortium subcontracts, NOFIMA, is a Norwegian Research Institute that works on Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture. NOFIMA's task is to determine the requirements of the Norwegian fish packing industry and validate proposed solutions.