Compostable food-wrap company hopes to start producing soon

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A small company turning langoustine shells into compostable plastic food-wraps hopes to get out of the lab and start small-scale production later this summer.

In April, CuanTec, based at Dunstaffnage, successfully crowdfunded £5,036 from 131 supporters in just 42 days to help it work as fast as possible to come up with anti-microbial food packaging to make food last longer, avoiding plastic and food waste at the same time.

Since January last year, the company has already got prototypes of three food packaging films.

CuanTec microbiologist Dr Tracey White met members of Awakening Argyll call-to-action group last week to tell them about it.

‘This summer we’re hoping to get small-scale production out of the lab and start producing something, hopefully in Oban,’ she said.

And she added the expansion would bring in more jobs.

Very few chemicals are used in the process to make the alternative plastic wrap. Researchers  are also looking at ways of using it to make hard mould forms from the  natural biopolymer, called chitin, that they can get from crushed lobster and crab shells. It can also come from mushrooms and insects.

Also at last Thursday’s meeting in Benderloch’s Reading Room was Peter Leckie, project manager for Argyll and Bute Council’s next 10-year waste strategy review.

He said it was crucial as part of the next strategy that waste had to be stopped from becoming waste in the first place and that surpluses had to be prevented.

Mr Leckie said the council’s old waste strategy was ‘no longer fit for purpose’. He also spoke about the Scottish Government ban on biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill from  January 2021.

He said: ‘If we need to landfill by 2021 we will have failed. It’s mission critical for the council that we achieve this waste ban.’