Sharp Interpack has launched what are believed to be the first waterproof biodegradeable food trays and is supplying the compostable packs to Tesco for its organic fruit and vegetables range.

Working closely with Sharp Interpack, Novamont of Terni, Italy, developed the biodegradeable raw material out of gm free corn starch and polylactic acids. Its waterproof charac-teristics offer advan-tages over the potato starch packs laun-ched last year by making it suitable for moist foods which could turn other materials soggy.

When thermoformed it is also said to be as strong as PVC and PP. As with the potato starch pack it will completely breakdown after around six weeks on a compost heap, helping to reduce plastics waste.

Along with trays, the composite can be used for covers and netting. Tesco is planning a total changeover on fresh produce in future years. Sharp Interpack says there is considerable interest from other customers for produce and protein packs and non-food applications.