Hans Rausing, former ceo and chairman of Tetra Pak and Tetra Laval, has become a principal investor in the EcoLean group, claiming: "Its unique innovations are the first really important news in food packaging for 30 years".

EcoLean, established in 1996, develops materials to offer optimal food packaging solutions with a low environmental impact. Its approach is based on filling plasticss with as high a proportion of natural minerals as possible. The material is produced by binding ready-to-use, abundant natural carbonates – such as chalk – with plasticss. It is said to be similar to eggshells, but instead of proteins as binding agents, it uses polyolefins,”the simplest and least harmful of all plasticss”.

In many applications, the company claims, this can not only replace but also out-perform existing materials.

EcoLean, has carried out intensive research and development headed by its founder, Åke Rosén. He will remain a partner in the company, and concentrate on the continuing research work in close co-operation with Hans Rausing and customers. Tuve Johannesson, former president of Volvo Cars, will be the chairman, with Peter Nilsson as managing director.

EcoLean already has a presence in eastern Europe and China and is now aiming at other markets throughout the world. The company employs 120 peoplen and its r&d centre and main production facilities are located in Helsingborg, Sweden. Although the main business is food packaging, it also has several research projects into other applications.

“All in all, Åke Rosén’s inventions are certainly among the most promising technologies I’ve ever encountered”, enthuses Hans Rausing. “By becoming involved now, I can help ensure the company receives the resources it needs as it moves into an industrial and commercial phase. It must also of course continue its original and intensive research work.”