A SCOTTISH biotech firm is poised to seek regulatory approval for a revolutionary new food wrapping film which could drastically reduce non-recyclable food packaging waste.

Cuantec, based in Motherwell, will seek approval next year for its antimicrobial food packaging material, which is derived from chitosan, a biopolymer used in glues and dyes, based in a substance found in langoustine shells.

READ MORE: Sunday National readers tell us: Target food wrapping in your plastic campaign

The company would look to achieve EU safety standards which would mean its product could be sold across the continent even after Brexit.

Cuantec has been testing its wrapping on seafood and has seen impressive results. Dr Cait Murray-Green told the Sunday National: “Cuantec believes that all food packaging should be compostable.

“We have several prototypes of our antimicrobial food packaging that we are testing with seafood retailers and we are seeing great results so far, a substantial reduction in the bacterial load which can take the product two days after the usual sell by date.

“We are very hopeful that we will be moving forward to regulatory approval next year. This will mean that for seafood we will be providing packaging that makes food last longer from non-petroleum sources, helping not only the plastics issue but also food waste.”

Cuantec has also been working on robust packaging designs with its materials that are strong enough for single use milk bottles and solutions for the drinks industry.

Dr Murray-Green said the company is looking to develop a wide range of compostable materials into their products. “Our chitosan at the moment comes from langoustines but we have also been working on processes for other sources including crab, lobster and even mushrooms, so by the time our products go global we will have a wide range of options, all from food waste.”

Welcoming the results of the Sunday National plastics poll, Dr Murray-Green warned against consumers putting their environmental faith in recycled plastic.

“Recycled plastic is a red herring as it can only be re-purposed a few times and then you still have a lump of petroleum based plastic that will only fragment or in its worst form biodegrades over often hundreds of years. The only way to get rid of it is to burn it. If we can move consumers into a world of compostable wrapping material then not only does the substance disappear into the earth it actually supports new growth.”