Food Plastic Packaging Transition towards Circular Bioeconomy: A Systematic Review of Literature

Macarena Beltran, Benny Tjahjono, Anna Bogush, Jorge Julião, Evandro L. Silva Teixeira

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)
    300 Downloads (Pure)


    Advancement in packaging technology has played an essential role in reducing food waste and losses; however, most of this technology relies mostly on the use of plastics. Thus, there is an imminent need to think seriously about the transition towards a circular bioeconomy of innovative biobased materials with biodegradability potentials. This paper examines the driving forces behind the changes in food plastic packaging regimes and specifically seeks to understand how socio-technical configurations may influence niches to transition to a circular bioeconomy, particularly biobased biodegradable plastic materials. By employing a systematic review of the literature, we find that coordination with other back-end socio-technical systems that provide valorization of packaging waste is crucial to enable the transition. The literature indicates that one possible transition path is that the biobased biodegradable materials serve as "carriers of food waste". The paper contributes to the discussion on the dynamics of food packaging in the transition to a bioeconomy viewed through the lenses of a socio-technical system (niche–regime–landscape), which continues to reinforce future actions, leading to better management of packaging end-of-life.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number3896
    Number of pages24
    JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

    Bibliographical note

    This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and
    conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


    This research was funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), grant number ES/T015195/1.


    • Biobased plastics
    • Biodegradable
    • Bioeconomy
    • Bioplastics
    • Multi-level perspective
    • Sustainable transition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
    • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
    • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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