What We Do
CuantTec have developed the first viable films to replace plastic using chitin as its source material. Many attempts have been made using this natural biopolymer but have failed due to the extraction method employed for the raw material itself. However, utilizing CuanTec's proprietary extraction method, this has now become possible! At the heart of CuanTec’s story is wanting to take care of our environment. We want to remove the issues of food waste and plastic pollution through an innovative approach. We are creating a viable, circular business with the well-being of our planet at its core.
We are passionate that a new form of the economy, the bioeconomy, will see investors and consumers value the preservation of our environment as much as traditional monetary value.
Avoiding Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Huge volumes of shellfish waste are currently produced each year, amounting to totals of up to 150 billion tonnes globally. This not only incurs significant costs for businesses, an estimated £10 trillion spent on waste each year, but also comes at a significant environmental cost. Today, these forms of shellfish waste are incinerated or put in landfill, emitting damaging CO2 into the atmosphere; incinerating only around half of these volumes results in estimated emissions of around 13.9 billion tonnes of CO2 each year.
CuanTec’s process and business helps avoid the emissions associated with the disposal of the shellfish waste by using and valorising these waste products, meaning these wastes are not incinerated or placed in landfill. In addition, by replacing fossil-fuel-based plastics, CuanTec helps to avoid emissions associated with the production and disposal of these plastic product as well.
Reduce Plastic Pollution
We’ve all seen the heart wrenching images of wildlife tangled in man-made materials that litter their habitats. We've heard how they ingest microplastics as if they were nutritious plankton, and humans consume this plastic from eating seafood.
The world is creaking under the weight of more than 50 years of plastic pollution. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. This is a shocking statistic. Much of this waste comes from single use plastic, such as food packaging.
Our food packaging material is biodegradable and compostable and returns its natural components to the environment, without leaving a trace. We use natural materials to create our product, and it will return to nature without causing any harm.
Save Food Waste
Food waste is a huge global issue. Around one third of food produced goes to waste, and this does not include inedible parts discarded during food processing, such as the shells of shellfish.
CuanTec is tackling food waste from two angles - that includes both inedible food products and edible foods.
Our packaging material, CuanSave™, also directly saves food waste. Chitosan has antimicrobial properties. This means it can cause an shelf life extension of foods wrapped within it. By allowing food, such as fresh salmon to stay fresher for longer, customers will have more time to eat it before it passes the "use by date".
Preventing food waste does not only prevent waste. It also can reduce green house gas emissions and save money for food producers, retailers and consumers alike.
The key ingredient for out material, chitosan, in converted from chitin which can be found in abundance in nature. A major source of chitin is the inedible parts (shells) of shellfish. When fish processing companies have taken the meat from shellfish, the shells are discarded and go to waste. We are changing that.
By repurposing the shells, we are finding value in them and saving tonnes of waste being incinerated every year.
In nature, there is no waste - everything has a purpose. If we were to adopt this system, we could save tonnes of natural resources and improve our environment.
As a society, we need to move away from the linear “take, make, dispose of” mentality and move towards a circular economy, where the “waste” from one process becomes a valued by-product for another customer, perhaps in a very different industry.
At CuanTec, we take the by-products from the shellfish industry and use them in our gentle, biological process to extract pure, high quality chitin for use in the packaging industry.