Sustainable food packaging : potential of using fibres from hemp hurd for thermoformed moulded pulp food packaging : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Food Technology, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand. EMBARGOED until 20 July 2026.

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There is currently high demand for sustainable packaging solutions, and also for new, sustainable fibre sources beyond traditional wood-based options. The aim of the work in this thesis was to evaluate whether hemp hurd fibre, a low value waste stream from the hemp industry, could be used to manufacture moulded pulp trays for food serviceware as a replacement for the single use plastic tray currently used. The hemp hurd was pulped and mixed in varying ratios with pine pulp to form handsheets. The handsheets were treated using different thermoforming conditions and the resulting performance determined. Handsheets based on mechanically pulped pine fibre and chemically pulped hemp hurd fibres were investigated, and characterised by several tests including tensile, tearing, bursting, short-span compression, ring crush, Gurley, contact angle and Cobb testing. The handsheets made from hemp hurd had promising mechanical properties and barrier performance compared to mechanically pulped pine fibres which were chosen to represent the relatively cheap pine pulps used in moulded fibre products industrially. This difference in performance is because the collapsed fibres in chemically pulped hemp hurd resulted in larger bonded areas.--Shortened abstract
Embargoed until 20 July 2026