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Are edible wrappers the next big thing?

Two U.S.-based companies, Monosol and WikiCells, will soon start marketing edible packaging, and both say the market has yet to be tapped.

Between the two rivals, Monosol is closer to market its packaging, which is already being used by some companies in the detergent, pesticide and clothing industries.

The company says it is also currently negotiating with several food companies; but its products cannot be used with wet goods.

WikiCells is free of this problem, as it employs ultra-thin membrane technology in its edible packaging. WikiCells creator Professor David Edwards said the company's unique technology enables it to create thin, liquid proof flavorful packaging.

But before the two can corner the market, they have to overcome consumers' psychological barrier, namely the initial unsavory site of, for example bits of plastic melting away into one's drink. 


Another hurdle is that of personal hygiene: Products in ready-made packaging go through many hands - literally - before they reach the end consumer, and despite the companies' assurances of their products' safety, it is unlikely that consumers would be willing to nibble on something whose hygiene can so clearly be compromised.

Still, marketing and recycling experts agree that there is room for experimentation in the field, which shows great potential in terms of urban waste management.

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