Developing and implementing sustainability based solutions for bio-based plastic production and use to preserve land and sea environmental quality in Europe.
The project will deliver sustainable strategies and solutions for bio-based plastics to support the EU-Plastic Strategy and a circular economy. It needs to be viewed not only as a research project but also as an intervention which takes into account the complex and dynamic processes of societal transformation triggered by a new awareness on the use of bio-based plastic, using the opportunity which emerges for a grounded and participatory research and innovation process.
This includes innovative product design, health and safety standards, end-of-life solutions and environmental and economic assessments of products life cycle. Furthermore, we also aim to develop business models for efficient reuse and recycling, ensuring safety of recycled materials for the environment and society.
To define, test and deploy innovative product design strategies and to pursue specific innovative business models based on these strategies, targeting efficient reuse and recycling approaches and solutions for bio-based plastic, including those required to ensure the health and safety of recycled materials when used for toys, packaging food stuffs, cutlery and agricultural equipment.
The materials will be made from renewable sources, with minimal or no competition with food supply chains. They should contain thermo-mechanical properties comparable to conventional plastics with the advantage of being sustainable and naturally biodegradable. Collected data on physical-chemical properties of a variety of materials currently being developed will be assessed and may lead to the transformation of current bio-based plastic products and/or the creation of new ones.
To map current waste collection and management schemes as well as recycling inefficiencies, identifying, listing and addressing some of the technical and economic barriers to bio-based plastics recycling as regards established and/or alternative recycling options, also including safety and impacts on ecosystems and define key priority areas for enhancing waste collection and management.
To investigate the potential impacts of bioplastic on the terrestrial and aquatic environments, including on flora, fauna and possible implications to human health. This is part of the procedures for the biodegradable sustainability framework.
By means of pre-normative research and tests of various modalities of bioplastic under laboratory and field conditions, a better knowledge about the expected or potential impacts of the release of chemicals deriving from the degradation of bioplastic will be achieved. This can, in turn, provide a solid basis for the further development of those categories of bioplastics known to be less dangerous to human and environmental health.
The work performed as part of Objective 3 will contribute to the development of EU-harmonised criteria for biodegradability (in open-air and in oceanic conditions) and a sustainability framework that increases market transparency and improves waste management practices on land and sea.
To build a biodegradable plastics sustainability framework, also by producing a “bioplastic safety protocol” (as a reliable means to ensure the safety of bioplastic materials), and by a mapping focusing on the applications where biodegradable and compostable solutions could support public policies.
To develop Innovative Business Models facilitating efficient reuse and recycling strategies and solutions, creating a better framework for systemic innovation and uptake of results through broad stakeholder engagement and improve the professional skills and competences of those working and being trained to work within the blue economy and the bio-economy by means of the execution of a set of training activities.
To design, test and deploy a coordinated Communication Strategy and the related tools for cooperative knowledge sharing of Best Practices and Lessons Learned. The knowledge basis and on-going stakeholder and citizens dialogue initiated in objectives 1 to 5 will support the communication strategy by identifying joint knowledge creation needs, prompt industry and stakeholders feedback/responses, as well as a proactive communication flows, for successful replication.
To accomplish these tasks, we've structured our work into the following work packages:
Enforce strict guidelines on data protection and field testing to ensure the highest standards of safety and protection of the environment and personal data.
Provide the overall internal management of the project, to establish the administrative procedures for the project and to be the liaison between the project, its partners and the European Commission.
Identify and test innovative product designs to decouple plastics production from fossil feedstock.
Identify barriers and motivators and develop integrated systems, which can increase the efficiency of plastic waste collection, recycling and minimise the littering.
Testing materials identified and designed in WP3, as well as making policy recommendations in line with the EU plastics and circular economy strategy.
Identification and creation of bio-based plastics safety standards.
Development of new business models issued on bio-based plastic products, documenting and demonstrating the benefits of the new bio-based plastics economy, supporting innovative policies, regulatory and incentive efforts to make circular strategies replicable and market efficient.
Using state-of-the-art environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC) tools to evaluate the environmental and economic performance of the products and value chains developed in the project.
Coordination of all procedures related to information and promotion of the project, the communication of its activities, and a broad network of dissemination partners, a strategy for the promotion of the project and the dissemination of results, vis-a-vis a possible replicability elsewhere.