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 should 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 of bio-based plastic use, taking the emerging opportunity for a research and innovation process which is grounded and participatory.
This includes innovative product design, the development of health and safety standards, end-of-life solutions as well as environmental and economic assessments of product life cycle. Furthermore, we also aim to develop business models for efficient reuse and recycling, ensuring the safety of recycled materials for both the environment and society.
Defining, testing and deploying innovative product design strategies and pursuing innovative business models targeting efficient reuse and recycling of bio-based plastics. All the while, it is a requirement to ensure the health and safety of recycled materials when used for producing toys, food packaging, 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. Data collected on the physical-chemical properties of a variety of materials currently under development will be assessed and may lead to the transformation of current bio-based plastic products and/or the creation of new ones.
Mapping current waste collection and management schemes as well as recycling inefficiencies, identifying, listing and addressing technical and economic barriers to bio-based plastics recycling as regards established and/or alternative recycling options, also addressing safety and impacts on ecosystems and defining key priority areas for enhancing waste collection and management.
Investigating the potential impacts of bioplastics on terrestrial and aquatic environments, including on flora, fauna and human health. This is necessary for the for the biodegradable sustainability framework.
Pre-normative research and tests of various modalities of bioplastics both in laboratory and on the field are undertaken to better understand the expected and potential impacts caused by chemicals released from bioplastic degradation. 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 Work Package 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:
Enforcing strict guidelines on data protection and field testing to ensure the highest standards of safety and protection of the environment and personal data.
Providing the overall internal management of the project, establishing the administrative procedures for the consortium and liasing between the project, its partners and the European Commission.
Identifying and testing innovative product designs to decouple plastic production from fossil feedstock.
Identifying barriers and motivators and developing integrated systems, which can increase the efficiency of plastic waste collection, recycle and minimise littering.
Testing the materials which have been identified and designed in WP3, as well as making policy recommendations in line with the EU Plastics and Circular Economy Strategy.
Identifying and creating safety standards for bio-based plastics.
Developing new business models for bio-based plastic products, documenting and demonstrating the benefits of the new bio-based plastics economy, supporting innovative policies, regulations and incentives 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.
Coordinating all procedures related to information and promotion of the project, the communication of its activities, dissemination of results, and engaging a broad network of dissemination partners, vis-à-vis a possible replicability elsewhere.