In recent years, the legislation regulating waste management has focused on reducing the environmental impact in packages and their wastes with specific provisions that foster the use of compostable bags, such as the French directive that, since the beginning of 2020, will ban the use of disposable tableware if the 50 % of the material used for its manufacture does not come from renewable sources and the materials are not compostable in home composting. In Spain, a Royal Decree project will force to spread the concept of biodegradable to compostable.
In this legislative context and in the absence of a range of materials covering the needs required by the market and being an adequate alternative to conventional plastic materials, the project BIO+ will develop customized materials responding to these needs.
The main objective of the project is to develop customized compostable materials for mass-market single-use products complying with the current legislation and with the same functional requirements than the products obtained with traditional plastic materials and with a competitive cost. For that purpose, tasks are being carried out to obtain the biodegradation of different products keeping in mind their end of life. Thus, for single-use packages and disposable tableware, which are normally contaminated with food scraps, a compostability in ‘home compost’ conditions is to be achieved. For single-use bags that wrongly managed may end in seas, a biodegradability in marine environment is to be sought.
The consortium of the project is led by PICDA, a company from Valencia (Spain) specialized in extrusion of plastic bags of different formats, and Granzplast, engaged in the manufacture of customized plastic compounds for injection and extrusion technologies. In order to tackle the developments in disposable household items developed, the companies NUPIK, leader in the manufacture of disposable household items and Perez Cerdá Plastics, specialized in tasks of plastics injection applied their knowledges in single-use injected household items (cutlery and glasses). The consortium is completed with companies addressing the developments in single-use packaging, such as Indesla, manufacturer of packages for the fruit and vegetable and food sectors and Thermolympic, a company dedicated to the injection of thermoplastics that, in this project, will tackle the development of packages for catering. Moreover, the consortium has the support of three technology centres such as AIMPLAS, AITIIP and CETIM and the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), which will provide scientific and technical support to the companies taking part in R&D tasks.
The project BIO+ has been funded by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness through the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) through the call aimed at funding the strategic programme for national business research consortia (CIEN 2017 programme) and with grant number SOL-00103164.