The project WASTE2PLASTICS was initiated by the need to develop advanced bioprocesses for the management and valorization of industrial wastes/wastewaters and waste biomass generated from anthropogenic activities, into the concept of a circular economy approach. In this context, novel technologies will be developed that will valorize different types of wastes/wastewaters towards bio-based, biodegradable polymers i.e. polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), which upon extraction from the microbial cells and purification will be formulated either to food packaging articles or to eco-friendly and fully biodegradable garbage bags.
Specific goals and objectives of WASTE2PLASTICS include:
- The valorization of different waste streams derived from confectionary industry, paper industry and environmental pollution via a) the development of integrated bioprocesses for the production of multiple types of PHAs from unconventional raw materials, b) the production of bio-based polymers to substitute for petroleum-derived materials, c) integration of bio-based polymer production in existing food companies and waste treatment facilities
- Evaluation of PHA properties as compared to conventional packaging by a) analyzing the mechanical, thermal and physicochemical properties of PHAs, b) assessing the life time and biodegradability based on the scenarios of continuous usage and subsequent disposal, c) assessing the health effect and food safety of PHAs
- Development of packaging for specific confectionary products and organic waste disposal by a) construction food packaging materials made of PHAs, b) formation of garbage bags for household green wastes, c) comply with environmental regulations, packaging law and consumer needs
- Validation of sustainable development by a) the evaluation of process sustainability through process design, techno-economic evaluation and Life Cycle Assessment (e.g. reduction of CO2 emissions, waste generation and petroleum utilization), b) proposing solutions for the reduction of current cost for waste treatment.