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DeveloPment of a 100 % BIodegradable Plastic Fiber to Manufacture Twines to Stake Creeping Plants and Nets for Packaging AgricUltural ProductS

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Greener packaging for agriculture

Biodegradable plastic nets to package and transport produce and plants will make the industry greener. Advances in this area can be realised thanks to new polymer combinations.

Climate Change and Environment

All European industries are looking for ways to become greener, and agriculture is no exception. In order to transport and deliver agricultural products such as fruits, vegetables and plants in a more environmentally friendly way, new biodegradable materials must be developed. The EU-funded project 'Development of a 100 % biodegradable plastic fiber to manufacture twines to stake creeping plants and nets for packaging agricultural products' (PICUS) has addressed this challenge. The project worked on nets and twines for packaging agricultural products made of fully compostable fibre. This new material features twining that can stake and prop plants effectively, yet in a much greener way. The project team developed two new compounds that help in blending different polyesters with biodegradable materials. It also tested different coupling agents such as peroxide to minimise the use of chemicals and maximise blending. The resulting polymers were biodegradable and were designed to meet various mechanical, thermal, chemical and flexibility requirements. This makes it possible for them to be used in different environments, including greenhouses, supermarkets and homes. Overall, the fibres that were developed boast the same advantages of traditional (PP) fibres, yet also offer better cutting characteristics, increased functional properties and superior composting capabilities. They are fully biodegradable, water-resistant, impact resistant and cost effective. The technology is now available on the market while results were made available to interested stakeholders, along with best practice guidelines for use and recycling. This represents one more important step towards a more eco-friendly agro-industry.

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