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Unlocking the potential of Sustainable BiodegradabLe Packaging

Project description

A sustainable circular economy uses food processing waste to make food packaging products

Plastic packaging materials have become ubiquitous. They are widely used in the food and beverage, healthcare, cosmetics, consumer goods and home and garden industries. Most plastics start with hydrocarbons from crude oil. The USABLE PACKAGING project plans to turn that process on its head by developing biomass-based, biodegradable raw materials from food processing streams. Scientists will then use those materials to produce packaging that rivals conventional petrochemical-based ones in technical characteristics and performance. To round out the benefits, the packaging can be recycled in two ways, either through conventional organic recycling to yield biogas or through biotech recycling for reuse in USABLE PACKAGING. The end result will be a sustainable, bio-based product within a circular value chain.


USABLE Packaging will develop high performance plastic packaging through a sustainable and fully circular value chain, where the biomass raw material sourcing derives from food processing side streams, to obtain, via a low footprint biochemical processing, a portfolio of bio-based biodegradable building block materials enabling the realisation of complex packaging structures, including laminates and multilayer films, to match key functional requirements of commercial petrochemical plastics, such as gas/ liquid barrier properties, mechanical resistance, cold temperature resistance, hot tack, among others, while enabling the realisation of a full set of packaging items from rigid to semi rigid and flexible by tuning the functionalisation of base resins through bio-synthesis and the compound processing. USABLE Packaging concept is designed to retrofit the existing state of the art packaging processing technology by controlling the chemical and physical properties of the base building blocks materials. With respect to petrochemical peers USABLE Packaging offers a sustainable end-of-life, since on one hand materials are biodegradable with no harm to the environment, on the other hand they have potential to deliver additional economic value through organic recycling for production of biogas, with the same consolidated disposal route as bio-waste, or through biotech recycling, to be used again as feedstock for the production of the same base resins for USABLE Packaging, basically closing again and again the same value chain to re-obtain virgin materials.


Net EU contribution
€ 283 626,41
28006 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 315 140,45

Participants (24)