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sUstainable PLastIcs for the Food and drink packaging indusTry

Project description

Transitioning to more efficient plastic recycling systems

Every year, the EU generates more than 20 million tonnes of plastic waste, but less than 30 % is recycled. One way to reduce this waste is to increase recyclability of post-consumer mixed plastics. The EU-funded UPLIFT project is developing scalable enzymatic and microbial degradation processes to selectively depolymerize and upcycle plastic packaging waste currently considered unrecyclable. Eco-design of renewable and easy-recyclable eco-polymers will pave the way to a sustainable plastic system, making packaging an available feedstock for the circular economy, also thanks to a biorefinery approach. By keeping plastic waste in the loop and integrating biobased building blocks instead of virgin fossil-based monomers, UPLIFT will reduce plastic waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions associated with its production.


Recycling facilities are currently struggling when dealing with challenging plastic multi-layers, blends, and additives. Consequently, packaging plastics are mostly landfilled, incinerated or spilled into the environment. The concept of UPLIFT is to introduce biological depolymerization technology as an addition and integration to established recycling practices, by converting persistent plastic waste into more easily recyclable and/or degradable polymers. The project will start by analyzing the value-chains of the future to match and exploit the potential of microbe-and enzyme technology to effectively depolymerize the EoL plastic into monomers. Overall, the project aims at engineering towards greater scale and efficiency. Moreover, in order to contribute to further innovation, UPLIFT will also make use of an advanced high-throughput screening platform to further explore the potential of new and more efficient biocatalysts, among bacteria, yeasts and fungi. Synergies between genetic and protein engineering, as well as eco-engineering of microbial mixed consortia will be under Uplift’s scope. Furthermore, the knowledge of bio-depolymerization will be strategically applied for the eco-design and development of renewable and easy-recyclable polymers, thus making plastic packaging an available feedstock for the circular economy. Introducing biological depolymerization to current recycling practices will increase the capability of dealing with large amounts of currently non-recycled plastics. By doing so, UPLIFT will contribute and facilitate the transition to more efficient recycling facilities, thus paving the way to a sustainable plastic system.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 1 171 351,25
9220 Aalborg

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Danmark Nordjylland Nordjylland
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 184 825,00

Participants (14)