17 November 2023

Packaging solutions derived from beer production waste

International project | BioSupPack has started a new project year in September 2023, aiming to develop packaging solutions based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) derived from beer production residues, and demonstrating a feasible recycling process for these biobased plastics to ensure that resources remain in circulation. Bringing together 17 partners from 8 countries, BioSupPack receives funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU) and Horizon 2020 framework.

Coordinated by AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, and with a budget of EUR 8.8 million, BioSupPack is developing a demonstration process for the production and enzymatic recycling of environmentally safe, superior and versatile rigid packaging solutions based on the new PHA family of biobased polymers. The main goal of BioSupPack is to deliver novel, cost-competitive and versatile bio-based packaging solutions based on PHA, for the packaging of food, cosmetics, homecare and beverage products as well as no environmental damage during and after their use.

Sustainable EU bioeconomy

The Bioeconomy Strategy and its Action Plan pave the way to a more innovative, resource-efficient and competitive EU society, to accelerate the deployment of a sustainable EU bioeconomy so as to maximize its contribution towards the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as the Paris Agreement, and the EU policy priorities as Policy Strategy, as the Circular Economy Action Plan and the Communication on Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation.

In several interlinked working groups, the project consortium partners will obtain PHAs from brewer’s spent grain and other monomers from enzymatic recycling of PHA packaging waste. Based on these PHA compounds, several rigid packaging prototypes with tailored barrier properties will be designed at a pilot scale and tailored towards the feasible waste collection and separation options. The packaging solutions will include injection-moulded PHA and biocomposites demonstrators as well as well as PHA-coated fibre-based service packaging and ready meal trays.

Eventually, the project partners will develop an enzymatic recycling process for recovering the PHA from these new packaging solutions – while the paperboard fraction can be repulped –, demonstrating the feasibility of upcycling post-industrial waste within the production process. The prototypes will be assessed regarding their environmental and socio-economic sustainability and the safety of the new bio-based packaging.

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