Plastic is a preferred material for manufacturing high-volume consumer products and packaging thanks to its physical, mechanical, thermal and barrier properties. However, the existing global plastic industry is mainly petrochemical-based, bringing a negative environmental footprint.
In line with this existing problem, the NENU2PHAR project aims to develop innovative, performant, and sustainable PHA-based plastic products, establishing their complete value chain from bio-sources to finished products. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are a group of biopolymers that are now widely recognized as attractive substitutes for fossil-based plastics in a wide range of applications. Unfortunately, no sustainable value chain for PHAs exists in Europe, and production schemes developed elsewhere in the world appear questionable from an environmental and ethical standpoint since the biomass currently used as feedstock competes with food sources.
One of the main goals of NENU2PHAR is to set up a new European value chain of PHA-based products from a sustainable bio-source, namely the microalgae, with an acceptable end of life using circular economy and eco-design concepts where LOMARTOV’s role is crucial. Within the five commercial sectors, a total of nine products will be targeted and developed, including flexible food packaging film, rigid food packaging film, roll-on bottle for cosmetics, 3D printing filament, stand-up pouch for yogurt, plastic cup for compote, stand-up pouch for shredded cheese, surgical meshes, and woven agro textile for groundcover.
In order to contribute directly to the achievement of NENU2PHAR objectives, such as improving the environmental performance of the plastic-based products targeted in the project, LOMARTOV elaborated a full report on the systematic implementation of the eco-design approach to the target products, which was supported by environmental life cycle assessment (LCA).
This deliverable provided eco-design recommendations for the defined products and presented the initial conclusions. It is important to remark that eco-design aims to integrate environmental aspects during the product design stage to improve environmental performance throughout the life cycle of the products. This approach does not only cover environmental aspects but also all the other design aspects like quality, safety, functionality, costs, and regulatory requirements. As a result, with the collaboration of all involved partners, and especially the industrials (DANONE, BEL Groupe, Elixance, KAJ Plastics, Medtronic, IFG Cresco, BIO-MI, BIOTREND), a complete report on recommendations to improve the properties of plastic-based products through eco-design has been usefully delivered as established up to month 18 of the project’s lifetime. Indeed, an eco-design procedure is needed to ensure proper and successful project implementation and to demonstrate that the new products are developed under a sustainable and resource-efficient approach. Essentially, the main conclusions obtained in the first phases of the eco-design procedure for the mentioned products established numerous recommendations and guidelines for each product. These are expected to be implemented in the prototypes produced during the execution of NENU2PHAR, including the use of PHA-based materials to replace fossil-based plastics, ensuring more sustainable and safer products.
Finally, the environmental, economic, and social viability of the new eco-designed products will be fully validated through a full life cycle sustainability assessment in the coming months.
For more information, visit the project website using this link.
This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) under grant agreement No 887474. The BBI JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Bio Based Industries Consortium.
The sole responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the authors. It does not necessary reflect the opinion of the BBI JU. The BBI JU is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.