25 Oct REBIOLUTION PROJECT
The REBIOLUTION project (Novel biodegradable, REcyclable, BIO-based, and safe plastic polymers with enhanced circuLar properties for food packaging and agricUltural applicaTIONs) is a European project aimed at developing 100% bio-based plastics designed to have excellent mechanical properties while also being biodegradable and recyclable.
Plastics play a crucial role in our daily lives but also pose a significant environmental problem. One of the EU’s objectives is to develop sustainable materials that can replace the most common plastics in our everyday lives, which are mostly derived from fossil fuels and non-biodegradable. It is estimated that bio-based plastics could reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production of their fossil-based counterparts by 30-50%. Additionally, biodegradable plastics offer an alternative for products that are not suitable for recycling, such as food packaging contaminated with food residues. Although research into such plastics has been ongoing for several years, a formulation with properties equivalent to the most commonly used fossil-based plastics, such as polyethylenes, has not yet been achieved.
What is this project about?
The REBIOLUTION project is a three-year EU-funded project that will develop new plastic formulations based on the innovative monomer FDCA (2,5-furandicarboxylic acid), which will be produced on a large scale for the first time. This 100% bio-based monomer will be combined with other bio-based monomers to find the most optimal formulation that meets international standards for biodegradability, recyclability, and various properties (mechanical, thermal, etc.) for use in a wide range of applications.
The REBIOLUTION project will not only develop novel plastic formulations, but will also produce two different applications from them: food packaging and mulch films. Food packaging accounts for the majority of plastic use in the market, (over 40%). Multilayer packaging, which combines plastic and paper, is predominantly used in the food and beverage industry. However, due to its form and use, recycling is neither a cost-effective nor a technically feasible option. In agriculture, mulch films are used on crops to enhance their growth and conserve water. In both cases, the most commonly used plastic is PE, which is fossil-based and non-biodegradable.
This project will not only develop innovative bio-based and biodegradable plastic formulations, and will create widely used and essential products with them, but also will improve their sustainability and safety. Toxic substances will not be used, energy consumption will be reduced, and recyclability and biodegradability will be ensured. Moreover, the project will also focus on breaking down social barriers related to bioplastics, many of which arise from a lack of awareness.
What is the role of Contactica in this project?
This new initiative funded by the European Union began on the 1st of June of 2023 and will last for three years. Contactica will lead two of the seven Work Packages: WP5 “Environmental and Economic Assessment of ReBIOlution’s Value Chain” and WP7 “Dissemination and Communication.” The project is coordinated by the company BASF (Germany) and involves a consortium of 9 partners from 7 different countries.
ReBIOlution has been funded under the topic HORIZON-CL6-2022-CIRCBIO-02-03-two-stage by the European Union. It is an innovation project (IA) with a budget of €6,423,813.75, funded at 70% by the EU (except for the funding of the Swiss partner, which is covered by the Swiss Government).