Latest news

16 February 2018

H2020 project to develop new sustainable packaging aiming at longer preservation of food products

The project REFUCOAT, coordinated by AIMPLAS, will soon develop an innovative food packaging based on biopolymers in order to achieve environmentally sustainable packaging and allowing for longer and more efficient food conservation.

The project aims to develop fully-recyclable food packaging with enhanced gas barrier properties and new functionalities using high performance coatings. Within the project’s objective, project partners will be using active coatings in films and trays as an alternative to current metallised and modified atmospheric packaging (MAP), which can entail complex and expensive recycling steps.

Specifically, polyglycolic acid (PGA) is going to be combined with modified silica oxide in order to formulate a hybrid coating with oxygen and water vapour barrier properties. Furthermore, a new PLA grade from corn wastes will be developed, with better water vapour barrier values than commercial grades. These developments are going to be combined in order to create recyclable packages for chicken, cereals and snacks.

The project REFUCOAT involves 12 partners and is funded by the European Union, through the program H2020 programme.

For more information read Aimplas press release or visit the project’s website.

29 January 2018

Dutch event stresses the importance of biobased standards

On the 18th of January 2018, NEN and PIANOo have organised a roundtable to discuss how 'standards' can support bio-based public procurement. The event was organised as part of the InnProBio project.

Participants, mainly from national and local Dutch public authorities, were invited to share their knowledge, experiences and ideas on the topic. Different certification schemes were discussed and procurers concluded it should be up to the procuring entity to apply the most appropriate criteria, for example, based on percentage of bio-based content, sustainability of biomass, a product’s biodegradability.

Building on the Province of Zeeland’s experience of purchasing biobased products , particular attention was given to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) Technical specifications, such as the EN 16785-1:2015, relating to methods for determining bio-based content and EN 16575, defining common terminology to biobased products. Participants felt these standards can help set up criteria for biobased products. On the other hand, some participants raised the issue of using these standards for new materials. They also raised that they find it challenging to apply existing standards and regulations to newly developed materials.

The results of the roundtable/dialogue will form part of the recommendations of the InnProBio project to the European commission to further stimulate bio-based procurement.

24 January 2018

Latvian Government publishes the Bioeconomy Strategy 2030

The Bioeconomy Strategy 2030 aims to develop Latvian bioeconomy and makes Latvia the first EU-13 Member state to publish a national bioeconomy strategy.

The main strategy’s goals include the creation of jobs in the sector; an increase on the value added of products deriving from the bioeconomy market to €3,8 billion and an increase of the value of bioeconomy production exports to €9 billion, to be achieved by 2030.

Various stakeholders, such as research institutes and working groups made up by members from different Latvian Ministries (e.g. Ministry of Economics, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development) were involved in the development of the Strategy. A strong cooperation was developed with the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia.

The Strategy encourages Latvian ministries to take into account the strategy’s recommendations in policy planning and writing, including for EU and other funding instruments, such as the Rural Development Programme 2021-2027 and other State Research Programmes.

You can read the Strategy and the Informative Report (In Latvian) on the Government’s website.

19 January 2018

European Commission publishes new strategy on plastic production and pollution

The European Commission presented on the 16th January 2017 a strategy on how the EU intends to approach plastic production and pollution over the next decade and beyond.

According to its new Plastics Strategy, the EU executive will work to ensure that all plastic packaging placed on the internal market is either reusable or easily recyclable by 2030. By the same year, the Commission hopes that more than a half of all plastic waste will be recycled, thanks to new effective waste collection programmes.

The strategy also recognizes the vital role of taxation and public procurement in supporting transition and steering investments. It affirms The European Commission will work to integrate recycled content in Green Public Procurement criteria.

For more information read the Plastic Strategy or visit EURACTIV.com article.

10 January 2018

New article sheds light on issues around bioplastics and their sustainability

A recent article has been issued focusing on issues around the real environmental impacts and life cycle of bioplastics. The article in fact considers bioplastics’ biodegradability, the side effects of bioplastics’ production, such as land use, and highlights other problems such as the materials’ discard and dismantle. The article also presents a few new types of biodegradable bioplastics being at the moment studied and developed.

Considering the estimated 9 million tons of trash entering the oceans every year, some argue bioplastics are to be considered a solution to plastic pollution. The often-cited advantages of bioplastics are reduced use of fossil fuel resources, a smaller carbon footprint, and faster decomposition.

However, the article stresses the importance of considering the materials’ life cycle. Bioplastics, in fact, can result in greater amounts of pollutants, due to the fertilizers and pesticides used for their production, can contribute more to ozone depletion and require extensive land use. Not only, but in order to biodegrade bioplastics, high temperature industrial composting facilities are required and not all cities have the infrastructure to deal with this.

The study concludes by mentioning a few new types of bioplastics under study, such as biodegradable bioplastic deriving from wastewater and solid waste and biodegradable bioplastics produced from organic waste such as food waste and crop residue.

To read the article, visit here. For further information on bio-based products and their sustainability, as well as on biodegradability check the InnProBio factsheets.

11 December 2017

InnProBio newsletter #5 is now available

The fifth edition of the InnProBio newsletter is now available on the InnProBio website. The newsletter includes updates on the project’s activities, together with news related to the topic of bio-based products and services and upcoming events.

This edition features the two latest InnProBio case studies on the bio-based public procurement carried out by the Province of Zeeland and Skåne Regional Council, on the purchase of bio-based products for road works and disposable bio-based aprons, respectively. It includes information on Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) latest guide on bio-based office furniture and InnProBio latest factsheet on Life Cycle Assessment and Life Cycle Costing.

To read the latest newsletter, visit the newsletter section of the website.

16 November 2017

Disposable bio-based aprons for Skåne’s healthcare sector

Skåne Regional Council, Swedish southernmost county with Malmö as its main city, undertook with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency, an innovation procurement for the supply of 5.2 million bio-based disposable aprons.

Thanks to an analysis of the region’s climate impact conducted in 2011, it discovered that its healthcare sector was one of the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – in fact 40% of the region’s total CO2 emissions. Following the analysis, the region decided to carry out an innovation-oriented public procurement for the purchase of aprons mostly made from renewable (bio-based) material. The procurement involved four phases: a preliminary market dialogue/sounding phase; a qualification round to select potential suppliers; a negotiation phase; and an award phase.

The process began in 2014 and concluded in May 2016 with the contract awarded to a company for the supply of disposable aprons consisting of 91% renewable material. The purchase/use of the bio-based aprons is expected to result in savings of 250 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions.

A case study of the Region of Skåne’s experience has been published as part of the EU-funded InnProBio project. The case study is available on the InnProBio website.

8 November 2017

Online toolbox for bio-based procurement to make buyers’ lives easier

The InnProBio project has launched an online toolbox for bio-based procurement in the public sector. Designed to assist public buyers considering alternatives to plastics produced from fossil fuel based materials, the toolbox includes an online database of bio-based products and suppliers, good practice examples, procurement instruments and standard tender text blocks. It is available in English, German, Dutch and Polish.

The toolbox is meant to be a starting point for public buyers to get informed about the various bio-based products available on the market. It includes a database of products and suppliers of bio-based products. Information about the bio-based content, sustainability, functionality and end-of-life aspects such as biodegradability are also included. Claims are supported by references to standards, technical sheets, labels and certificates. Producers and suppliers of bio-based products are invited to add their products to the database.

In addition to the database, the online toolbox provides a number of instruments that can support the procurement of bio-based products: good practice examples showing how bio-based procurement is successfully implemented in practice, information on procurement instruments most relevant in bio-based procurement, and sample ‘tender text blocks’ that can be used when putting together tender documents.

The Press Release can be downloaded in English, Dutch or German.

For more information, visit the InnProBio website.

9 October 2017

EU funding for Metsä Fibre’s long-term development projects

Long-term development projects aim to prove the commercial viability of new technologies to produce lignin-based products and pulp-based textile fibres, bark as a replacement for coal

Metsä Fibre plays an important role in three new development partnerships that have been successful in project evaluations and thus secured multiannual funding from the EU. The concepts of relevance to Metsä Fibre in these partnerships include new technologies to produce lignin-based products and pulp-based textile fibres, as well as the utilisation of bark as a replacement for coal in the production of heat and electricity. The recently initiated long-term development projects aim to prove the commercial viability of these concepts.

“Operating within the EU’s research and development networks demand perseverance and world-class competencies. The EU funding now granted to us is a clear indication of the high quality of Metsä Fibre’s research and development activities and the new concepts."

"It also indicates their relevance in respect to finding solutions that help mitigating some of the greatest challenges facing society, such as population growth and resource scarcity,” says Niklas von Weymarn, Vice President, Research at Metsä Fibre.

More information can be found here.

4 October 2017

The ick factor: Dutch project making bike lanes and bottles from used loo roll

A pilot scheme in the Netherlands is sifting sewage for cellulose, which it says can be recycled into valuable products

When you flush the toilet, you’re probably not thinking about bike lanes or home insulation. But that’s where your used loo roll could one day end up if a Dutch project to extract cellulose from sewage rolls out. At the Geestmerambacht wastewater treatment plant near Alkmaar in the Netherlands, a two-year pilot project is using an industrial sieve to sift 400kg of cellulose, the natural fibres found in loo roll, from toilet sludge each day.

The cellulose, which would otherwise be incinerated at the end of the sewage treatment process, is cleaned and sterilised with very high temperatures and turned into a fluffy material or pellets. These are sold on as a raw material for products like asphalt and building materials.

A portion is also exported to the UK, where Brunel University is working on technology to transform it into an energy source, bioplastic bottles and other products.

More information can be found here.