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the biobased packaging revolution

Introducing a life cycle approach with innovative materials can help us reaching unexplored new potential for plastic packaging and its end of life.

In PRESERVE, we have the potential to change up to the 60% of packaging currently used by the market. How can we do this? We will enhance bio-based packaging in terms of properties that currently limit the application of bioplastics as well as in terms of the improvement of the end of life.

The benefits deriving from new approaches and uses of bioplastics, adhesives and biopolymers can help us upcycling materials used and create secondary raw material to create new products, thus reducing the waste generated and the impact on landfill waste.

Packaging solutions developed from an upcycling point of view will not only optimally preserve food and drinks, but also our finite resources and the environment.

PRESERVE’s main objectives

Enhance bio-based packaging in terms of properties that currently limit the application of bioplastics as well as in terms of end of life.

Develop upcycling technologies of plastics for food and drinks packaging transforming them into new materials or products of better quality or environmental value, ensuring that micro-plastics are avoided, with personal care and transport packaging applications.

Develop novel standards and certification schemes applicable to packaging materials made from recyclable and biodegradable bio-plastic.

A circular approach
for bioplastic consumer products

Bioplastic consumer products
The ambition of substituting 60% of consumer products with bio-based packaging

The recycling rates are insufficient, and we need to increase them as soon as possible. In PRESERVE, we aim at substituting the linear use of plastics with a circular approach: we want to substitute conventional fossil plastics by bio-based or recycled ones. Food packaging material will contain at least 85% of bio-based content.

The focus on upcycling and recycling technologies for the environment protection

In PRESERVE we will focus on approaches tailored to improve recyclability of multi-materials, biodegradation as end of life option, versatility and upcycled secondary application, and the use of novel methodologies to reduce the release of microplastics based on the application of functional finishing treatments.

Preserve infographic bioplasticsrecycling

Bioplastics recycling is the key

While Europe depends heavily on fossil-derived plastics and consumes in the range of 50 million tonnes of plastic per year, only 32% of the resulting waste is currently recycled. Given that packaging consumes more than 40% of all plastic produced each year, improving its circularity from origin to subsequent life cycles is more than urgent.

Our upcycling strategies to boost packaging performance in the first and subsequent life cycles of the materials comprise several steps:

  • Better packaging design allowing delamination with bio-based barrier coatings and adhesives, eBeam treatment and enzymation to prevent microplastics release
  • Establishment of a delamination pilot plant, with subsequent adjusting and upscaling of the new recycling process, with an initial sorting via advanced photonic and artificial intelligence approaches
  • Development of upcycled demonstrators deriving from recycled food packaging, with at least 85% of recovered materials for non-food-contact applications.

Boosting circular economy principles by improving packaging materials and their end of life

bio-based materials

PRESERVE will combine removable protein adhesive and barrier coatings in novel packaging structures to reach barrier properties similar to fossil-based packaging materials. Polyactic acid (PLA) and medium chain length polyhydroxyalkanoates (mcl-PHA) will serve as barrier coatings. PHA will be also used to develop more sustainable pulp moulded trays for food.

Improving environmental impact

PRESERVE technology will also improve the environmental footprint of the end of life phase of waste. Reciclability of materials will be enhanced thanks to delamination of adhesives, coatings or enzymation. eBeam treatment will also prevent microplastics release in the environment. .

Products from secondary raw materials

The treated materials will turn into new applications with improved properties through self-reinforcement. PRESERVE will boost the use of secondary raw materials for non-food contact applications and has the ambition to substitute conventional plastics by recycled bio-based ones in consumer products such as textiles, durable reusable packaging materials for transport and personal care products.

The Project Consortium and some data

Our trans-disciplinary team combines all the relevant skills and organisations needed to address the full extent of the challenge of developing and validating innovative sustainable bio-based packaging and end of life valorisation solutions.

The participation of a number of leading industry players is testimony to the soundness of the concept for generating broad impact and will maximise the consortium’s ability to transfer the results of the project to enable post project further impact broadly available market ready solutions.

PRESERVE will enable know-how transfer through its value chain of actors: 7 technology institutes & academia, to industry participants: 4 polymers and bio-based raw materials to be used in the new packaging solutions harnessing the potential of biotechnology, 4 plastic/packaging converters, 3 end users packers, 5 up-recyclers, providers of technological solutions, H&S and environment assessment and 2 innovation/dissemination specialists.

To complement our consortium, further stakeholders will be involved for complementary technical, policy and business-related insights, especially outreaching other sectors using packaging as well as other potential adopters of upcycled secondary raw materials and retailers, which are relevant actors for stimulating market pull.


PRESERVE’s impact

The prototypes of PRESERVE packaging demonstrators will be applicable to more than 60% of the market needs

Packaging market needs

Increase in new upgraded waste recycling facilities via biotechnological or biochemical methods up to 90%

Increase in bioplastics recycling

Content of virgin materials should be lower than 15% in our upcycled SRM demonstrators

Virgin material use

The demonstrator and other potential project applications

Project workpackages

Project start


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