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The European Res Urbis project aims to obtain bioplastics from organic waste

07 julio 2017

Res Urbis

More than 300 million people live in urban areas in Europe, and each individual produces an average of 3 kilos of organic waste every month.

More than 300 million people live in urban areas in Europe, and each individual produces an average of 3 kilos of organic waste every month. Getting to reuse all those materials would mean a big achievement in the circular economy process, but so far part of that is just recovered to produce energy and compost, with very low added value. The Res Urbis project is intended to take a step forward and obtain bioplastics not just from the organic fraction of urban waste from households, restaurants, caterers and retail premises but from municipal sewage sludge or garden and parks waste as well.

To do so, the Res Urbis project is developing integrated biowaste refineries and improving the participating technologies. The team of the University of Barcelona, for instance, is working in the process of PHA (polyhydroxyalkaoate), basic in the creation of bioplastics, out of the volatile fatty acids resulting from waste decomposition by using samples provided by the waste service of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.

Several PHA-based bioplastics will be produced at pilot scale and tested for applications in order to evaluate the economic viability of the project, including biodegradable commodity film, packaging interlayer film or speciality durables, such as computer chassis, tablets, phones and other electronics.

Transforming this large flow of organic matter into high-market-valued products would have a very positive impact on the environment, the economy and even employment rates. There is no doubt that the quantity of waste that goes to landfills would be reduced and, at the same time, waste would be a much cheaper raw material than the current cereals –costing 5 to 8 cents per kilo– that are used in some current bioplastics.

The Res Urbis project, funded by the European H2020 program, has a budget of circa 3 million euros and involves a consortium of 21 participants in 8 countries, including research centres, private companies, associations and public administations. The Sapienza University of Rome coordinates this consortium, in which both the University of Barcelona and the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona are important members.

  @equiplast

 

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