PRESERVE aims at boosting the circular use of bio-based packaging by shifting from the current situation (fossil-based, limited recycling) to award-winning upcycling strategies from past and ongoing projects.

These new technologies include enhancing the performance of primary food packaging via bio-based barrier coatings for bioplastic and paper/board substrates and via eBeam irradiation and microfibrillar reinforcement. From the biotechnological side, PRESERVE will leverage the compounding of enzymes in bioplastics to stimulate biodegradation, the enzymatic recovery of functional oligomers and the delamination of multilayer packaging via enzymatic detergents to enable their layer separation and recycling.

Ten packaging applications will demonstrate PRESERVE’s up-scaling capabilities. The enhanced bio-packaging will be validated with different types of food and drinks and recovered biopolymers will be upcycled in added value applications such as packaging for personal care products and reusable carrier packaging (using textiles and composites).

Plastic packaging, which makes up nearly 60% of the total plastic waste in Europe, is highly problematic from a waste management and environmental point of view due to their durability and resistance to degradation.

upPE-T project will develop, through sustainable strategies, an alternative for plastic chemical degradation, turning PE and PET waste streams via enzymatic degradation and bioprocesses into raw material for the production of biodegradable bioplastic.

Finally, together with customers and food and drink brand owners, bio-based end-packaging will be demonstrated and validated to ensure fast market deployment.

The main idea of MIX-UP (MIXed plastics biodegradation and UPcycling using microbial communities) is to showcase a novel approach for plastic recycling and therefore addresses one of the greatest challenges of our time: the establishment of a circular (bio)-economy for plastics. The continuing demand for plastic products, the lack of appropriate recycling and the ubiquitous pollution of the environment with plastic waste pose a global challenge.

An ambitious vision and considerable efforts are required to change the traditional value chain of plastics to a sustainable one, based on biodegradable plastics. The ground-breaking objective is: plastic waste to plastic value – by a sustainable, biotechnological conversion of unsorted, mixed plastics into valuable bioplastic using heavily engineered enzyme mixtures and mixed microbial communities.

Based on an internationally patented technology, the project foresees to bring at industrial level (through a completely functional pilot plant) the usage of microwaves as Process Intensification approach (through an electromagnetic catalytical effect) of the well-known alkaline hydrolysis depolymerization reaction. Such reaction was, up to know, economically unfeasible due to a certain number of technological constraints that DEMETO finally solves.