Despite the fact that biodegradable plastics are an effective method to minimize plastic contamination, it is also important to study their behaviour in different conditions like soil, freshwater, marine, or industrial compost.
Hence, it is mandatory to realize individual end-of-life analysis of new plastic products. This must be done considering the properties and processing conditions of each bioplastic rather than carrying out a generic waste management plan. Life cycle analysis (LCA) is an indispensable tool to gauge and quantify the benefits or impacts of any bioplastics, subjecting to boundary conditions and assessment considerations.
Sustainable management of bioplastic waste is highly challenging as some of the bioplastics are designed to only biodegrade in specific managed conditions. If they are disposed of in non-ideal environments, they can create a huge ill-effect.
Therefore, recycling is considered the most preferred option to manage bioplastic waste. However, the prime challenge in recycling post-consumer bioplastic waste is attributed to its heterogeneity and organic dependence.
Also, low market volumes and plastic contamination hinder recyclability rates. Therefore, there is a clear need for a more efficient recycling process to valorise the bioplastic waste into perpetually reusable high-value end-products.
For all the above-mentioned reasons, it is necessary to promote research on bio-based materials and plastic recycling. INGREEN and MANDALA projects contribute to these ambitions.
MANDALA project presents a sustainable solution for multilayer packaging focused on 3 pillars: eco-design, thermo-reversible adhesives, and end-of-life assessment. MANDALA project aims to deliver a sustainable multi-material packaging format that will satisfy food and pharma requirements thanks to its barrier properties.
On the other hand, INGREEN project will promote bio-based products by developing new materials from whey, wheat, and rye brans, and paper milling wastewater. Among their objectives, INGREEN will develop innovative bio-based prototypes that will be packaged in biodegradable solutions according to food, feed, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic needs.