From 2022, plastic bags will no longer be allowed to be sold in Germany. “A step in the right direction,” says Dr. Walter Leal, project coordinator of the EU project Bio-Plastics Europe. “But it is now important to develop alternatives and to analyze and optimize the entire life cycle of products and supply chains.”
Leal heads the Research and Transfer Center for Sustainability and Climate Impact Management at the University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg. The Bio-Plastics Europe project at HAW is developing new, biodegradable materials that are harmless to humans and the environment. For example, the scientists involved are examining leached bioplastic plasticizers for their toxicity. First results are expected shortly.
The three most important challenges in the supply chain for bioplastics were identified in advance: the need to overcome the dependence on food crops for raw material production, the improvement of the energy balance of polymer processing in biorefineries and the creation of sustainable framework conditions for waste management.
The researchers of the 22 participating partners from European nations and Malaysia are working together on sustainable strategies and solutions for bio-based plastics. The aim of the project is to develop and implement sustainability-based solutions for the production and use of bio-based plastics. And Bio-Plastics Europe is not only designed as a research project, but should also make very specific proposals for implementation that are affordable and economical.
Source: Hamburg University of Applied Sciences