On 31 May, Aitiip Technology Centre organised an interesting online workshop in which it presented, together with its respective partners, two of the major circular economy projects currently underway: LIFE BIOTHOP and Revoluzion. During the event "Bio-based solutions for the plastics of the future", which was attended by dozens of people in the participants had the opportunity to learn about the latest generation technological solutions that are being developed within the framework of both research projects.
The LIFE BIOTHOP project, coordinated by the Slovenian Institute of Hop Research and Brewing (IHPS), has succeeded in replacing polypropylene stakes in hop fields with a new stake made of bioplastic (PLA) produced from renewable resources and capable of degrading through composting in water, CO2 and biomass.
Thanks to the bioplastic tutor, the remains of the hop plant after harvesting can be used for composting and serve as a matrix for fertilising future harvests. In addition, the BIOTHOP material can also be used as a basis for the production of new biodegradable products (such as biocomposites, pots or packaging trays). Thanks to the BIOTHOP methodology, agricultural waste can be drastically reduced, while at the same time promoting the economics of agricultural waste sold to bioplastics producers.
The recently launched Revoluzion project, coordinated by Kompuestos, will test the power of enzymes to address the sustainability of plastics. The RevoluZion project is offered as an integral solution to the end of life of plastics, whose environmental impact is highly negative today, due to the inaccurate waste management (around 500,000 t of this waste ends up polluting oceans and soil, or the atmosphere after incineration). Using advanced enzyme engineering, the project will develop up to three formulations of innovative bio-based bioplastic materials (biopolyester blends as matrix and enzymatic functional additives). Through directed evolution, high-potential 'tailor-made' enzymes will be designed, becoming capable of acelerating biodegradation and compostability.