The European CITRUSPACK project, funded by the LIFE PROGRAMME of the European Commission and coordinated by AITIIP, has come to an end. After three years of ambitious research, the European partners of the project have come together online to hold the Final Conference. Framed in the Europe 2020 Strategy of the European Commission, the CITRUSPACK project has managed to develop three prototypes of bioproducts that will revolutionize the packaging and cosmetics industry: a juice bottle (biobottle), a cosmetic jar (bio-jar) and a moisturizing facial cream. All this, from the citric residue.
Several technology centers, laboratories and companies from up to five different countries (Spain, Greece, Slovenia, France, Belgium) have been involved in the project. In addition to Aitiip, the Murcian group AMC, Eroski, and the international partners TECOS, OWS, PLASTIPOLIS and OLVETIA have participated, each partner leading a phase or activity of the project.
The AMC team has been in charge of the process of extracting natural compounds from waste, with the aim of obtaining different substances, such as fibers or essential oils. Once these substances were obtained, two areas of action have been studied. On the one hand, the development of bioplastics, through the mixture of biopolymers and citrus fibers) and, on the other, the chemical formulation of cosmetic products. Specifically, the OLVETIA team was able to develop up to five different formulations to make moisturizers, scrubs, eye serum and facial masks.
For their part, AITIIP and TECOS were involved in the transformation of plastic. From AITIIP, the bottles and jars for cosmetics were developed by TECOS. Once the structures and content of the cosmetic jar had been created, the companies OWS and Eroski subjected the final products to technical and sociological evaluation, through industrial compostability tests of the materials and consumer approval, through focus groups. Finally, PLASTIPOLIS led the transferability of the results. Once the investigation has been concluded, all the packaging products have obtained the validation "check", according to the parameters established by the EN 13432 standard. Thanks to this confirmation, it has been possible to demonstrate that the products can obtain the seal that indicates that they are "industrially compostable".
CITRUSPACK also proposes a sustainable alternative for the use of waste. In this sense, the increased use of synthetic polymers has generated ecological problems due to their non-biodegradable nature and their non-renewable fossil origin. CITRUSPACK contributes to closing the cycle, offering sustainable alternatives that favor a more responsible behavior within the field of agriculture and consumption, thus contributing beneficially to the whole of society. In short, the CITRUSPACK project proposes the Circular Economy as a transversal solution to the environmental problem. A sustainability that is materialized in packaging products or moisturizing creams that have managed to be developed from citrus fruit waste, and that configure the complete cycle of this Circular Economy by themselves.
At the same time, it improves market opportunities for farmers and producers, thanks to the diversification of waste within a new value chain. During the Final Conference, the partners have made their results public, also having the opportunity to interact with the managers of other projects linked to the LIFE PROGRAMME, such as BIOTHOP, LIFE Brewery or LIFE OLEA REGENERA. Projects with which CITRUSPACK shares the same horizon: working for the survival of the planet, establishing a fair, balanced and sustainable lifestyle model from a more holistic perspective.