Biodegradable and compostable packaging: innovation is here

Smart technologies for the 100% reduction of pollutants tested in Apulia dairy industry.

The BIOCOSI’ project provides a revolutionary and concrete solution to the problem of wastewater in the dairy supply chain, reversing the waste paradigm and reusing the latter as a resource for production, first of bioplastic (PHA – polyhydroxyalkanoates) and subsequently the creation of a rigid packaging (ricotta tray, milk bottle) 100% biodegradable and compostable. From the vision of wastewater no longer as waste but as a resource to the use of a consolidated and green technology, devised on the principles of circular economy, this project allows a complete reduction of pollutants of the dairy industry and their full exploitation (zero waste to end of the process), market-oriented and modernization of the agri-food supply chain.

This technology, made in Puglia, uses two fundamental processes: the recovery and fermentation of the organic component (mainly lactose) from dairy waste to the production of bioplastics and the processing of the latter for the production of rigid packaging. The ENEA interest is to consolidate on a pre-industrial scale, an economically competitive process for the production of bioplastics alternative to the use of expensive raw materials (sugar, corn, etc.), which, in addition to ethical problems (biomasses) destined to human consumption) and environmental (high carbon footprint), solves the difficulties linked to the high costs of disposal of dairy waste.

This innovation, inspired by the objective “zero waste at the end of the process”, puts sustainability at the core, encouraging “greening” and systemic interventions aimed at promoting eco-innovative models on the market, with benefits also in terms of reducing environmental impact of the plastics and pollutants of the dairy industry.

Accordingly, BIOCOSI project applies experimentally the “Product Environmental Footprint” methodology developed by the European Commission, integrating it with territorial and socio-economic indicators of a product throughout its cycle of life and the entire production process, starting from raw materials, through processing, transport and use, up to disposal and recycling.

This approach marks a straight forwards connection with the PEFMED project and a further case study to enhance the sustainability of Mediterranean productions as market leverage: in addition to obeying the increasingly stringent environmental sustainability requirements, it would introduce the novelty of a new environmental protection brand, certifying an original and innovative non-dangerous “green” packaging system that is completely biodegradable and compostable in the general interest towards the health and the environment tending to increase consumer confidence in the environmental statements that accompany them.

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