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Ainia leads an international project to produce biodegradable packaging

News added: 06/06/2012

The European Union is funding research to reuse wastewater sugars.

Ainia, the technological center of the food industry, is leading a major international project that seeks solutions for managing its wastewater and generation of biodegradable packaging for their products. Also involved in the investigation of plastic technology center, AIMPLAS, the company Citresa (Citrus and refreshing), the European Association of Fruit Juices and nine other international partners.
The bet is clear: to provide sustainable solutions to environmental problems of the juice industry, based on the principle of find value to wastes, transforming them into new materials for use, with new features.
The project PHBOTTLE, funded by the 7 th Framework Programme, aims to achieve in 42 months a new packaging for juice, biodegradable and antioxidant properties (to lengthen the life of foods containing), a container made ​​from sugars and other residues rich in carbon, nitrogen and oxygen present in the waste water from juices industries themselves.

The research involves the application of the latest advances in microencapsulation, biotechnology and packaging technologies. In its development is working, coordinated by ainia technology center, an international consortium of 8 companies and 4 research institutes from Belgium, Holland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and Honduras.

The project is a reality: The juice industries consume a large amount of water, both in cleaning up their facilities, such as washing fruits and so on.

A wastewater they have to manage and which contain large amounts of organic waste in the form of sugars, which in turn are a large raw material and of great value to the production of bioplastics (plastics generated from organic waste and therefore degradable).

The fruit juice industry in Europe play an important role in the management of waste water, because this type of industry reaches generate up to 129.275 million liters of waste water per year.

PHBOTTLE, which is in its initial phase is identifying microorganisms capable of converting organic waste sewage in a polymeric material (plastic) biodegradable, PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate).

After obtaining this material, its properties will be improved, in a second project phase, with the incorporation of cellulose fibers and ingredients encapsulated with antioxidant properties, so this material, when containing a food will be able to extend its useful life and therefore their days of marketing and consumption.

In a third phase, this material strengthened and improved in their properties, will be molded and will be used to make bottles of juice. Finally, these bottles will be validated and tested, packaging in them fruit juice from the same industry that generates wastewater. This closes the cycle of the waste generator becomes the beneficiary of the new packageadapted to the need for their product.
Another environmental objectives of the project is based on an analysis in all phases of project life cycle of the new packaging. Involves determining the environmental impact of the material generated during the entire lifetime from raw materials with which it occurs, until the moment when the final container is disposed, in order to achieve a 100% biodegradable packaging, with minimal environmental impact.
The new material also apply to non-food packaging, mainly in packaging and plastic drugstore and automotive cleaning.

Source: El Pais