Industry News

New materials from non-biodegradable plastic waste for the packaging and pharmaceutical industries

by | Oct 11, 2023

AIMPLAS forms part of the BioICEP project. The goal of the project is to develop sustainable alternatives to traditional petroleum-based plastics.

The project used an innovative cascade process by applying and combining chemical and biological methods to turn fossil-based plastic waste into natural, biodegradable substitutes to be used in the packaging and pharma industries.

The role of AIMPLAS involved the pretreatment of plastics using microwave-assisted thermochemical degradation. This new technology provided promising results by turning non-biodegradable plastic waste into easily biodegradable materials and achieving total degradation in less than 28 days. Another technique used was the depolymerization of polyamides to obtain its monomers. Microorganisms are then able to degrade them so they can be turned into bioplastics. Likewise, AIMPLAS used reactive extrusion technologies that made changes to the structure of the polymeric chains to improve its biodegradation.

The solution proposed by BioICEP focused on the use of three technologies that enhance, accelerate and increase the degradation of plastics to levels far beyond what is currently possible: The first consisted of chemical disintegration processes, including a new microwave-based technology to improve biodegradation. The second was biocatalytic digestion with improved enzymes. Finally, microbial consortia were used in combination to produce the highly efficient degradation of mixed plastic.

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