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Advances in Bioplastic

Bioplastic © photocase.com/Jürgen W

© photocase.com/Jürgen W

June 16, 2008

Austria leads European Research Project

1.6 million euros have been allocated for the European research project “Bioplastics PLA”, which was launched in January 2008 and comprises 70 companies and 11 research institutes from 6 countries (Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Poland and Slovenia). 20 Austrian companies, such as Greiner Packaging, Unterland Flexible Packaging and Lenzing Plastics, are among the participants. A complete list of the Austrian companies can be found here

The goal is to develop basic principles for the handling of bioplastics (raw material qualification, processing, recycling and energy recovery) and familiarize processors throughout Europe with PLA (polyactic acid). The initiative is headed by the Lower Austrian business agency ecoplus and will run for two years. 

A main focus of the project will be biodegradability, the largest advantage of bioplastics. Biodegradable packaging in particular has great appeal for retailers as expired grocery items could be composted easily without unwrapping the product. However, current Austrian law prohibits the composting of bioplastics as they are regarded plastics by law. This is one of the facts that the project participants are trying to change: “We want to establish a platform for discussions with composters and recyclers”, says Alexander Komenda, Project Leader at ecoplus.

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