RECOVER: The future of Agri-food Waste Plastics treatment

RECOVER, funded by BBI-JU, is built upon the needs to solve the contamination of agro-fields with non-biodegradable agro-plastics, improving the municipal waste handling by decreasing the packaging fraction going to unsustainable waste management routes.

During the first period of project’s activity, RECOVER is finalizing the process of Agri-food waste-plastics (AWP) mapping, characterization, collection strategy and pre-treatment.

A complete collection of samples (>30) was analysed in order to identify the main variables that are expected to affect the biodegradation capacities. Subsequently, 4 types of most representative fossil plastics have been selected with the purpose to normalize samples for all the Work Packages.

At RECOVER, project partners are also evaluating the current practices in terms of end-of-life handling of the selected AWP, both for agricultural plastics and food packaging.

Finally, several abiotic AWP pre-treatments are currently tested (fragmentation, micronization, thermal treatments, UV irradiation, oxidizing agents, pH, irradiation by eBeam to initiate chain scission) to enhance its biodegradation.

RECOVER considers the cooperation and networking among similar projects as powerful strengths, crucial to share knowledge, expertise and maximising results. That is why it has been established an active cooperation with two BBI-JU sister projects, BIZENTE and ENZYCLE, with the main purposes to improve technical developments and to maximize the impacts of communication and dissemination actions.

What do the projects have in common? Use and production of enzymes as well as the development of new techniques for the improvement of waste management.

This cooperation will allow RECOVER to achieve the expected impacts linked to BBI-JU KPIs, boosting the creation of new cross-sector interconnections, bonding the biotechnology providers, with users and converts of conventional fossil-based plastics.