Innovation That Matters

Machinery at Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant | Photo source Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant

A collaboration turns food waste into bioplastic for cosmetics

Food & Drink

The project aims to understand how functional molecules from food waste can be used in a circular and economically profitable way

Spotted: In the US, food waste takes up more space in landfills than anything else. And a significant proportion of this waste happens even before it even reaches households.

Now, a new project is on a mission to tackle the issue. The project—named WASTE2FUNC—kicked off in June 2021 and will end in November 2024. Rather than being discarded, left to rot, or incinerated, food waste will be turned into bioplastics and biosurfactants for cosmetics and personal care products.

WASTE2FUNC explains that the platform will “decrease CO2 emissions by at least 20 per cent, increase value from waste two to ten fold and create jobs for the primary and downstream sector in Belgium and Europe.”

The project brings together 12 partners including research institutes (such as City University of Hong Kong and Ghent University), agricultural associations, SMEs, and large enterprises such as Croda, Evonik, and Ecover.

While WASTE2FUNC provides a logistics platform to collect the food waste, the technology will be provided by Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant. The plant’s process turns batches of food waste into lactic acid and microbial biosurfactants that can be used for the production of bioplastics.

Next steps for the project include developing a registration website/app, and reaching out to farmers to find out how the project can create value for them.

Other food waste innovations spotted by Springwise include a platform that helps connect food producers who have surplus or imperfect produce with manufacturers who can use it, and an AI solution that reduces ‘grab-and-go’ food waste.

Written By: Katrina Lane

Email: Sofie.Lodens@bbeu.org

Website: bbi.europa.eu/projects/waste2func

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