23.3.21: UPLIFT kicks off: a project to improve the recycling of plastics for the food and drinks packaging industry

Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant partners in the UPLIFT Consortium

Aalborg (Denmark), March 23rd. A European consortium is working on the implementation of UPLIFT, a Horizon 2020 research and innovation project that kicked off today and which aims to design new de- and repolymerisation routes to upcycle food and drink packaging plastics with better end-of-life characteristics.

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Fifteen partners from eight European countries will work for 48 months to ensure significant technological improvements for better manufacturing and processing practices of plastic materials that currently are not adequately recycled.

The core of UPLIFT has a dual strategy: on one hand, it seeks to develop industrial scalable enzymatic and microbial degradation processes to selectively depolymerize and upcycle plastic packaging waste materials, which are currently considered unrecyclable; on the other hand, the project will manufacture at pilot scale new renewable eco-polymers specifically designed to ensure easier end-of-life processing.

UPLIFT will contribute to putting the European plastic packaging industry at the forefront of innovation and sustainability worldwide, by keeping plastic waste in the loop and integrating bio-based building blocks, instead of using virgin fossil-based monomers. This will result in a reduction of plastic waste generation and greenhouse gas emissions associated with its production. Last but not least, the project will look into social aspects, exploring the potential synergies between policymakers, industry, consumers, and recyclers, which are critical in order to change the plastic economy.

In summary, UPLIFT seeks to boost the development and validation of novel enzymatic and microbial processes for the sustainable use of plastics in food and drinks packaging applications, which will be tested and evaluated from a technical, environmental and socio-economical point of view, thereby contributing to the development of a more circular European plastic packaging industry.

Led by Aalborg University, UPLIFT is formed by Forschungszentrum Julich, Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology, Technical University of Denmark, LundsUniversitet, TECNARO, Bio-M, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Leibniz-InstitutfuerNaturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie – Hans KnoellInstitut, Plastics Technology Centre AIMPLAS, University College Dublin, Bioplastech, Sustainable Innovations, RWTH Aachen and I/S Vestforbrænding

The project has received €7,5 million funding from European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 953073.

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