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LIFE MULTIBIOSOL - Innovative fully biodegradable mulching films & fruit protection bags for sustainable agricultural practices

LIFE14 ENV/ES/000486


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Contact details:

Contact person: Berta GONZALVO
Tel: 34976464544
Fax: 34976476187
Email: berta.gonzalvo@aitiip.com



Project description:

Background

For over half a century growers/farmers have been using plastic materials in agriculture, also known as agro-films. Current existing semi-intensive and intensive farming practices require the use of large quantities of mulching film and fruit protection bags (and clips to close them) since they help prevent the growth of weeds, protect crops from insects, regulate soil and produce temperature and retain water and nutrients. These plastics have replaced paper for the mulching of vegetables because of their affordability and easiness to apply in the field. The best-known type of plastics used for agricultural films are low and high density polyethylene (LDPE and HDPE respectively). Conventional non-degradable polymers after single-use become plastic waste, creating a serious problem of waste management since it is time-consuming and expensive to recycle. This plastic waste is usually abandoned, incinerated or taken to a landfill. These practices have serious consequences for the environment. Therefore, governments and farmers demand cost-efficient, environmentally responsible solutions. The total consumption of plastic films for agricultural purposes in Europe exceeded 500 000 tonnes in 2013.


Objectives

This project will develop and demonstrate an innovative, economically viable and fully biodegradable plastic that eliminates waste completely.

The consortium aims to address three specific objectives: 1. Development of new biodegradable plastics films with very low carbon footprints: conventional agricultural plastic films have an enormous environmental impact in terms of CO₂ emissions during their lifecycle. The project will significantly reduce this impact because its biodegradable polymers and additives will be made from renewable raw materials that are not petroleum-based and do not compete in food markets. Also, biomass for these biodegradable plastics will come from trees and crops that extract CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow; 2. Elimination of waste management: the Multibiosol bioplastics will break down naturally (with OK biodegradable SOIL certification) so removal and transportation of the waste will no longer be needed. Costs of management for farmers/growers and the environmental problems associated with landfills and incineration will be eradicated; and 3. Improvement of soil and product quality: conventional agricultural films have toxic components and contaminate the soil in a number of ways. Multibiosol bioplastics will not only avoid these harmful components, they also will add value through oligo elements (trace minerals as natural fertilisers) and micro-perforation functionalities that contribute to agriculture à la carte and help improve the health of the soil and the quality of the final product.

Expected results:

  • The development of cost-effective and biodegradable ‘third generation’ plastic films for agriculture that allow for sustainable and efficient farming practices;
  • A 100% waste reduction due to the complete biodegradability of plastics (OK biodegrabable SOIL label) after being tilled on soil;
  • Reduction of CO₂ emissions of 50%, since the biodegradable plastics will not use fossil fuels as raw materials and emit fewer carbon emissions during production. This number also takes into account the cuts in transportation and incineration related to waste management, as well as carbon capture from trees and crops which extract CO₂ from the atmosphere as they grow;
  • Competitive market solution for biodegradable plastics: the price of the plastics will be competitive, particularly when taking into account that there will be significant savings for farmers in waste management and that demand for biodegradable plastics are expected to increase as its costs lowers. Furthermore, farmers will be able to tap into a growing demand for sustainable products;
  • A 15% improvement in soil quality since oligo elements will act as natural fertilisers and petro-chemical plastic contamination will be avoided;
  • A 10% improvement in crop quality due to the improved fertility and quality of soil; and
  • Increased awareness and dissemination of sustainable practices on waste management among stakeholders (particularly on relevant EU legislation and objectives).


Results


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Environmental management - Eco-products design
Industry-Production - Agriculture - Forestry
Waste - Packaging and plastic waste
Waste - Waste reduction - Raw material saving


Keywords

biodegradability


Target EU Legislation

  • Waste
  • Directive 2008/98 - Waste and repealing certain Directives (Waste Framework Directive) (19.11.200 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator FUNDACIÓN AITIIP
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description AITIIP Foundation is an innovation and technology centre for the development of projects in design and manufacturing of plastic material and transformation processes. In collaboration with other companies (mainly SMEs), technological centres and universities, AITIIP has access to extensive multidisciplinary knowledge of the science and technology industry.
Partners FACA(FEDERACIÓN ARAGONESA DE COOPERATIVAS AGRARIAS), Spain PCTAD(FUNDACIÓN PARQUE CIENTÍFICO TECNOLÓGICO AULA DEI), Spain ARCHA(Laboratori ARCHA s.r.l), Italy CSIC(LA AGENCIA ESTATAL CONSEJO SUPERIOR DE INVESTIGACIONES CIENTÍFICAS), Spain Transfer(Transfer Latin Business Consultancy S.L.), Spain Groencre(Groencreatie BVBA), Belgium

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Project reference LIFE14 ENV/ES/000486
Duration 01-SEP-2015 to 31-MAY -2019
Total budget 2,036,680.00 €
EU contribution 1,222,002.00 €
Project location Vlaams Gewest(België - Belgique) Aragón(España) Midi-Pyrénées(France) Toscana(Italia)

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Read more:

Project web site Project's website

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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version