The Plastics Technology Centre - Aimplas has successfully developed a new fully biodegradable packaging for bakery products using waste generated by that industry. These are the results of the European BREAD4PLA project, funded by the European Commission’s Life Programme and which got underway in 2011.
As Rosa González, the project’s lead researcher, explained “we were looking for a polymer made out of sliced bread crusts and pastry waste that could be used to store those products and which was biodegradable, to thus complete the cycle”.
The project, coordinated by Aimplas, also included researchers from the CETECE - Cereals Technology Centre (Spain), Leibniz-InstitutfürAgrartechnik Potsdam-Bornime.V. (Germany) and the Biocomposites Centre at Bangor University (UK).
With the help of companies including Panrico and the Siro Group, a lactic acid was obtained by fermenting bakery crusts and waste. The monomer was polymerised to obtain polylactic acid or PLA and then used to prepare plastic packaging. The outcome is a new material, a PLA film, which has been used to make bags and trays to package different products from the bakery sector.