USABLE PACKAGING project reaches new milestone with first practical application of bio-based compostable product.

Spanish family enjoys meals using re-usable plates made from new PHA compound material.

A family in Spain has been the first to use a new bio-based, re-usable and compostable plate manufactured as an outcome of the USABLE PACKAGING project – an EU-funded project launched last June as part of the Horizon2020 innovation programme.

Governed by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (under grant agreement #836884), the three-year project aims to develop high-performance bio-based, compostable packaging products for use in the food, clothing, and pharmaceutical industries. The core objective of the project is to dramatically reduce the use of environmentally harmful, fossil-fuel-based packaging by manufacturing bio-products as feedstock. These bio-based plastics will then be composted back to soil, thus creating a circular and sustainable chain of production.

The re-usable plate is the first of the USABLE PACKAGING products to be successfully launched for practical. It was developed in Spain by CSIC and Ocenic Resins SL, and injection-molded by Gaiker. It is made of a PHA compound – YPACK29* – that is compostable and also known to biodegradable in the environment. The PHA grade used in this instance is commercial, but the project partners believe that a PHA made from waste can also be used and they will undertake trials in due course.

In the meantime, the Lagarón family has been full of praise for the plates that they’ve been using with every meal for the last week. “After multiple uses and washes in the dishwasher, the plates look like new”, says family head Chema Lagarón – who is also USABLE PACKAGING Project Co-ordinator. “We wanted to be the first to try them out and we will keep using them. The family loves them. They have sufficient strength to be launched as a practical application and I’m very proud of this result”.

Compostable straws and cutlery have also been manufactured from the research by USABLE PACKAGING partners.

*YPACK is a registered brand name of Ocenic Resins SL for food packaging applications which is now commercially available.

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