Project Develops Sustainable FRs, Biopolymers Using Marine & Municipal Waste

AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, is the coordinator of the European DAFIA Project, whose aim has been to recover municipal solid waste and marine rest raw materials from the fishing industry in order to obtain new, high value-added products and additives.

The results have included flame retardants that provide an alternative to halogenated models, sustainable barrier packaging and edible coatings that extend the shelf life of food, and chemical substances that can be used to produce new plastics from renewable resources.

Alternative to Halogenated FRs

The fifteen partners in the project consortium have worked for the last four years on waste that appears to have no added value, including municipal solid waste (household rubbish) and the by-products of the fishing industry. Fishing industry waste was used to extract and formulate flame-retardant additives at pilot plant scale. These additives can be used in the automotive industry to increase the flame retardancy of polyamides with components that provide an alternative to halogenated flame retardants.

In this case, there are two advantages: these additives have the same properties as conventional ones, and they also respect the environment and human health because they come from renewable resources. Fishing industry waste was also used to obtain alternatives to ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH, of fossil origin) that have oxygen barrier properties.

This fish-gelatin-based formula can be incorporated into food packaging film or used to actually coat food in the form of an edible coating that extends its shelf life. This case is a perfect example of circularity in that fish waste is reincorporated into the production chain to package food, thus preventing the generation of waste by using it as a new resource.

Bio-based Polyamides from Municipal Solid Waste

In the case of municipal solid waste, the use of innovative fermentation processes has made it possible to extract building blocks from sugars (carbon source) that can be used to synthesize biopolymers such as bio-based polyamides. These materials come from renewable sources and also have applications in the automotive industry.

This project was funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.