With more than 52,000 companies spread across the continent, and almost 1.5 million workers, the plastics sector is one of the most important in Europe. However, due to most of plastic is made from fossil fuels, it is one of the main contributors to greenhouse emissions and resource depletion. On a global trend, plastic production from fossil-based resources and plastic waste incineration generates about 400 million tonnes of CO2 every year. Furthermore, a significant part of this plastic ends up in the environment, causing many problems for plants, animals, and humans.
To replace fossil-based plastics with bio-based/biodegradable alternatives can reduce both: their carbon footprint and their environmental impact. For this reason, global bioplastics production capacity is set to increase significantly from around 2.41 million tonnes in 2021 to approximately 7.59 million tonnes in 2026. This growing global demand for bio-based and biodegradable polymers has encouraged investments in the sector. One of the specific objectives of the CBE-JU’s program is to replace at least 30% of fossil-based raw materials with bio-based and biodegradable ones by 2030. This will be achieved by promoting circular and bio-based industries.
In this context, the “Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking” (CBE JU) has granted innovative projects to unleash the potential of the circular bioeconomy in Europe. Among them, MANDALA project presents a sustainable solution for multilayer packaging and INGREEN project promotes bio-based products by developing new materials from by-products.