The 7th edition of International Seminar on Biopolymers and Sustainable Composites, a two-day meeting on 4 and 5 March in Valencia that brings together bioplastic experts from around the world, was organised by AIMPLAS.
Around 20 speakers addressed the challenges and opportunities of bioplastics and biocomposites in a context characterized by key legislative developments affecting these materials and consumer demand for environmentally friendly products.
According to AIMPLAS, bioplastic production is expected to increase by 15 % by 2024 and is carving out a niche in the construction and automotive sectors.
During the event’s inauguration, the Valencian Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition, Mireia Mollà i Herrera, focused on challenges and opportunities facing bioplastics and biocomposites in the fight against climate change. Mollà highlighted the role of AIMPLAS as a point of reference in plastics innovation and knowledge transfer.
Angelo Innamorati from the European Commission emphasised the usefulness of biodegradable plastics in agriculture. Currently, just a minimal proportion of plastic used is biodegradable, so there is still considerable room for growth in products such as agricultural films, micro-irrigation equipment and plant stakes.
The Technical Director of Asobiocom, Jordi Simón, focused on certification, while Elena Domínguez, a researcher at AIMPLAS and seminar coordinator, sought to highlight the importance of EU directives, since these will help promote new business models involving waste recovery to obtain polymers from renewable sources, thereby bringing biorefineries and economy together.
Fkur, Neste, Kuraray, Ecoplas, Total Corbion, Covestro and Quimóvil also presented their innovations, including bio-based toys, household goods reinforced with natural fibres, 100% recyclable bio PET bottles, food packaging nets made from fruit and vegetable waste, bio-based waterproof fabrics and waterproof inks approved for use in compostable products, and flame-retardant vehicle parts obtained from fishing waste.
The second day was dedicated to biotechnology. The various speakers revealed how enzymes may be the key to biodegradation processes and also addressed the sustainable production of biopolymers through micro-organisms in biorefineries.