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Bioplastics from Waste

Bioplastics from Waste Streams The bakery industry is one of the world’s major food industries and varies widely in terms of production scale and process. The western European bread industry produces 25 million tonnes of bread per annum, of which the industrial or plant sector’s share is 8 million tonnes. Germany and the UK are the main operations with 60 % of plant sector production. France, The Netherlands and Spain produce another 20% among them. Nowadays bakery solid waste is commonly eliminated using landfills or incineration processes. Landfill causes the waste to decompose, which eventually leads to production of methane (a greenhouse gas) and groundwater pollution (organic compounds). Furthermore, incineration of bakery waste can also release nitrogen oxide gases. Bread 4 PLA Biodegradable food packaging from bakery industry waste By Rosa González Department of Extrusion Miguel Angel Sibila Department of Chemical Laboratory Both Technological Institute of Plastics (AIMPLAS) Paterna (Valencia), Spain Alternative treatment options such as using the waste for production of valuable products have been proposed for bakery waste even though these treatments represent very low-added value options so far. Recycling constitutes an environmentally friendly way for this waste, although economically it represents a very low added value. On the other hand, carbohydrates such as starch, which is the main constituent of the bread dry weight, are preferably used as substrate/nutrients for several biotechnological processes (fermentation). However this application consumes a very low percentage of this type of waste. Providing solutions: BREAD4PLA project The industrial feasibility of an innovative, user friendly and sustainable environmentally sound solution for bakery waste is being analysed by different specialized centres through the European project entitled BREAD4PLA 1 , specifically the Technological Institute of Plastics (AIMPLAS) in Spain, the Technological Institute of Cereals (CETECE) in Spain, the Agricultural Institute (ATB) in Germany and the Biocomposites Centre (BC) in the UK. The project, which is coordinated by AIMPLAS, is funded by the European Commission’s programme LIFE+ and supported by different stakeholders such as Panrico and Grupo Siro, which are providing different types of bakery wastes for the project. The project promotes the waste recovery on the specific agro-food sector of the bakery industry and aims to develop high added-value products from bakery waste. In particular, the BREAD4PLA project aims to demonstrate, on a pilot plant scale, the technical viability of the production of poly(lactic) acid (PLA) by the polymerization of lactic acid (LA) obtained by fermentation processes of bakery waste. The new PLA produced, will be used in the packaging of bakery products, closing the life cycle of the product. 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/12] Vol. 7

Bioplastics from Waste Streams The project Consortium unites four specialized partners in the different sectors involved in the development of the new packages from waste of the bakery industry, covering the whole chain: • CETECE: recovery and treatment of organic waste from the bakery industry / packaging validation for bakery products. • ATB: production of lactic acid by enzymatic processes • BC: production of PLA by polymerization • AIMPLAS: PLA modification by compounding and processing to obtain films The BREAD4PLA project is a three-year project started in October 2011. At this stage, different bakery wastes, such as bread crusts, expired bread and pastry products, have already been selected and the fermentation processes on a large scale are being optimised for the production of lactic acid. Applications of bakery waste on bioresources PLA is a biodegradable and compostable polymer well known as suitable for different kinds of food packaging such as for milk, cheese, and bakery. Approximately half of the total lactic acid consumed in the world is produced by fermentation of carbohydrates by lactic acid bacteria. In order to supply the increasing demand for lactic acid, more economical materials such as starch hydrolysates, whey and molasses have been evaluated. Bakery waste represents an important source of energy to produce high added-value products such as chemical precursors for the synthesis of biopolymer materials. Generally, bakery waste contains a relatively high content of available starch and sugar, which can be used for production of lactic acid by fermentation of these materials with the aid of microorganisms. Getting PLA from bakery solid waste constitutes an innovative and eco-friendly treatment option and allows closing the life cycle by the production of plastic packages based on renewable materials. Objectives and innovations of BREAD4PLA The project analyses and demonstrates the potential of natural non-food sources for bioplastics production. The main objective of BREAD4PLA is to demonstrate, in a preproduction continuous pilot process, the viability of PLA synthesis from waste products of the bakery industry and its use in the fabrication of a 100% biodegradable film to be used in the packaging of bakery products. Other specific objectives are: • To increase the value of bakery waste by its recovery for lactic acid production. • To show the technical viability of the pre-industrial process of lactic acid from bakery waste. • To scale-up the polymerization process of PLA using lactic acid obtained from bakery waste fermentation. • To obtain a 100% biodegradable thermoplastic film of PLA from the bakery waste 95% from renewable resources. • To replace the current human food raw material to produce PLA from a residual one, avoiding the problems related to fluctuations in food prices. Acknowledgements BREAD4PLA project has received funding from the European Community‘s Programme LIFE+ (sub-programme Environmental Policy and Governance, Policy area: Waste & Natural resources) under grant agreement LIFE+ 10E NV/ ES 479. 1 Demonstration plant project to produce poly-lactic acid (PLA) biopolymer from waste products of the bakery industry (BREAD4PLA). Analysis of the organic waste of the bakery industry Package characterization and validation Bakery industry Pilot plant production of lactic acid using enzymatic process PLA properties modifications by compounding & film processing Production of PLA bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/12] Vol. 7 19

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