RECOVER is an H2020 project – in which 7 countries are participating – in which microorganisms, new enzymes, worms and insects are applied in a combined way, which will collaborate, not only in the elimination of plastics, but also in their transformation into new products for agricultural and food packaging use.
With the aim of providing a new solution for agricultural plastic and packaging waste, through the use of biotechnological tools, the RECOVER project has just been launched, with the participation of a consortium made up of 17 members from 7 different countries, and coordinated by the University of Almeria. The first meeting of the project was held by videoconference on 17 and 18 June, organized by the University of Almeria.
RECOVER project ‘Development of innovative biotic symbiosis for biodegradation and synthesis of plastics to solve the challenges of their end use in the agricultural and food industries’ will end on 31 May 2024 and has the participation of 5 Universities, 1 NGO, 1 Association, 7 SMEs and 3 industries from Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Ireland and United Kingdom. The budget is 5,800,000 euros, of which 609,500 euros are for UAL.
RECOVER aims to solve the problems generated by plastic waste from packaging and agriculture through the use of biotechnological tools with a novel approach. With this research, microorganisms, new enzymes, worms and insects are applied in a combined way, which will collaborate, not only in the elimination of plastics, but also in their transformation into new products for agricultural and food packaging use. RECOVER develops processes for the elimination of plastics from soils and compost, and the transformation of conventional plastics into bio-fertilizers and biodegradable plastics with applications in agriculture and food packaging. In this way, it contributes to closing the cycle in both production sectors while solving an environmental problem.
Each year, 350 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide, of which up to 40 percent is used in the packaging sector and 3.5 percent in agricultural practices. Currently, only 30 percent of plastic waste is recycled, while the rest is landfilled or released uncontrolled into the environment, accumulating and causing serious damage.
UAL will coordinate the project, in order to ensure technical and economic compliance with the grant agreement. From the scientific-technical point of view, UAL will participate in the analysis and selection of biotechnological tools for the biodegradation of plastic waste, specifically in the selection of microorganisms (Group BIO-175) and insects (Group AGR-107), by means of studies carried out on a laboratory scale. In addition, UAL will participate in the analysis and design of formulations containing micro-organisms and plastic-degrading insects, and will provide the data for scaling up the products to the experimental phase. Finally, University of Almeria will contribute to provide data for the analysis of environmental and socioeconomic sustainability, dissemination activities and exploitation of its results.