Biodegradable and bio-based plastics can play a role in reducing the accumulation of microplastics in the environment, but, according to the SAPEA Group of Chief Scientific Advisors “biodegradable plastics are not a ‘silver bullet’ to solve the problem of plastic pollution”, since they also present certain challenges.
Last week, our feature story included several companies working towards eliminating ghost catch with bio-based fishing gear. Now, we have the chance of including a project that’s coming into the picture.
The European Commission funded several projects and initiatives to investigate under which conditions biodegradable and bio-based plastics can contribute to reduce pollution in our ecosystems. Glaukos is one of those BBI JU (Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking) funded projects that will develop biobased textile fibres and textile coatings that are adapted to the needs of the 21st century.
Glaukos is developing eco-designed fishing gear and clothing, and will scale up its production process, all the way from renewable feedstock to textile prototype and ending with two end-of-life (EOL) solutions: biodegradation and bio-recycling. The complete life cycle of clothing and fishing gear will be redesigned, their sustainability performance will be enhanced significantly, and their technical performance will be matched to end-user requirements.
Not only is Glaukos deep into its research ambitions; it also established Stakeholder Labs, two parallel working group of experts, whose aim is to collect stakeholder’s requirements and recommendations to drive the research and innovation activities of the project, identify concerns, barriers and obstacles, validate the project’s prototypes with the target beneficiaries, ensure the impact and adoption of the project’s outcomes and finally provide recommendations to stakeholders.
The Stakeholder Labs workshops are the activities in which the two working groups are actively engaged and Glaukos recently organised a series of thematic workshops, round tables, discussion, mobilisation and mutual learning events to address common challenges with few selected experts.
All the main takeaways of the Stakeholder Labs workshops were resumed in a multidimensional model, designed by Glaukos partners’ FVA – New Media Research, to map all the challenges to be addressed to unlock the potential of bio-based and biodegradable plastics along the different steps of the value chain and from the ecosystem creation and technical perspectives.