Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy

Bioeconomy Science Center
Research and cooperation for a sustainable bioeconomy
White paper

PlastiCycle - Closing cycles in the Plastics Bioeconomy

Abstract

Almost 350 million tonnes (Mt) of plastics are annually produced world-wide, owing to their relatively low price, high strength, and light weight. However, only a small fraction of these plastics are recycled, and plastic waste is creating a global pollution crisis. Given this looming environmental catastrophe, new cost-effective process solutions are needed that use collected plastic waste more efficiently, and that incentivize increased rates of plastics reclamation by adding value to this waste stream. The bio-upcycling of plastic waste poses a major opportunity to add value to plastic waste by establishing it as a carbon source for biotechnology. This upcycling concept adds completely new dimensions to the recycling industry, offering better end-of-life solutions for many unrecyclable plastics and plastic mixtures. However, it ultimately still relies on plastics that are produced from fossil resources. This can be avoided through simultaneous developments in the bio-based production of plastics and plastic monomers. Together, these two poles of activity have the potential to close multi-million-tonne carbon cycles and to transition plastics into a bio-based economy. PlastiCycle aims to provide an overview of the multidisciplinary research activities needed to achieve this ambitious goal, thereby positioning the BioSC at the forefront of this highly relevant topic.

Participating scientists:

Prof. Dr. Nick Wierckx & Maike Otto, IBG-1: Biotechnology, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Prof. Dr. Lars M. Blank, Institute of Applied Microbiology iAMB, RWTH Aachen University

 

Funding period

01.09.2019 - 29.02.2020

 

Funding

The total budget of PlastiCycle is  49,986 €. PlastiCycle is is part of the NRW-Strategieprojekt BioSC and thus funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia.