Successful workshop 'Biodegradable Plastics: When and Where?'

BioBase4SME’s REWIN organized a workshop on biodegradable plastics in cooperation with Avans University of Applied Sciences, Wageningen University (WUR), NRK and Holland Chemistry.

The goal of the workshop was to create a bridge between different stakeholders in the value chain of plastics, which do not interact in general on a regular basis; especially when it comes to the factor of biodegradability.

The audience of the workshop was with 55 participants well visited. 27 SMEs attended mostly from the Netherlands, but also from Belgium and Germany.

The participants background was very divers, with different actors of the plastic value chain, such as composters, producers of bioplastics, brand owners, government, and students. Interestingly, this resulted in a lot of discussion in which great insights were created on each other’s opinions. For example, composters explained that biodegradable plastic is impossible to distinguish from non-degradable plastic. Therefore, all plastics are removed before the composting of the waste starts. This is the reason that biodegradable plastic, from their point of view, does not bring any advantage to the waste management.  

Karin Molenveld (WUR) gave a presentation about the difficulty of measuring biodegradability. She explained how a plastic turning into CO2 and water, is not the complete story. A solid piece of plastic also needs to disintegrate at the same time. And all of this is going to happen under certain conditions only. For example: meat is biodegradable, but meat kept in the freezer will not degrade.

Gertjan Visse showed us around at the Biopolymer Application Center. SMEs can use BioBase4SME coupons at this center when in need of expertise on compounding or injection molding with biopolymers.

22 attendants filled in the evaluation form and gave the speakers an excellence quality of 4.1/5. All participants were positive about the event as it benefitted them by inspiration, technical insights and exchange of information. The participants also mentioned that the regional opportunities for collaboration were most definitely there.

Suggestions for future events were the topics: Biofertilizers, bio plastic law and regulations or to organize an event more on the applications of bio degradable plastics (examples).

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