Bioplastic from fruit and vegetable waste: new IIT prototype presented
Eco-sustainable 100% biodegradable plastic packaging from unsold produce from fruit and vegetable markets. It was obtained by the Smart Materials research team at the Italian Institute of Technology-IIT, led by Athanassia Athanassiou, in collaboration with Società Gestione Mercato of Genoa (Genoa’s wholesale market management company) and Ascom Confcommercio.
The newly-patented technology was made entirely from unsold artichokes from Genoa’s fruit and vegetable market and consists of a bioplastic packaging product that replaces the traditional partitioned inner packaging used in fruit and vegetable crates, which helps to maintain product quality.
The Italian researchers developed different production processes that allow a total conversion of vegetable waste into bioplastics, and which range from the conversion of vegetables into bioplastic through an aqueous process to the preparation of thermoplastic and thermoformable composites.
The project is part of the activities carried out by the IIT Smart Materials research team, which has developed over time 100% green solutions for the conversion of waste from food production into a new compostable and environmentally friendly plastic material.