Environment: ENEA to transform dairy waste into bio packaging
Eighteen months to transform dairy waste into eco-sustainable resources is the aim that the Biocosì project, on which ENEA is working in collaboration with the Puglia-based EggPlant start-up, intends to achieve by recovering wastewater from the dairy supply chain to be used to produce biodegradable and compostable bioplastics for packaging and food preservation.
The project has two aspects: the process for membrane separation developed by Enea for the fractionation of milk whey, which recovers all the essential components, and the activity of the start-up which transforms derivatives into packaging, by adding innovation to the agri-food supply chain and reducing the impact on the environment.
“This innovation is inspired by the principles of circular economy and aims at ‘zero waste at the end of the process’, said Valerio Miceli of ENEA Biotechnology and Agro-Industry Division, and it addresses needs of ethical and environmental, as well as economic, nature, related to the high cost of dairy wastewater disposal”.
Waste transformation is crucial for the environment (according to Enea packaging accounts for 83% of all plastic waste found in the Italian sea) and interesting from the economic point of view, since the re-use of dairy waste results into a 23% reduction in the unit manufacturing cost of biopolymers.
Developed within the Regione Puglia call INNONETWORK and funded by 1.4 million euro under the 2014-2020 POR-FESR, BIOCOSÌ partners include the University of Bari and the companies CSQA, RL Engineering, Caseificio Colli Pugliesi, Compost Natura and the Network of Public Research Labs MICROTRONIC, coordinated by the CNR Institute of Photonics and Nanotechnology.