30 May 2019

Euronews features CIRC-PACK innovations, expertise in new segment on sustainable products

International media channel Euronews has featured the CIRC-PACK project in its latest Futuris segment on European companies producing sustainable products.

With features via both and YouTube (watch 3:58-8:45), viewers can see first-hand what innovations project partner Novamont is developing at its facilities in Novara, Italy, in addition to expert analysis by Andrea Božić of Saponia, Montserrat Lanero of CIRCE and Belén Ramos of OCU.

Euronews takes a close look at the recipe and techniques for producing biodegradable and compostable bioplastics at the Novamont research and development facilities – bioplastics which comprise such a crucial part of the CIRC-PACK project.

“Over time and given the right conditions in terms of industrial composting or ‘biograding’ underground, molecules of these bioplastics break down little by little thanks to the actions of these micro-organisms,” explains CIRC-PACK partner and Novamont researcher Alessandro d’Elicio.

“Over time these molecules will be transformed into something more elemental like organic carbon or simple compost.”

Luigi Capizzi, Head of R&D at Novamont, adds that projects such as CIRC-PACK “do not want to simply replace one product with another”.

“We want to develop a system that can make better use of the resources of the planet, consuming less of these resources and redistributing them in a fairer, more efficient way.”

Europe produces around 25 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. Not even a third is recycled, and the rest is either incinerated or ends up as landfill. Solutions are needed urgently.

For Andrea Božić of Croatian company Saponia, bioplastics are already used in the items they produce – such as the inside of detergent packaging.

“We are starting with certain types of products, (we) use this type of plastic, and simply teach our consumers that this is better – for them and for our environment. So in time, when we notice that they have accepted this type of plastic or this type of product packaging, we will simply broader it to our other products.”

So along with research and innovation, education will play a crucial role in fomenting the uptake of more eco-friendly products, as part of European efforts in the field.

According to Montserrat Lanero of CIRCE, “there are many countries in northern Europe whose plastic waste management system is well implemented and developed”. However, this is not the reality in many other countries, where citizens don’t know the implications of bad management when it comes to plastics ending up as marine litter or entering the food chain.

“One of our main challenges is to understand the needs of each European country to be able to find as many adapted solutions as we can,” she adds.

Initiatives such as CIRC-PACK have turned to the concept of “citizen science” to understand what social and market expectations are when it comes to reinforcing the circular economy in the plastics sector.

For Belén Ramos of Spanish consumer body OCU, empowering the citizen is key:

“Often they (the citizens) don’t realise that their shopping decisions are very important in moving the market towards more sustainable trends. But we also need to empower the market so it can give a wider array of choice to the consumers.”

The Futuris segment, 'How companies across Europe are creating sustainable products using less water and less energy', will continue to air live during June 2019 and will then be available on demand via the Euronews website and YouTube channel.