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Bangor science project wins EU award

Enrique Moliner receiving the award on behalf of the BREAD4PLA team: Photo: AIMPLASEnrique Moliner receiving the award on behalf of the BREAD4PLA team: Photo: AIMPLASBREAD4PLA, a green science and technology project in which Bangor University’s research played a significant role, has been awarded one of the two ''Green Awards'' as one of the best LIFE Environment Projects of the last 25 years.

Researchers from AIMPLAS, Technological Institute of Plastics, Spain; the Biocomposites Centre and School of Chemistry from Bangor University; ATB, the Agricultural Engineering Institute, Germany and CETECE, the Cereals Technology Centre, Spain successfully developed a new biodegradable packaging for bakery products from the wastes generated by the same industry they come from.

Dr Viacheslav Tverezovskiy, Biocomposites Centre, explains: “Wastes from bread crusts, sliced bread and sponge cakes underwent fermentation and enzymatic treatment to obtain lactic acid. Lactic acid was polymerised to a biodegradable polymer, PLA. The latter was processed by the current extrusion technique to produce a packaging film with excellent barrier properties, suitable for different products of the bakery sector, even for packing pasta and sweets.

BREAD4PLA project research teamBREAD4PLA project research team"The new packaging materials are fully biodegradable and compostable. The project’s success really helps to demonstrate the benefits of a circle economy and there is much more food waste we could work with. The Biocomposites Centre is continuing its research into bio-derived PLA and other bioplastic materials towards a sustainable future.”

''Green Awards'' winners were selected by means of a public vote on Facebook and winners were revealed at the Green Awards Ceremony during EU Green Week in Brussels in May. The ceremony was attended by representatives from local authorities, government agencies, educational institutions, students, private companies and NGOs from all over Europe. The event highlighted the impressive achievements of LIFE during the past quarter century and its contribution to sustainability, reducing the human impact on the environment, protecting Europe’s natural heritage and tackling the challenge of climate change.

Polymerisation reactor at Biocomposites CentrePolymerisation reactor at Biocomposites CentreThe European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, described the impact of the LIFE funding programme: "A quarter century is a long time, and over that time [LIFE] has achieved a great deal. It has funded more than 4,000 projects to the tune of over €3 billion." He also stated that the awards symbolise the Commission's "appreciation for the efforts of thousands, the hard work and dedication of everyone who has contributed to the programme as a whole".

Publication date: 19 June 2017