Leftover produce becomes bioplastics

A project in partnership with IstitutoItaliano di Tecnologia and Confcommercio Genova 

Human beings produce 290 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. At the same time, in Europe alone we produce about 28 million tonnes of fruit and vegetable scraps.

The solution is to make plastic from fruit and vegetable scraps!

The Smart Materials research team at IstitutoItaliano di Tecnologia (IIT), working in partnership with SocietàGestioneMercato di Genova and Confcommercio Genova, has developed a circular economy project that will allow unsold produce to be converted into 100% biodegradable plastic for creation of sustainable fruit and vegetable packaging.

The first experimental product to be made under the project is a bioplastic package that replaces the conventional “honeycomb” inserted into cases of fruit and vegetables to protect the produce. This type of packaging is made entirely from scrap from unsold artichokes in the market in Genoa.

The result is a circular economy project in which waste from the produce market becomes a product that can be used right where it is made and is easily biodegradable when no longer needed.