RES URBIS kicks off – a new European project to convert organic municipal waste into bioplastics

Biomethanisation and composting are currently implemented to recover the organic fraction of municipal waste in order to obtain energy and compost respectively. Both of these products are of low added value. The RES URBIS (Resources from Urban Bio-waste) project is a response to this scenario and is being carried out by a consortium funded by the European Horizon 2020 Programme. The aim is to create an innovative technology sector for the integrated treatment of diverse organic municipal waste (such as municipal solid waste and WWTP sludge). The ultimate objective is to obtain bioplastics from this waste.

Coordinated by the University of La Sapienza (Rome), the consortium is made up of 21 organisations from 8 European countries. Amongst these are the University of Barcelona, the only participating research centre in Spain, companies, associations and public authorities, including the Área Metropolitana de Barcelona.

 

The development of innovative technologies, such as the technology proposed by RES URBIS, enables the enormous stream of organic waste generated in cities to be converted into useful, high-added-value products, resulting in a positive impact on the environment, the economy and employment.

Boost to the circular economy

The project will be funded to the tune of €3 million over a period of 3 years and it forms part of a programme specifically designed to promote the circular economy. Through research and development, the programme has twin objectives. It seeks to reduce the quantity of waste landfilled, whilst, at the same time, obtaining new eco-friendly bioproducts, using waste as a renewable alternative to petroleum resources.

The ultimate aim of the RES URBIS project is to develop these technologies for the integrated treatment of municipal waste (WWTP and organic waste), as a complementary alternative to traditional wastewater and waste treatment systems.

Bioplastic – a material of high added value

The bioplastics obtained in the project constitute products of high added value for application in different areas. In the field of packaging, biodegradable products are obtained: plastic film for packaging, biodegradable plastic bags and durable consumer goods, such as housing for computers, tablets and telephones. Another potential application is in the area of environmental remediation, through the production of materials for controlled carbon release to recover polluted groundwater sources.