Why we believe in PLA
Products made using bio-based plastics which are subsequently recycled can have a carbon footprint up to 90 % lower when compared with today’s fossil based equivalents. Polylactic acid (PLA) is the prime bio-based polymer that is readily available and recyclable, and when the physical and mechanical properties of PLA is fully utilized it provides a world first with a real entry of biobased plastics into demanding applications.
Currently, the recycling of advanced grades of PLA is limited by the formation of a racemic mixture of PLA monomers during depolymerization. Without a breakthrough solution, downgrading of such high-performance PLA products is only possible into low quality grades that can be used in packaging to replace single used plastics and not in the same high-end applications. This shortfall of a real closed loop is the trigger to find the missing link to close the loop. Therefore, Project Replacer is targeted at identifying a technologically, economically, and ecologically feasible recycling route for these advanced PLA grades in a truly closed loop.
The project will result in a blueprint for a process to recycle all grades of PLA plastics in a fully circular manner, based on experimental proof. The outcome serves as base for further design and development of this process with the partners of this consortium, with the objective to bring this technology into practice as an extension of the existing industrial facilities for PLA production and recycling.