More than 50 companies have linked up in a three-year pilot project to scale up the use of natural fibre-based materials to replace plastics in a number of products, including textiles and construction materials.
The ‘Piloting Alternatives for Plastics’ project started on 1 April and brings together a wide range of Finnish and international companies to take materials developed in laboratories towards more industrial production. The project, which has a budget of €6.7m and ends on 31 March 2023, is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Finnish research organisation VTT and other companies.
The selected piloting targets include fibre-based materials to replace the plastics used in, for example, food packaging, filters, textiles as well as wiping, hygiene and construction materials.
One of the biggest challenges for plastic products is their recyclability. For example, only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled, so the majority of plastic ends up being incinerated or in landfills and, unfortunately, also improperly disposed of in forests and oceans (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017).
“In this project, we are creating a new understanding of bio-based fibre networks and how, by tailoring them, we can produce new types of recyclable materials that do not burden the environment,” said VTT’s (@VTTFinland) vice-president Jani Lehto.
Participants in the project include 52 companies from Finland and elsewhere in Europe. A total of 28 companies from Finland are involved, of which 18 are small and medium-sized companies.
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