LIFE-PLA4COFFEE project n. ENV/IT/000744 will validate the use on industrial level of new polymer formulations with improved functional properties and based on commercial poly(lactic acid) (PLA) grades primarily for the production of compostable coffee capsules but also for the production of other consumer goods.
At this regard, the project involves three stages:
- Phase 1 – Scale-up of the new PLA material and the coffee production process by the refinement of the selected PLA formulation and a specific development of the pre-industrial compounding plant. Iterative tests and optimization will allow to fine-tune the process.
- Phase 2 – Demonstration of the new material and the adapted process by testing prototypes to demonstrate how the new PLA based material contributes to the production of environmental-friendly items while respecting required specifications. At this regard, life cycle and socioeconomic impact assessment will support the results.
- Phase 3 – Dissemination of project results trough the website, participation in relevant events such as fairs, workshops, international conferences as well as publications on international refereed journals and specific trade magazines.
MAIN AIMS OF THE PROJECT
With the contribution of the LIFE Programme of the European Union, the initiative will be mainly aimed to:
üConvincing coffee capsules producers that the use of new bio-based materials can meet the specifications required by the reference market;
Demonstrating how an industrial innovation can ensure new productions with reduced environmental impact while safeguarding economic growth.
The technical results, expected within the two years of the project, can be summarized as follow:
- A fine-tuned PLA formulation able to meet processing conditions and performance criteria;
- Prototypes of new coffee capsules with 100% fossil feedstock reduction and the same, if not improved, performances;
- A specifically designed pre-industrial compounding plant;
- Moulding and compression technologies adequately adapted to the new material and demonstrating the feasibility of the new solution to the whole plastic industry.
From the environmental point of view, given the ever-growing market of non-recyclable plastics, it is expected that the scale-up on industrial scale of the new eco-friendly material will allow a significant save of raw petrochemical sources, pollutants and plastic wastes.