A new milestone has been reached in the EU-funded Usable Packaging project as a family in Spain become the first to use a new bio-based, reusable and compostable plate manufactured from a new bio-based PHA compound material.

The BBIA-supported Usable Packaging project, governed by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking, aims to develop high-performance bio-based, compostable packaging products for use in the food, clothing, and pharmaceutical industries.

The core objective of the project is to dramatically reduce the use of environmentally harmful, fossil-fuel-based packaging by manufacturing bioalternatives with adequate physical and chemical properties, using food industry byproducts as feedstock. These bio-based plastics will then be composted back to soil, thus creating a circular and sustainable chain of production.

The reusable plate is the first of the Usable Packaging products to be successfully launched for practical application by customers. It was developed in Spain by CSIC and Ocenic Resins SL, and injection-moulded by Gaiker. It is made of a PHA compound – YPACK29* – that is compostable and also known to biodegradable in the environment. The PHA grade used in this instance is commercial, but the project partners believe that a PHA made from waste can also be used and they will undertake trials in due course.

In the meantime, the Lagarón family has been full of praise for the plates that they’ve been using with every meal for the last week. “After multiple uses and washes in the dishwasher, the plates look like new”, says family head Chema Lagarón – who is also Usable Packaging Project Co-ordinator. “We wanted to be the first to try them out and we will keep using them. The family loves them. They have sufficient strength to be launched as a practical application and I’m very proud of this result”.

You can find out more about the Usable Packaging project on the project website.