The European Union is striving to build a sustainable, low-carbon and resource efficient economy that is also competitive. This means developing a circular model for the economy, one that squeezes out the value of every product right across its lifecycle and beyond.
Agro2Circular took up the challenge of creating such a model for the agrifood sector. Led by Centro Tecnológico Calzado Plástico (CETEC), this 3-year project started in October 2021 and gathers 41 partners. Together they will tackle three major issues of the agrifood sector sustainability: fruits and vegetables wastes, multilayer plastic films and lack of digitalisation.
As part of the global challenge for a sustainable economy for us and the future generations, Agro2Circular’s ambition is to put in place the first territorial systemic solution for the upcycling of most relevant residues in the agrifood sector. This will turn them into high added value products, powered by a digital tool and built upon a systemic approach with high replicability and scalability potential.
Along the food supply chain, fruit and vegetables contribute to more than 40% of the total food waste. Even though these residues are an excellent source of natural bioactives, currently there are no recycling technologies exploiting them. Agro2Circular green routes will extract bioactives from food and vegetable residues and use them to produce nutraceuticals, functional food and cosmetics.
Agro2Circular’s technological solutions aim to reduce the consumption of raw materials such as fossil, biomass and metal ores by more than 13,000 ktonnes. While doing that, Agro2Circular’s strategy will valorise local resources and improve the sustainability of the agrifood sector, preserving natural ecosystems.
Multilayer plastic films are used in agriculture to protect crops and also in industrial food packaging. They have unique barrier properties and preserve food hygiene and quality, but there are no current technologies to sort and recycle multilayer plastic films in a way that is sustainable for both the environment and the economy. Agro2Circular will develop the first recycling value chain for this kind of product based on a synergistic approach combining innovative sorting, physical delamination, enzymatic depolymerisation, decontamination and mechanical recycling.
The lack of digitalisation is an issue in the agrifood sector. Agro2Circular will fill this gap implementing a Data Integration System (DIS), a digital tool to ensure traceability and to serve as Predictive Decision Tool.
Agro2Circular aims to find solutions that are feasible, replicable and scalable. The project aims to generate 15 key exploitable results and more than 30 new circular business models. The job market will benefit from Agro2Circular results in the short, medium and long term.
The pilot site for this agrifood sector revolution is the Region de Murcia in Spain, where Agro2Circular will generate new business ideas and establish local alliances. The final models will be designed to be replicable throughout Europe for the territorial deployment of the circular economy.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036838. The project started in October 2021 and lasts 36 months.
Share the news: