Projects granted by the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) contribute to the SDGs set by the United Nations, mainly by supporting innovative bio-based projects. BBI’s engagement in achieving the SDGs is currently through the innovation of sustainable bio-based products and processes for SDGs 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.The following article describes in particular how NENU2PHAR, which was has received funding from the BBI-JU under grant agreement No 887474, is contributing to sustainable development through the SDG agenda.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as “The Global Goals for Sustainable Development” are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of a UN Resolution called “The 2030 Agenda”.
Within the 17 SDGs, the NENU2PHAR Project notably contributes to four of them:
Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
NENU2PHAR directly addresses objective 9.4 (resource efficiency, environmentally friendly technologies and industrial processes) by developing preliminary prototypes of PHA plastic materials with applications in Food & Cosmetic packaging, 3D printing filaments, Medical devices and Agrotextile. The process to produce PHA based plastic materials will be improved at several steps of the value chain:
- The carbon feedstock will be produced from algal biomass at pilot scale.
- PHA (Polyhydroxyalkanoates) biopolymers will be scaled up to pilot scale
- The biodegradability& the recyclability will be ensured
Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
NENU2PHAR also contributes to the 12.5 (reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse) targets by proposing an application of circular economy principles by improving the recyclability of packaging materials up to 100% by addressing the concept of multi-layered mono-material films. In addition, PHA production from bacterial biomass avoids competition with agricultural food production and deforestation compared to other bio-based polymers.
Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
The use of renewable and bio-based materials such as those developed at NENU2PHAR in applications such as Food & Cosmetic packaging, Medical devices and Agrotextile, instead of petroleum-based ones, allows to participate in the transition from a fossil-based economy to a bio-based economy. The development of competitive and sustainable PHAs polymers from renewable and recycled resources will help to mitigate climate change.
Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
The PHA materials used in NENU2PHAR are biodegradable and do not release toxic microplastics into the environment, thus minimise marine pollution. Furthermore, NENU2PHAR materials will lend themselves to biodegradation and/or composting when remanufacturing is impossible, thus reducing the amount of plastic waste affecting the oceans. Its partners will also test the biodegradability of the produced packaging in marine and freshwater.