Riusa project

The aim of the RIUSA project is to use salvaged (namely deriving from production waste or separate waste collection) aliphatic biopolyesters (i.e. polylactides) in the automatic and digitised production processes (in accordance with the logic of Industry 4.0) of a wide range of food packaging (including flexible films, free standing bags, containers, bottles and caps) in full compliance with the paradigms of the Circular Economy.

The intelligent packaging produced, known as Packaging 4.0, will be:

  • fully compostable and/or reusable according to the EN13432 standard;
  • resistant and thermostable (i.e. packaging suitable for contact with hot food or for machinability in hot/aseptic filling systems);
  • self-protected from oxygen and photo-oxidation, namely able to preserve food for a long time and in optimal conditions, reducing food waste and unsold items and simplifying warehouse management;
  • suitable for prolonged food contact (i.e. lengthening of shelf-life, reduction of food waste and unsold items, improvement of stock management).

The main aim of the project is therefore to develop a circular strategy for the use and disposal of compostable plastics.

These materials are in fact a valid solution to the environmental problem of plastics, but they have a very high cost that limits their spread on a large scale. The project would be implemented by recovering compostable plastic empties, studying and designing recovery formulations and working processes with 50% of material recovered. The packaging thus developed will be free standing bags for the packaging of solid and liquid food, thermoforming containers for the catering sector or for the dairy products market, bottles and caps for the milk and milk derivatives market.

The bio-plastic material it is intended to develop will ensure good mechanical strength (about 50 MPa), ductility (elongation at break up to 10%), toughness (fracture toughness > 1 MPa/m2) and impact strength (> 50 J/m Izod), good thermal stability (> 95-97°C) and very low permeability to oxygen, flavourings (up to 100 times less than the commercial PLA grades already available on the market and, therefore, also than the commercial PET grades commonly used in the food packaging sector) and light.

Through the actions involved in the RIUSA project, the aim is to create a proactive and long-term interaction between different realities operating in the Region, such as Research Bodies (University of Roma Tre, Sapienza University of Rome) and companies producing, processing and using plastic materials in the food sector (Cuki Cofresco and Fattorie Lattesano).
RIUSA will engage in enhancing production waste in the manufacture of a range of "intelligent" packaging in plastic that is compostable bioderived, thermostable, self-protected and suitable for prolonged contact with food.

Partners involved and the support of the European Fund for Regional Development

The Region of Lazio has allocated ten million euros from the
ROP ERDF Lazio 2014-2020*1.2 fund to promote and strengthen the competitiveness of the regional productive fabric in the Green Economy sector.

The Circular Economy and Energy*3,4 call for proposals supports business projects that, through the integration of supply chains, exchange of knowledge and skills, have significant effects on the strategic areas identified through the Call for Proposals "Support for the competitive repositioning of local business systems "*5

The public notice is directed at micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), large corporations, research and knowledge dissemination bodies and their possible temporary aggregations, aimed at encouraging sectoral upgrading, in line with the regional Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3)*6.

*1 http://lazioeuropa.it/porfesr
*2 http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/index.cfm/it/funding/erdf/
*3 http://lazioeuropa.it/bandi/por_fesr_bando_circular_economy_ed_energia-494/
*4 http://www.lazioinnova.it/bandi-post/circular-economy-ed-energia/
*5 http://lazioeuropa.it/bandi/call_for_proposal_sostegno_al_riposizionamento_competitivo_dei_sistemi_i mprenditoriali_territoriali_prorogato_al_30_novembre_2015-351/
*6 http://lazioeuropa.it/files/140723/regione_lazio_smart_specialisation_strategy_luglio_2014.pdf

In partenership with:

Progetto Riusa Cuki Cofresco in collaborazione con Roma Tre e Fattoria Latte sano

Project co-financed by the European Union

Progetto Riusa cofinanziato dall’Unione Europea