Veolia Water Technologies has developed MBBR Pack, a modular package solution for wastewater treatment.

Plastics for the post-oil era

While wastewater is typically viewed as pollution, Veolia works to transform wastewater into raw material feedstock. The technique has great potential.

Back in 2007, a group of Swedish researches at AnoxKaldes, a subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies, observed that wastewater bacteria were creating polymers. They worked on improving the polymers’ efficiency and explored the potential of using wastewater as an ingredient in the formation of bioplastics.

Fast-track to 2016, and AnoxKaldnes’/Veolia’s technique of creating biopolymers by bacteria in wastewater has been widely praised for its potential. It is considered to offer real opportunity to replace conventional plastic in a number of areas, although at this stage wastewater bio-plastics may account for only a small percentage of the global plastic packaging picture, will struggle to be commercially competitive and will most probably depend a lot on regional polices to be implemented.

« Bioplastics have a great potential to fill a very real need in the ‘post-oil-era’ when society begins to shift away from the use of fossil fuels. »

Most plastics are made using from finite sources of petroleum or natural gas. Petrol-based plastics are hard to deal with at end-of-use. As Circulate News points out, “Looking through the lens of a circular economy, it is clear that the system of petrol-based plastics is not operating effectively in terms of its negative effects and its over-reliance upon finite resources. It’s a system that is facing increasing challenges with limitations that are gradually being acknowledged.”

PHA-based bioplastics– PHA being the intermediate material used to produce bioplastics – are highly biodegradable and biocompatible, which make them attractive for a bunch of industries and applications, from the medical and pharmaceutical field to the packaging sector. As Biovox reports, “Bioplastics have a great potential to fill a very real need in the ‘post-oil-era’ when society begins to shift away from the use of fossil fuels.”

Read more about Veolia Water Technologies here.

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