Project's title: STEPS - Sustainable Plastics and Transition Pathways
Project's duration: 2016-2020
Contact person: Teis Hansen
STEPS is a research program with a vision of a future society in which plastics are sustainably developed, produced, used and recycled in a circular economy. STEPS aims to play a key role in instigating and accelerating this sustainability transition by strengthening the knowledge and research base for technology-, product development and innovation. The program will also develop and assess key niche products with industrial partners and analyze the sustainability, institutional and policy implications of potential transition pathways.
The STEPS program is formulated in close dialogue with industrial partners to reflect the market needs for sustainable plastics – both on a short-term and long-term basis. It is based on the concept of designing eco-friendly plastics having desired material properties and life cycle by matching appropriate carbon-neutral building blocks and their derivatives.
Major focus is on polyesters, which represent a plastics group with varying properties for wide range of applications and a sizable global market. In STEPS, polyesters will be made from building blocks produced from renewable feedstocks, which also will be evaluated for production of copolymers and composites with other natural polymers like protein, cellulose and starch.
The plastic products will be viewed from a life cycle perspective, taking into account the sustainability of the renewable feedstocks, production, processing, and end-of-life solutions for the plastics. Understanding how plastics are introduced and used as products as well as discarded as waste is an important part of assessing the whole life cycle.
Thus, the program will also consider consumer behavior as well as strategies of industries and businesses relating to innovative plastics.