Boosting circular plastic development: VTT joins Think Beyond Plastic as R&D partner

Boosting circular plastic development: VTT joins Think Beyond Plastic as R&D partner

02 Jan 2019 --- Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) has joined the international Think Beyond Plastic’s User Facility Network as an R&D partner. Its role will be to support the New Plastic Economy Innovation Center’s innovators and entrepreneurs by offering R&D services to accelerate the development of innovations in the area of circular plastics. The collaboration was announced at the New Plastics Economy Investor Forum on 7th December in Frankfurt.

Think Beyond Plastic takes on a global multi-disciplinary effort to commercialize research and innovation eliminating plastic pollution and its health impacts, and to advance the circular economy for plastics – the New Plastics Economy.

VTT, a leading European research and technology organization, are already using science and technology to prove to the industry that plastic can be part of a strong circular economy, with the addition of bio-based raw materials and sustainable design, as well as a three-pronged approach to recycling: mechanical, chemical and biological. 

To accelerate the pace of discovery and innovation, and also to de-risk corporate investments in R&D, innovation and prototyping, Think Beyond Plastic has launched the User Facility Network. Its purpose is to offer innovators access to equipment and facilities for testing, experimentation and, for example, minimum viable prototype (MVP) development.

“Think Beyond Plastic is harnessing the forces of innovation and entrepreneurship to advance the circular economy for plastics. Our special focus is on new bio-benign materials, green and sustainable chemistry, innovative packaging and product delivery systems. We support innovators by providing a bridge to commercialization, including industry guidance, mentorship and feedback, access to capital and – a key component for success – infrastructure for testing, prototyping, characterization and scaling”, says the Founder and CEO of Think Beyond Plastic, Daniella Russo.

VTT’s experts, state-of-the-art pilot plants and unique research infrastructure bridge the gap between laboratory-scale development and the commercial production of new breakthrough solutions like new materials and increased recycling of plastics. 

VTT’s R&D infrastructure includes a selection of lab- and bench-scale plants, as well as pilot plants, serving the major steps of the development chain.

“VTT develops top solutions to help companies develop and renew their business. In the world we live in today, solutions and innovations are made through collaboration and partnerships. Think Beyond Plastic focuses on grand challenges – like resource sufficiency and climate change – that are also most important to VTT”, says Tiina Nakari-Setälä, Vice President of Research at VTT.

Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and fills the multiple technology, design and business model gaps in the current plastic value chain to accelerate the transition into a system that works. VTT and Think Beyond Plastic have already concrete plans to support the innovators, for example, through tailor-made workshops.

“The partnership with VTT is a valuable strategic resource for the entire innovation ecosystem, because of the breadth of capacity offered by them in biomass processing and products as well as chemical and material technologies. We are excited about the opportunity to produce, test and bring to market viable, scalable portfolio of innovations that can accelerate the transition towards the circular economy for plastics”, Russo continues.

By being one of the winners of Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Circular Materials Challenge 2018 with VTT’s bio-based packaging solution, VTT has been part of the Think Beyond Plastic’s Accelerator Program during the year 2018.

“The year has been great and it is wonderful that the work together with Think Beyond Plastic continues through this collaboration. VTT is excited to solve the questions these innovators are facing”, says Anna Tenhunen, the Project Manager of the collaboration at VTT.

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