Agri-Food Wastes for Bioplastics: European Prospective on Possible Applications in Their Second Life for a Circular Economy
Agri-food wastes (such as brewer&rsquo;s spent grain, olive pomace, residual pulp from fruit juice production, etc.) are produced annually in very high quantities posing a serious problem, both environmentally and economically. These wastes can be used as secondary starting materials to produce value-added goods within the principles of the circular economy. In this context, this review focuses on the use of agri-food wastes either to produce building blocks for bioplastics manufacturing or biofillers to be mixed with other bioplastics. The pros and cons of the literature analysis have been highlighted, together with the main aspects related to the production of bioplastics, their use and recycling. The high number of European Union (EU)-funded projects for the valorisation of agri-food waste with the best European practices for this industrial sector confirm a growing interest in safeguarding our planet from environmental pollution. However, problems such as the correct labelling and separation of bioplastics from fossil ones remain open and to be optimised, with the possibility of reuse before final composting and selective recovery of biomass.