Two Welsh universities have partnered with Waitrose to deliver a research project aimed at using Welsh ryegrass to create sustainable products for the food packaging and cosmetics industries.
The Sustainable Ryegrass Products (STARS) project will be led by the BioComposites Centre at Bangor University and the Institute of Biological Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University and informed by industry partners including Waitrose.
Funding of almost £600,000 from the Welsh Government’s Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme is supporting the project, which will see a biorefining process used to isolate and extract sugars and other components from ryegrass and convert them into low carbon products.
These will include biofuels, platform chemicals and pulp-moulded packaging products for retail applications such as food packaging.
The project will collaborate with six industrial partners representing all links in the SME supply chain – from biomass cultivation and harvesting to processing and commercial end-use – and will demonstrate the production of these materials at a pilot scale.
To inform the process, Waitrose will research public engagement in the bioeconomy and the adoption of green products.