Research in STEPS 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 in the programme 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 programme will also consider consumer behavior as well as strategies of industries and businesses relating to innovative plastics.