New specialty polymers based on bio-aromatic building blocks derived from wood.

B4Plastics is inventing and upscaling new eco-plastic materials made out of wood. The materials are designed to have the best balance between function, cost and ecology in their target applications. Via the EU research project SMARTBOX, we can fulfil this mission starting from the local woody waste streams of biorefineries.

Vegan Leather is a member of CrossRoads2: Sustainable Energy, which is financed by Interreg V Flanders-Netherlands, the cross-border cooperation programme with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund.

The Problem

Today, most of the plastics we use in our daily lives are so-called “virgin” oil-based plastics. These polymers incorporate freshly produced petrochemicals as monomers from oil refineries. Moreover, they rely on fossil resources and travel thousands of kilometers to reach us in Europe.

Common plastics not only travel from far away but their production processes applied in oil refineries also demand high temperatures and pressures – in stark contrast to that of nature. And, of course, this energy consumption is again…(yes, you guessed it) fossil. B4Plastics’ eco-plastics are fixing this, meeting half of Europe’s new Green Deal ambitions!
  • a


  • a

    Oil refineries

  • a

    Fossil fuel

A deeper dive into the problem

The Solution

The core of B4Plastics is to design and develop bioplastics that incorporate biobased building blocks (B4). This means we step away from fossil fuels and carefully choose monomers that can be obtained from greener alternatives, such as biorefineries. Their low temperature and pressure processes use biomass, such as wood, as an energy source and therefore offer more local options.

SMARTBOX aims to make biorefineries more cost-competitive and environmentally sustainable by using the synergy between a catalytic fractionation technique and bio-enzymes that together can turn wood as biomass into renewable monomers for plastics, such as bio-aromatics. These added-value building blocks can be introduced into new bio-based products which offer a sustainable alternative to virgin oil-based plastics.
Together with our partners in public-private research of SMARTBOX, B4Plastics uses bio-aromatics as local biobased building blocks to design new specialty polymers. With these unique monomers, we aim to develop locally and renewably resourced products with new ecological features for a more sustainable plastics future and a greener world.

A deeper dive into the solution

Technical Readiness Level

Level 1
Product demonstration

Eureka moment in the head






The Value Chain

Steps in the value chain

Transitioning from lineair to circular

Raw material production

and use


  • 1

    Raw Material

  • 2

    Monomer production

  • 3

    Polymer production

  • 4

    Plastic conversion

  • 5

    Production of plastic products

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  • 7

    Collection/ sorting and recycling

  • 8

    End of life

Bio-based value chain The Project B4Plastics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Raw material production

1 Raw material

Sugar-rich waste exstracted from sugar beets.

This project has received funding from the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837890. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Bio-based Industries Consortium.

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