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From Plastics to Food

We envision the use of organic chemistry to produce food molecules; amino acids, carbohydrates and fatty acids derived from plastic residue.

Photo of Flavio Ortigao

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Dr. Flavio Ortigao, CTO and owner at Recupera do Brasil Rua Benjamin Batista 173 22461-200 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Msc. Tatiane Guimarães, Local vision developer,, A Casa do Bem, BR; Maria Menicucci, Influencer BR,, Communicator, BR; Liliane Pellegrini, Physician,, Physician, USA; Luiz Felipe Pereira, CEO Recupera do Brasil ,, Green Energy Ventures, BR; Michael Mecklenburg, Innovator Sweden-USA,, Recupera SE; Dr. Jamie Miernik, Life-Support Systems,, NASA

Website of Legally Registered Entity

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • Just beginning now

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Stockholm, Sweden

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Brazil and Sweden

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

The Sao Paulo metropolitan area with a population of 21.5 million people, concentrated in an area of 7946,84 km2 is the densest in Brazil.

What country is your selected Place located in?

Federal Republic of Brazil

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Most of the team live and work in Sao Paulo. The Sao Paulo metropolitan area with a population of 21.5 million people, concentrated in an area of 7946,84 km2, is the densest metropolitan area of Brazil. Sao Paulo state is responsible for 40% of Brazilian food production. The Tiete River[i], that cross this area, is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Sao Paulo metropolitan area is responsible for a large fraction of the Brazil GDP. The Sao Paulo area produces 27.000t of waste per day. 15% of it are plastics residues. In the last 5 years, the local government removed 50t of plastics from the Tiete river[ii]






Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Brazil would benefit from less use of natural resources and land for food production.

High population density region, financial center of the country, one of the largest centers that generate plastic waste, as well as an advanced industrial pole, a great food producer. Region with a high index of inputs for the execution of the Project.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Currently, some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That's about one in nine people on earth. The vast majority of the world's hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 per cent of the population is undernourished[i].

See annexed White Paper for more complete graphic description 

The resources of the world are already severely stressed. Water, soil usage and population to be fed.

The chemistry underlying synthetic food production can be much improved, but it exists already today

See annexed White Paper for more complete graphic description 




Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

We consider that the our Idea/Challenge can achieve those visionary foci (by Food Vision):

- Environment

- Diets

- Economics

- Technology

- Policy

By moving from natural to synthetic food, we may address the food production issues already with today's technology. Reducing waste uses of natural resources and efficiency in production

Plastic pollution
By converting end-of-life plastics to its molecular components – hydrogen and carbon – we will create a chemical and biotech route to recycle the plastic in a circular economy mode. The industrial residues will be converted into feedstocks for the food industry
Water usage
By changing from current water demanding food production mode to an industrial process, we will reduce the water demand dramatically
Land Usage
By changing from the current extensive land usage to the industrial platform, lad usage will be drastically reduced
Food Production
By changing to an industrial platform, productivity will drastically increase both for human as well as for animal feed
Food Safety
By changing to a quality controlled industrial process, food safety will be largely increased

What if

  • Fast-food chains would introduce “no animal, no plants destroyed” shakes?
  • Restaurant chains would serve sport-balance shakes?
  • Hospitals would serve sustainable non-animal or plant balanced diets?
  • Restaurant chains would serve no fat, no carbs shake?
  • Cities would serve guaranteed nutrition to those in need?
  • Food stores would sell those powders for shakes preparation?
  • The food industry would have a nutritious, abundant, sustainable and affordable source of food?

High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

In the year 2050, Sao Paulo will be a burgeoning City. Someone from today will be awed by what its citizens have achieved. They will have solved most of the problems that dog us today. We have achieved, after a series of well-done administrations Quality of Government. Above ideology, Sao Paulo is administered by evidence-based decisions, of what works and provide happiness to its people. Sao Paulo will enormously profit from its size. Its government has learned how to take advantage of scale for providing all kinds of services with good quality. Before all, Sao Paulo has learned how to be a sustainable City.

The realization of our vision will have contributed to a major aspect of Sao Paulo’s future: sustainable and nourishing food system capable of feeding all by utilizing a circular economy.

We understand that any possibility of providing food supplementation, having access to low-cost raw materials, reframing the residue for input for food production alters the Circular Economy of this population.

In addition to the possibility of this project being carried out in several parts of the world, taking food ingredients safely, in sufficient quantity, at low cost for the entire population.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

What we are proposing in this vision is the depolymerization of plastics to its chemical components and the use of these components for the chemical synthesis of nutrients.

We will be able to provide nutritious food for all, We will turn Sao Paulo as a centre for protein for people and animal food. To the best of our knowledge, this has not been proposed before.

We envision that in 2050, by continuing our path to develop a more sustainable economy, we will have solved the problem of hunger in an intuitive form. 

We will increase the production of industrialized nutritious food taking advantage of the circular economy. 

We envision that in 2050, by continuing our path to develop[i] a more sustainable economy, we will have solved the problem of hunger in an intuitive form. We will increase the production of industrialized nutritious food taking advantage of the circular economy. We will convert carbonaceous residues like plastics into food molecules, and use these to create balanced nutrition for husbandry and people food.

The local impact will be a conversion of locally produced plastics, today 200g/person and day, into approximately 500x amount of food energy substances. But our vision, can be replicated globally.

We envision that under strict quality and environmental impact control, we will be able to produce the quantities of food that are necessary to feed the 9,7 billion people in the world, with safe, affordable and nourishing food

We believe our vision has great transformation potential, because it represents a change in the game.

We regard our vision as feasible, as it is already under development.

We believe the implementation of our vision will bring a great positive impact for human kind, locally and globally.





How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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Attachments (2)

White Paper Food Vision Prize Final.docx

The purpose of this document is to describe our visionary transformation process as our contribution to the Food System Vision Prize . The proposal is entitled: From Plastics to Food (P2F).


This document produced by the Ellen McArthur Foundation is very relevant for the Vision


Join the conversation:

Photo of Archiebold Manasseh

very interesting! all the best! ,you will surely be sorting the biggest global problem, POLLUTION

Photo of Flavio Ortigao

Dear Archinbold,
Thank you for your kind comnent. We do agree that plastics pollution is a major global problem, and de would be glad if we can contribute with the solution

Photo of Archiebold Manasseh

you have made me see a different approach on to tackle plastic pollution.... all the best, regards

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