BIOMATERIALS IN PLASTICS
„If it can’t be reduced, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.“
There are two different ways to achieve the goal of bio plastics:
1. CREATE PLASTIC MOLECULES FROM PLANT RAW MATERIALS
Bioplastics are biogenic derivatives of plastic molecules by using a bio-based materials. Usually materials like vegetable oils and fats (e.g. castor oil), cellulose and lactic acid from fermented sugar / starches are used for this purpose. These so-called biopolymers are made on the basis of renewable raw materials, but in competition with food production they compete with the same cultivated areas.
Positive properties are the interchangeability with petrochemical manufactured plastics, the consistent quality and the possibility of biodegradability.
So far, the main disadvantages of biopolymers are:
- the high price per kg compared to synthetic plastics
- the need for production in a large-scale biorefinery
2. FUNCTIONAL BIO-ADDITIVES
The use of biomass in compounds requires extensive knowledge of raw material preparation and process management for extruders and injection molding machines so that reproducible results can be achieved.
The big advantage compared to bioplastics like PLA is the origin of the raw material. The bio-additives usually do not compete with the food production, but complement each other ideally. Many by-products of the food processing industry are therefore used in a meaningful way instead of being disposed.
Raw materials for the production of bio-additives for example are:
- Almond shells
- Olive stones
- Fruit kernels from cherries, apricots, plums, etc.
- Cocoa shells
- Coffee residues such as coffee grounds
- Natural fibers such as sisal, jute and hemp
Applications for ORGANIC RAW MATERIALS
- Single / disposable items for everyday use, such as food packaging
- Agriculture & Horticulture for Compostable Plastics
- Durable assets, such as floor coverings
In addition to product-specific and technical requirements, the current legal framework must also be observed. The food contact materials regulation in particular represents a hurdle that should not be underestimated for the use of biomaterials in plastic formulations. Only materials that are on the EU’s positive list may be mixed with plastics if the finished product comes into contact with food.
We see ourselves as mediators and are happy to help you with our many years of experience in biomaterials. Here we pay special attention to the selection of promising (organic) raw materials for your specific application. Please do not hesitate to contact us.