With the growing demand for more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic in the packaging industry, many developments have been made in the field of bio-based materials in the recent past.
Following are a few innovations that demonstrate potential.
- 1. https://www.novamont.com/eng/mater-bi
MATER-BI: Developed by Novamont, Mater-Bi is a biodegradable and compostable bioplastic made from starches, cellulose, vegetable oil. Packaging of this material can be collected as organic waste and can be industrially composted according to the European standard UNI EN 13432. It can be made into films, rigid and semi-rigid containers and woven nets. Pens, cutlery and foamed fillers can also be made for mater-bi.
- 2. YXY TECHNOLOGY: Avantium’s Polyethylene furanoate (PEF) is a bioplastic made from fructose. PEF is 100% recyclable with an improved barrier against oxygen and carbon-dioxide and displays higher mechanical strength. These characteristics lead to a longer shelf life for packaged products and make PEF packaging more resource efficient. PEF degrades much faster than PET under industrial composting conditions (250-400 days with air/oxygen @ 58°C in soil) as shown by the first results of tests by Organic Waste Systems (OWS) (Gent, Belgium). The biodegradability of PEF under ambient conditions is under investigation (10-year field trial). These properties make it a suitable material for packaging in the food industry.
As compared to PET:
- PEF’s oxygen barrier is 10 times better
- PEF’s carbon dioxide barrier is 6 to 10 times better
- PEF’s water barrier is twice as good
The Tg of PEF is 86°C compared to 74°C of PET and the Tm of PEF is 235°C compared to 265°C of PET.
Tg – glass transition temperature Tm – melting point
- 3. LIMEX: Developed by Japanese start-up TB-M, LIMEX is a material made from limestone (and polyolefin resin used as a binder) that can replace paper and plastic in packaging.
- Virtually Inexhaustible
- High efficiency recyclability
- Flexible Moulding
LIMEX is available both in the form of sheets and pellets and is suitable for diverse moulding methods including injection moulding, extrusion moulding, vacuum moulding, and blow moulding. Even though LIMEX is a composite material, it does not require custom equipment and can be processed using traditional methods and machinery.
TB-M is currently working on biodegradable LIMEX that replaces polyolefin resin with biomass-based and biodegradable raw material.