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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1105

Fibre Applications Woven

Fibre Applications Woven Groundcover The Agrolys TM range has made Beaulieu Technical Textiles (BTT) the European market leader in the sector of woven groundcovers. Since 1995 the Agrolys groundcovers are being used for weed prevention during the cultivation of plants in private gardens, landscaping, horticulture and viticulture. Manufactured from high tenacity polypropylene tapes, Agrolys creates a stable and maintenance-free microclimate for the plants until they are sufficiently mature. Agrolys groundcovers can then be recycled, in theory, but this does not often happen in practice (as this would be a laborious and dirty task, etc.). After looking for an environment-friendly alternative for several years, BTT recently introduced with Ökolys TM a new sustainable range of woven groundcovers. Manufactured out of a tailored and unique blend of two biopolymers, one biodegradable and one compostable (more details about the polymers were not disclosed to bioplastics MAGAZINE), the Ökolys groundcover offers an environment-friendly innovative weed control solution. Beaulieu International Group (BIG) from Kruishoutem, Belgium, is a major, vertically integrated player in the field of polypropylene granules, fibres & yarns, technical textiles and floorcoverings. BIG has 30 establishments, spread over 8 countries, a staff of 3200 people and achieved sales totalling EUR 1.3 billion in 2010. The product has been evaluated by Organic Waste Systems and the Textile department of the University of Ghent. According to a spokesperson of BIG, Ökolys has become the world’s first (agro)textile to be awarded the ‘OK compost’ label by Vinçotte. The philosophy behind the Ökolys groundcover is fully in harmony with the concept of ‘People, Planet, Profit’: • The groundcovers themselves eliminate the need for pesticides and manual maintenance • Ökolys is essentially made of renewable primary materials and does not contain any harmful substances • The end-of-life of Ökolys is not longer an issue: after its period of use (2 - 3 years) Ökolys returns into the organic chain, closing the carbon cycle. Since Ökolys was originally intended for a market, in which the end customer is willing to pay extra for ‘green’ products the product is currently essentially distributed via BTT’s existing landscaping network. Moreover, since it was launched at the ‘Techtextil Asia’ exhibition, interest has now been shown by new customers all over the world (particularly in California, Japan and New Zealand/Australia). At a later stage BTT plans to target other industries. BTT aims to increase its sales volume by 10% this year. On the long run an increase of 30% is expected. MT www.beaulieu.be 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/11] Vol. 6

Fibre Applications Bio-Derived PET Fibers Teijin Fibers Limited, from Tokyo, Japan, the core company of the Teijin Group’s polyester fibers business, announced that it will begin in April 2012 the full-fledged production and marketing of new plant-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fiber as the world’s first commercially produced partly bio-derived PET fiber. Named ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber, the new product, also available as a textile, will become Teijin Fibers’ core biomaterial for applications ranging from apparel, car seats and interiors to personal hygiene products. Teijin Fibers expects to sell 30,000 tons of ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber products in the initial fiscal year ending in March 2013, and 70,000 tons by the third year of business. ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber is made roughly 30% from biofuels derived from biomass such as sugarcane. Conventional PET typically is made by polymerizing ethylene glycol (EG) and dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) or telephthalic acid (PTA), with EG accounting for roughly 30%. The EG contained in ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber is bio-derived rather than oil-derived, so it helps to conserve fossil resources and lower greenhouse gas emissions. What’s more, ECO CIRCLE PlantFiber has the same characteristics and quality of oil-derived PET, so it is suitable for use in many polyester products. The new fiber also can be recycled using Teijin Fibers’ ECO CIRCLE closed-loop polyester recycling system. Polyester is chemically decomposed at the molecular level by the system and then recycled as new DMT that offers purity and quality comparable to material derived directly from petroleum. Teijin Fibers develops unique polyester technologies through ‘hybrid strategies’ that variously combine the company’s special expertise in biomaterials, recycling, functional materials and manufacturing processes to reduce environmental loads. MT www.teijinfiber.com/english bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/11] Vol. 6 21

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