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Application News

Application News Cellulose fibre netting A panda for your pocket Last December marked the first ever appearance of biodegradable cellulose fibre netting sleeves on the shelves of retailer REWE in Austria. The netting was developed by Verpackungszentrum Graz. Lenzing AG (Lenzing, Austria) produce the cellulose fibres which are also marketed for clothing under the brand name Lenzing Modal colour. Consumers gave the organic packaging the thumbs up for organic vegetables. Sales even increased by a third. As part of their intensive future-oriented Back to Basics strategy, HOFER (Aldi Austria) have been using the packaging too since the end of June this year. Beech wood is used to produce the raw material, which is sourced during the thinning of forests: One third coming from Austria, the rest from central Europe. Lenzing, world market leader for environmentally-friendly cellulose products, manufactures the Modal fibres in Upper Austria, before they are sent for processing to the Austrian company Borckenstein (Neudau, Styria). The farming organisation, Marchfeldgemüse, packs the fresh organic vegetables in the breathable natural netting, which not only benefits the consumer by keeping the produce fresher for longer, but is also compostable after use. An Austrian world first, which, on 18 th June 2013, won the Austrian paper industry award, Printissimo / Embalissimo / fibre plus, in the fibre plus category - for innovations using cellulose. Verpackungszentrum Graz has been developing biogenous alternative packaging for approximately 20 years. This innovation by Verpackungszentrum Graz won a number of Austrian packaging awards last year and this year. “However we already know that the real winner here is the environment, especially as netting has been 100% plastic almost everywhere until now. MT On the occasion of its 50 th anniversary the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) have made an agreement with the toy manufacturer Playmobil (Geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG, of Zirndorf, Germany) to develop and produce a panda keyring made from a PLA compound (BioFlex ® by FKuR, Willich Germany). The small black and white bear, a symbol of the global protection of endangered species by the WWF, is about 65% made from renewable resources. “The WWF have given things a new impetus with the keyring – and right in the toy sector. We can get away from petroleum based plastics”, said Dirk Barth, head of the Panda Fördergesellschaft (a marketing service of WWF Germany). The potential of bioplastics has, in the view of the WWF, not reached anywhere near its maximum. Lots of shapes and colours are already available today. “Bioplastics will in future be part of an environmental and social contract, and represent an important alternative material”, says Barth. Hence the WWF is championing the concept of bioplastics, across the whole commercial spectrum, adhering to strict ecological and social criteria. Playmobil has taken up the challenge, and of course is also testing the general use of bioplastics. “Manufacture of the key ring has shown that it is not so simple to produce the usual Playmobil quality”, said Robert Benker, Technical head of the Playmobil production sites. For example the temperature process window is narrower compared to the traditional thermoplastics Playmobil usually use for their toy products. The PLA (NatureWorks Ingeo) in the compound used in the production of the WWF panda was all obtained from non-genetically modified corn and the agricultural method is certified in line with ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification). Long term the aim must be, according to the WWF, to avoid the use of fossil resources, to improve the eco-balance, and to make plastics from agricultural waste, ensuring sustainable production methods that are at least as good, or better, than the materials currently being used. The WWF panda key ring has been produced in a limited edition of 40,000 and will be distributed only at WWF events celebrating the 50th anniversary of WWF Germany, and as a welcome gift for newly enrolled supporters. 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/13] Vol. 8

Application News Sustainable solar-powered charger At Chinaplas 2013, PolyOne Corporation, a global provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions, announced a successful global collaboration with Xindao (Rijswijk, The Netherlands) and its design studio XD Design (Shanghai, China) to increase the content of renewable resources within the new XD Design Sunshine Solar Charger. Working together at the early stages of the design phase, PolyOne, Xindao and XD Design developed all of the molded plastic casing components for this charger from reSound PLA-based biopolymer, which Xindao estimates will reduce the CO 2 footprint for this product by as much as 35% compared to alternatives. Marcel Dartee, director of global marketing for sustainability and biosolutions at PolyOne, said, “Designers and manufacturers such as Xindao are investigating how they can successfully add more bio-content to their products. In most cases, this requires a balance of functionality and formulation expertise. PolyOne understands these challenges and has responded with specialty reSound formulations that achieve this balance. For the Sunshine project, our development teams in China, Europe and the U.S. worked jointly with the company’s design and manufacturing resources to create this success.” The Sunshine solar charger, with its array of five solar cells, is the newest item created by the XD Design team in a range of solar chargers for cellphones and tablets that take their design inspiration from nature. They are intended to make solar technology more practical and available for end users. While the team around head designer Ryan McSorley had used ABS on earlier chargers in the XD Design line, they collaborated with PolyOne to develop a durable, bio-based reSound formulation. To successfully make the housing and stems on the Sunshine, reSound material had to match the performance and surface finish of ABS as closely as possible. Chris Lefteri, noted industrial designer and a materials consultant for Xindao, explained, “Finding a sustainable material with equal performance to traditional polymers is a common challenge for many of our clients as they strive to reduce their carbon footprint. Using reSound, a durable, ecoconscious material that offers the same functional and aesthetic behavior as conventional engineering polymers, enabled XD Design to reach both performance and sustainability goals.” MT A two-day programme with German and international experts © Gruber, EBM Papst, Tecnaro, Werzalit Fifth German WPC Conference 10 – 11 December 2013, Maritim Hotel, Cologne, Germany ++ Europe’s most comprehensive WPC exhibition ++ We expect 350 participants from 20 countries ++ The largest event on Wood-Plastic Composites in Europe 2013 New chances through market establishment: Practical tips for developers, producers, traders and manufacturers Contact Dominik Vogt Tel.: +49 (0) 22 33 / 48 14-49 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8 37

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