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Applications The new way

Applications The new way to drink coffee First production application of the compostable plastic ecovio in coffee capsules plus packaging The compostable plastic ecovio ® from BASF has found its first production application in a system solution for packaging. It is furthermore the first application for the injection molding grade ecovio IS1335. The material is being used in combination with an ecovio-based multi-layer system with specific barrier properties. Working together with the Swiss Coffee Company (Widnau, Switzerland), BASF has succeeded in developing a system that consists of a coffee capsule and an aroma-tight outer packaging. It fulfills the demanding requirements for protecting the product and brewing coffee in high-pressure coffee machines, yet may still be composted. The system solution is predominantly based on renewable resources. Expanded ecovio product line BASF launched the plastic ecovio six years ago. It is biodegradable and compostable as defined by EN 13432, based to a large extent on renewable resources and in the meantime has been able to prove itself in a variety of film applications. To date, the primary fields of application have been bags for collecting biodegradable waste and mulch film, which helps to cultivate fruit and vegetables in fields. With the new product grade ecovio IS1335, which is especially suitable for injection molding, and with new ecoviobased solutions for multi-layer film with a barrier properties, BASF has expanded the product line further. These product variants helped the new Switzerland-based Swiss Coffee Company develop a high-volume product that can contribute to sustainability in many ways while simultaneously addressing the latest trend in coffee drinking. Swiss Coffee Company and the product beanarella Since the end of 2012, the Swiss Coffee Company is offering coffee in compostable plastic capsules in an aromatype barrier packaging together with coffee machines in Switzerland under the brand name beanarella. The idea for the product came to the company‘s founders in 2011, and after a record project completion time of only some 13 months, high-grade coffee packaged in injection molded biodegradable plastic capsules was on the market. The goal of the company is to market high-quality coffee that simultaneously satisfies demanding criteria from the social and environmental standpoint when it comes to production. The packaging was expected to satisfy similar criteria. Traditional roasting, fair trade and compostable packaging The requirements that Mr. Schaude, founder of the Swiss Coffee Company, established for the packaging are just as demanding as for the organic coffee. Accordingly, in contrast to most coffee capsules on the market, the ones offered by the Swiss Coffee Company are not manufactured from aluminum. 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/13] Vol. 8

Applications Disposing intelligently of everything that remains after drinking the coffee was an especially important aspect in terms of packaging. In the case of food packaging with a high percentage of organic content, compostable plastics such as ecovio from BASF represent a possible solution. In this way, sustainability concepts could be applied not only to producing the coffee, but also to the packaging and disposal. Optimized for composting – the packaging as an aid to disposal Not only the ecovio IS1335 plastic is certified for biodegradable, compostable packaging to Standard EN 13432, but also the coffee capsules themselves. Moreover, the barrier packaging as well consists of biodegradable components. The structure consists of three functional layers: the outer paper-based carrier layer is followed by a thin barrier film as a middle layer and an inner sealing layer based on ecovio. All three single layers are certified according to EN 13432. The layers are bonded together by means of the compostable laminating adhesive Epotal ® Eco from BASF. The packaging is designed to satisfy the demanding barrier requirements for coffee packaging with regard to moisture, oxygen and aroma. In-house investigations conducted at BASF confirmed degradation of the used coffee capsules in an actual composting environment. During the pilot phase, the Swiss Coffee Company itself will handle composting under industrial conditions in Switzerland: Leomat, one of the main distributors in Switzerland, will supply the coffee capsules to be disposed of together with the outer barrier packaging for the composting process. Compost as a resource Packaging such as coffee capsules that contain small portions of completely organic waste and where the organic waste cannot be collected separately from the packaging material lends itself ideally to composting as the correct means of disposal instead of incineration or recycling. Moreover, coffee is a favorite among composters, since it represents a good material for loosening the structure of the compost. The concept also contributes to increasing the amount of compost and thus to the waste disposal objectives of the EU: various scientific studies estimate that in Europe today only 30% of all organic waste is disposed of separately. Many countries still landfill a high percentage together with other waste. Disposal in landfills generates methane, which has an approximately twentyfold higher greenhouse potential than CO 2 . If organic waste were collected separately and composted throughout all of Europe, greenhouse gas emissions from waste disposal could be lowered by 30%. Furthermore, as a natural fertilizer, compost contains valuable nutrients such as phosphorus, for example, which is important for plant growth and thus agricultural food production. Phosphorus cannot be produced synthetically; it must be obtained from deposits. In addition, moist kitchen waste has such a low calorific value during incineration that it does not represent a useful material there. For communities and citizens, however, it is associated with costs for disposal. Composting of organic waste is thus an approach to disposal that generates not only compost as a valuable substance, but also represents a costeffective disposal method for communities. The next steps As the next step, the company plans to introduce its product and concept in Germany, Austria and the USA. Each launch on the market will focus on a sound disposal concept for creating value from the promise of biodegradability. BASF will assist in this regard. Disposal of food packaging made from certified compostable plastic in organic waste containers is not yet permitted throughout Germany. Venue 7 – 9 October 2013, Essen (Germany) The main topics will be: 7 October: Political framework, visions and feedstock 8 October: Chemicals and energy from CO 2 9 October: Polymers and building blocks from CO 2 Haus der Technik e.V. Essen, Germany Dominik Vogt nova-Institute for Ecology and Innovation GmbH Chemiepark Knapsack Industriestraße 300 50354 Huerth, Germany +49 (0) 22 33 4814 - 49 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8 39

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