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Issue 01/2023

  • Text
  • Automotive
  • Toys
  • Wwwbioplasticsmagazinecom
  • Editorial
  • Engineering
  • Biobased
  • Carbon
  • Sustainable
  • Materials
  • Recycling
  • Plastics
  • Germany
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Toys Automotive Basics: Amorphous PHA Digital product passports

Toys A real alternative

Toys A real alternative to plastic? Wissner has been producing and distributing teaching and learning aids as well as educational games in the field of mathematics for schools, pupils, and children worldwide since 1976. “One of the cornerstones was and is to source the raw materials as regionally as possible and to remain true to our location in Germany“, Jürgen Wissner, Founder and General Manager of Wissner, says proudly. This ecologically sustainable idea was taken up further in 2011 and also implemented for the materials used. Since then, all plastic products have been made from RE-Plastic ® . RE-Plastic is 100 % post-consumer or post-industrial recycled plastic that is 100 % recyclable again. But in addition, an alternative material was to be found instead of conventional plastic. The requirements were high – Wissner wanted to create a sustainable product and the material that was invented should be: • available at any time • made of regional raw materials • produced in an environmentally friendly way • not contain any harmful substances • corresponding to the mechanical properties of the previous plastic or wood • processed on existing plastic injection moulding machines • guarantee a long service life • meeting all DIN toy safety standards • not too expensive Phew, the bar was high! Basically, it was quite simple – as with all good inventions: The basic material consists of two waste products that are given new life. Up to 80 % ground wood residues from sustainable German forest management and 20 % recycled binder – these two components are combined into a wood-like mass using heat and pressure. In order to be able to process this mass on normal moulding machines, the raw mass is crushed to granulate size. After a ten-year development phase, RE-Wood ® emerged. What sounds so simple has its pitfalls in the manufacturing process, and no other manufacturer has yet succeeded in creating a comparable material. Speaking of pitfalls – every invention and product development has its challenges and some requirements are indispensable. Disposal or reuse Another question was: How to reconcile the requirements for the items and their disposal? Organic waste – composting or residual waste? Only materials that are 95 % degraded within six weeks without mechanical pre-treatment are allowed in the organic waste. However, this contradicts the requirement for articles made of RE-Wood: long life and safety in use under all environmental influences. So it’s residual waste? No, because in the best case, RE-Wood is not disposed of at all. It can – no matter how old – always be 100 % reused. Turning old into new – over and over again, without losing the good properties – that is the goal. That is why Wissner appeals to its customers to help prevent the disposal of RE-Wood by reusing it. “Send us back old and no longer used RE-Wood articles”, says Jürgen Wissner. “We do not stand still” The next step is to change the currently still oil-based recycled binder content to cellulose or lignin to make RE-Wood even more environmentally friendly than it already is. In addition, the planned switch from spruce to pine wood will make RE-Wood virtually germ-free again eight hours after use and can therefore be described as antibacterial. “Since spruce no longer has a long-term future in german forests due to the advancing climate change, the associated higher temperatures and lower precipitation, we want to make our small contribution to sustainable forest revaluation in Germany with this conversion“, says Simon Hagemann, Head of Sales & Marketing at Wissner. Products made of RE-Wood are already resistant to sucking and biting, washable and can be put in the dishwasher without hesitation. Of course, they comply with all DIN toy safety standards. 36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/23] Vol. 18

By: Toys Simon Hagemann Head of Sales & Marketing WISSNER GmbH Bensheim Germany Everything is possible A look at the Wissner catalogue shows: The majority of the range is already made from RE-Wood and partly assembled with the help of a regional network of workshops for people with disabilities. “Thanks to its technical possibilities, RE-Wood has been implemented or is conceivable in a wide range of application areas. Both filigree ideas in the millimetre range as well as massive or (partly) hollow large moulded parts with a realisable size of up to 1m“, says Jess Wissner, General Manager and son of Jürgen Wissner. By colouring the material before the actual production, Wissner does not need to use any varnishes. This means that even coloured RE-Wood articles are saliva-proof and can be used without hesitation even by small children. Pentominos, pattern blocks, attribute blocks, arithmetic frames, arithmetic chains, soma cubes, Montessori rods, decimal arithmetic sets, geometric solids and plug-in cubes – the list of articles made of RE-Wood is long and is getting longer and longer, and with each new article Wissner’s know-how also grows. “We believe that good ideas come from community, and when everyone contributes their individual talents and strengths, great things can happen“, says Jörn Wissner, also General Manager and a son of Jürgen Wissner. “We have many years of experience in development and production, work with state-of-the-art machines and in search of a sustainable and pollutant-free material, we simply developed it ourselves: RE-Wood.” In the meantime, the RE-Wood granulate, the basis for many of our products, is completely manufactured in the German factory. Thanks to their own mould construction and decades of experience in this field, a product idea can become reality very quickly. If you are looking for a sustainable and meaningful alternative to plastics for your products in all industries, then feel free to contact Wissner. Or do you have a good product idea, but lack support in implementing it in materials and production? Wissner will certainly find a solution together with its customer. “We are also open to product and/ or material cooperation if the request fits in with us and our values. We want authentic and long-term partnerships and look forward to hearing from you”, concludes Simon Hagemann. MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/23] Vol. 18 37

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