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Issue 02/2015

  • Text
  • Packaging
  • Biobased
  • Bioplastics
  • Materials
  • Products
  • Plastics
  • Biodegradable
  • Marine
  • Films
  • Renewable
bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1502

Basics Can bioplastics

Basics Can bioplastics polish the image of packaging? Biobased materials bring packaging to the attention of the end user Today´s packaging – important but with a poor image Highly developed plastic packaging is playing an ever important role in our life. Advances in barrier properties can now deliver an increased shelf-life for sensitive foodstuffs. Portion control packaging offers high levels of convenience, for example, in the case of coffee capsules. Glass bottles and jars are increasingly being replaced by lightweight PET solutions. However, once a product is carried or delivered home and unpacked or consumed, then the empty packaging is left. This accumulates along with other packaging in the waste bin. When purchasing a product, there is often not much notice taken of the packaging by the consumer, rather there is a focus on the value of the product. Once the product has been used and only the packaging remains as waste the consumer generally has a negative perception of it, quite often even more so, if it is plastic packaging! Bottles made from (partly) biobased PET (left) and fully biobased PE (right) What are the most important merits of packaging? • enclosing or protecting products for distribution & storage • allowing transport over long distances • preservation over time and enhancing shelf-life • portion control • advertising, information and product presentation These functions appear so obvious for the consumer that they can simply be taken for granted. It is an unfortunate fact of life that the waste aspect of packaging apparently draws more attention from the consumer than the taken for granted functions that the very same packaging performs. There appears to be a strong dissonance of the positive packaging performance and the negative waste driven association of conventional plastics packaging. Indeed, the strong motivation to try to avoid unnecessary usage of plastic packaging materials is now gaining momentum as exemplified by the new regulation coming forth on plastic shopping bags. The conventional petrochemical plastics industry while adhering to new regulatory requirements is active in post-consumer packaging waste recycling. However, in many cases recycling is feasible in only a limited number of loops (down-cycling) and eventually most petrochemical packaging ends up in conventional waste streams. Therefore, recycling does not entirely overcome the basic negative bias highlighted here. That being said, the recycling of oil-based packaging is clearly a better option than immediate disposal after a single use. Biobased materials can create a positive image Plastic material solutions that differ from conventional plastics in their origin or end-of-life options, such as biopolymers, have the potential to correct the dissonance in the perception of plastics packaging and to change the image focus. Biopolymers truly follow a closed loop cycle with the natural beginning-of-life and end-of-life options they offer. For example, organic kitchen waste typically contains high levels of water and therefore incineration is regarded as a poor option. Here compostable shopping bags can be reused to collect organic kitchen waste allowing it to be composted effectively. High levels of kitchen waste could be composted, actually giving back to nature, what originated from nature. Biobased drop-in polymers, on the other hand, can significantly contribute to closing the carbon loop, while maintaining the recycling option at the same state-of-theart level as a similar oil based polymers. 50 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/15] Vol. 10

Basics Closing the carbon and material loop by using the beginning or end-of-life options inherent in biopolymers is certainly an attractive way to enhance the general image of plastic packaging. With the increasing market penetration of bioplastic packaging, consumer awareness will shift from the negative waste dimension associated with conventional plastic packaging to the more positive aspects of packaging. In conclusion, biopolymer packaging solutions have a great potential to be perceived in a very positive way – completely altering the consumers opinion to appreciating the genuine properties and functionalities and showing that plastic packaging is indispensable in todays advanced world. Bioplastic packaging extends the positive functionalities of plastic packaging while avoiding the negatives associated with the waste created by conventional plastic packaging. From this aspect, biopolymers can make the difference! Spectra Packaging – Innovative bioplastic packaging solutions An example of such biopolymer driven innovation and differentiation is given by Spectra Packaging. Spectra Packaging is an ambitious, UK-based plastic packaging manufacturer which has chosen to offer Braskems Green PE and GLOBIO Bio-PET as one of their bottle solutions. This young and highly innovative company wants to demonstrate the diversity of their product portfolio and, as a result, is keen to offer its customers suitable biobased solutions. “The advantage is that we can offer our customers a sustainable alternative to conventional produced plastics with the same properties, performance and application versatility like conventional plastics” says Gavin Chenery, Commercial Director of Spectra. In addition, an important point is that both materials can be run on existing tooling and Spectra will not need to change the customer specific moulds or specially train employees in processing these new materials. Due to the similarity of both biobased materials with their conventional counterparts, both can be used in combination with recycled materials and be recycled with regular HDPE or PET without influencing the recycling chain. These biobased materials, Green PE and Bio-PET, can also be blended with materials such as recycled post-consumer packaging, thus making the overall product even more eco-friendly. Summary Biopolymers, by definition, offer a closed loop solution, be it at the entry into the material loop such as with biobased drop-in materials (beginning-of-life) or at the exit of the material loop with compostable and biodegradable materials (end-of-life). Innovative packaging solutions developed from these biopolymers can overcome the overall negative image associated with the waste generation of conventional plastics packaging. Bioplastic packaging innovations offer options for companies to enhance the perception of their products and packaging in their consumer markets. www.fkur.com www.spectra-packaging.co.uk Multilayer-packaging made from different PLA/PBAT-blends (Bio-Flex ® A 4100 CL, Bio-Flex F 2201 CL and Bio-Flex A 4100 CL) By: Patrick Zimmermann, Director Marketing & Sales Dietrich Albrecht, Business Development Carolin Ehrke, Sales UK FKuR Kunststoff Willich, Germany bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/15] Vol. 10 51

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