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Issue 02/2019

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Packaging
  • Biobased
  • Plastics
  • Products
  • Materials
  • Biodegradable
  • Sustainable
  • Renewable
  • Compostable
Highlights: Thermoforming Building & Construction Basics: Biobased Packaging

Applications A five year

Applications A five year journey taken by Tetra Pak to enhance renewable polymer sourcing By: Julian Fox Director, Sourcing & Manufacturing Tetra Pak Lund, Sweden Reduced carbon footprint and positive impact By using renewable materials, Tetra Pak minimises the use of fossil carbon-based materials. Indeed the company insists that their renewable materials derive from responsibly managed sources to ensure that biodiversity, ecosystem functions and high conservation values are maintained, and that social benefits are created from responsible material stewardship. Since 2014, Tetra Pak has seen significant growth in the volume of renewable polymer being used, sourced from sugar cane in Brazil. The renewable polyethylene is used both for the extrusion coating of liquid packaging board (LDPE) and caps (HDPE). Caps moulded from renewable polymers are now deployed to 37 countries, mainly in US and Europe, and the use of renewable polymer coating also follows this deployment pattern. Traceability to source Tetra Pak’s position on biobased polymers is that they shall be wholly constituted from renewable bio-feedstock and always traceable to source. Independent third-party verification of biogenic origin of the polymer is through the certification system, TÜV-Austria ‘OK Biobased’ (formerly Vinçotte), specifying and validating the amount of biomass in a biobased product, based on the European standard EN 16785- 1:2015 in which 14 C content is assessed. The decision not to source ‘mass-balanced’ blends of biobased and fossil-based polymer was taken as it would not have produced a significant shift in the polymer industry towards renewability. It also allows renewable polymer to be traced directly to the packages. In the region of 35,000 tonnes of renewable polymer is currently sourced annually by Tetra Pak, and demand is projected to increase significantly in the medium term. Sustainable supply chains The journey to sustainable sourcing of this renewable polymer began in early discussions with the supplier, resulting in development of a code of conduct for bioethanol supply that was designed with the support of ProForest. Tetra Pak’s strategy for sustainable sourcing is wherever possible to use internationally-recognised and credible voluntary sustainability standards, certified by accredited auditors. This type of certification is already in place for the supply of liquid packaging board (Forest Stewardship Council) and for aluminium foil (Aluminium Stewardship Initiative); finding a relevant sustainability standard that creates positive impact for environment, social and economic criteria is the next step for Tetra Pak’s sourcing of renewable polymers. Packs w. bio-based polymers coating Billion packs Figure 1 Volumes of packs and caps with renewable polymer 2014 to 2018 * Bio-based caps Billion caps % of caps sold 10,0 15,3 0,1 0,4 14,7 14,6 0,7 11,3 6% 2,1 8% 2,7 9% 3,0 10% 3,4 11% 4,2 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 NC&SA, Brazil E&CA: TR, TB, TBA, TPA BioPE in Pack Mat: NC&SA stop Bio lamination on exports from Monte Mor & Ponta Grossa. E&CA over 50 % growth of TR bio based. Now 10 customers in Europe with bioPE on TB, TBA, TPA Bio-Based Caps: Stable growth, will increase more because of bio-based offer expansion on pack mat NC&SA = Business cluster North, Central & South America E&CA = Business cluster Europe & Cental Asia TB = Tetra Brik TBA = Tetra Brik Aseptic TPS = Tetra Prisma Aseptik * The fall in coating volumes from 2017 to 2018 was partly caused by a force majeure in the upstream supply chain 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/19] Vol. 14

Applications Eco Spacer for precast concrete products In the concrete industry, very considerable amounts of plastic pellets are used in the transport of the different products (e.g., when stacking concrete floor slabs or paving stones). The granules (usually LDPE) are used to protect packaged ceramic or concrete products from scratches and efflorescence. According to the instructions on the packaging, the LDPE granules must be disposed of properly after unpacking to ensure the granules are not blown away by the wind or swept into tile joints. Unfortunately, proper care is not always taken to prevent this happening, which means a significant amount of LDPE ends up in the environment, remaining there for hundreds of years, gradually fragmenting into microplastics. The market for granulate used for this purpose is about 500 tonnes per year in Germany alone. Such concerns about the environment prompted Biofiobre (Straubing, Germany) to look for a suitable material, offering the required properties in terms of pressure, shape, elasticity, etc., but that was capable of fully degrading within a reasonable period in soil to ensure that even if it were to end up in the environment – as seems unavoidable – the impact will be negligible. In addition, the material was required to be largely Biobased. Factory applied scratch and layer protection with a biogenic content exceeding 95 % rough ground. The granules can be easily removed mechanically with a broom and collected for reuse or composting. In no case was brittle fracture behavior observed. The BPB eco spacer VP 5.0 shows a more homogeneous pressure pickup compared to the LDPE reference, due to the homogeneous dimensioning (low variation in height). The product is now available to customers in Germany and UK via BPB Beton- und Prüftechnik Blomberg. In 2019, almost 500 tonnes of this eco spacer granulate are expected to be used, replacing non-degradable LDPE and diverting this from leaking into the environment. MT The newly developed “eco scattering granulate” (BPB ® ECO SPACER ® VP 5.0) is sprinkled between the stone or plate layers by an automated process directly before the flat shelf packaging. Without EcoSpacer With EcoSpacer The scattering granulate is a natural-fiber filled biopolyester product with a renewable content of more than 95 %, produced in a special compounding process. Due to its composition, it will biodegrade within a reasonable span of time in the environment. Moreover, it will leave no residue if industrially composted. When left to biodegrade in soil, the eco spacer granulate VP 5.0 will completely decompose to CO 2 , water and biomass within 2 -5 years. The high proportion of biogenic material in the first product, Biofibre ® Silva, was certified by DIN Certco according to ASTM D 6866 and the European standard EN 16785. The advantages of complete biodegradability are accompanies by a few minor limitations compared to LDPE granules. Product life between the concrete layers is not unlimited, but Biofibre says that, based on their experience so far, at least 10 months can be expected. The packages must be protected from moisture, ideally stored in a covered area with a cover sheet (REBA cover). The BPB eco spacer VP 5.0 is suitable for use under very high pressure loads. The homogeneous granule dimension with low height variation leads to homogeneous pressure absorption. Deformation of the granules was observed only after undergoing extremely high pressure loads (> 10 t) on raw material MAXI DELUXE BPB ECO SPACER recycled LDPE recycled LDPE bio-polyester natural fibres colour grey black beige size - - approx 5.5 x 5.0 mm diameter ca. 5,7 mm ca. 4,9 mm - height ca. 2,7 mm ca. 1,6 mm ca. 2,1 mm shape of granules bulk density water absorption intrinsic moisture durability between the stone layers biodegradability round round round / oval 0,494 kg/l 0,552 kg/l 0,536 kg/l 0 % 0 % 16,0 % 0 % 0 % 3,4 % unlimited None (fragmentation after 150 years expected) unlimited None (fragmentation after 150 years expected) 10 month (Covered area and cover film as protection against moisture) 2-5 years bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/19] Vol. 14 39

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