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issue 02/2021

  • Text
  • Balance
  • Moulding
  • Carbon
  • Recycling
  • Plastics
  • Sustainable
  • Products
  • Renewable
  • Biobased
  • Packaging
  • Materials
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Injection Moulding Basics: Mass Balance

Cover-Story advertorial

Cover-Story advertorial The second life of organic residues Sustainable compounds incorporating agro-industrial scraps Despite appearances, agro-industrial organic residues are valuable and precious materials that can contribute to the sustainable conversion of highly polluting industries. This is exactly what the Italian startup Mixcycling Srl (a spin-off of Labrenta, a leading brand in liquid closures) discovered. Founded a year ago in February 2020 in Breganze (Vicenza), this start-up is dedicated to the valorisation of agro-industrial scraps, like cork residues, wood splinters, rice husks, or the bran expelled from wheat. After treatment and refinement these fibres are blended with polymers through a patented process creating an innovative material with low environmental impact, ideally applicable as a sustainable solution in every sector where plastics are currently used. Mixcycling has taken this step based on three factors: • 1. Organic waste accumulates in enormous quantities, especially in areas like Breganze – where Mixcycling’s headquarter is located – the heart of the agricultural area of Veneto, full of wine cellars, industrial dairies, and livestock farms. • 2. Most companies that generate organic residues (such as furniture manufacturers or food producers) do not know what to do with them and end up spending money on their disposal. • 3. The business prospects generated by organic waste are concrete, manifold, and can be applied to a wide range of sectors. They can be used in a massive, profitable, and sustainable way to produce bioplastics. Life Cycle Assessment on Mixcycling materials Mixcycling gained fast recognition due to a regime of total transparency, by giving a detailed account of the environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life analysed through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), with cradle-to-gate system boundaries. The results of the study showcased that, compared to virgin polymers, Mixcycling’s PP-based materials have a 73 % lower carbon footprint, produce 71 % less photochemical oxidants, and deplete 77 % less fossil resources. Therefore, the use of organic waste as secondary raw material through Mixcycling ® impacts the environment less than conventional materials – the degree of this advantage depends on the amount of organic waste used. The patented process Due to a special process the adhesion between fibres and matrix is very strong. This leads to a compact and strong final Mixcycling product. These qualities are guaranteed by significantly reducing the amount of plastic component, by replacing them with organic fibres. This can be done through a patented process where, firstly, the organic fibres are selected, treated, and refined to obtain different particle sizes. And secondly, by blending the fibres with virgin, recycled, or biobased polymers. The resulting compound is then activated by a clinging additive and sanitized using a non-thermal plasma technology. The blend is subsequently extruded, and the pellets resulting from the extrusion are sanitized once again to remove all the volatile organic compounds. Tailor-made Mixcycling materials are created using a tailor-made approach. Based on the client’s needs, a fibre with suitable technical properties is combined with either recycled, virgin, or biobased polymers. Mixcycling’s tailor-made philosophy doesn’t only consider the material’s composition, but also the type of production site the client has. There is no need to rearrange, adapt, or improve the equipment of the final user, as the Mixcycling products can be applied to every injection moulding system, as well as 3D-polymer printers. Partnership with Livingcap Srl A first important partnership has been established with Livingcap Srl, another company from Breganze dedicated to the production of packaging for cosmetics and sustainable design objects. Livingcap has always pursued its mission in the context of a territory whose cultural DNA has been nourished by the themes of nature, form, and beauty. Values that Mixcycling shares as well, which is why Livingcap welcomed this new partnership immediately. Mixcycling’s materials made it possible for Livingcap to offer unique products with a low environmental impact, contributing in an original way to shape a sustainable world. The synergy between the two brands, resulted in the production of commercial items such as the biodegradable Corky Toys for pets, as well as eco-friendly packaging solutions for the cosmetics sector. “Shaping ideas naturally” is Livingcap’s motto, a declaration of intent that finds concrete application in the 28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/21] Vol. 16

Recycling lip balm of the German brand Kneipp whose packaging has been the idea and design of Corpack GmbH in collaboration with Livingcap, utilizing Sughera for the first time ever in cosmetic packaging. This product optimises cork waste and has been recognized as a benchmark in the sector, after winning the Verpackungspreis award for best sustainable solution. Additionally, Corpack has chosen Mixcycling Sughera for a special line of sustainable packaging for personal care and makeup. In addition to the low environmental impact offered by this packaging innovation, the market appreciates the unique, natural aesthetic effect and comfortable tactile sensation offered by Mixcycling Sughera packaging components. Sughera Mixcycling Sughera is one of the most successful and popular Mixcycling blends. It is made up of 70 % cork and 30 % synthetic rubber, the high-cork fibre content leads to technical properties such as thermal insulation and high resistance to impact and compression. Cork can also play a relevant role in sustainable development because it is a natural, renewable, recyclable, and non-toxic resource with exceptionally good environmental qualities. The result is a natural material, with the soft, spongy, tactile pleasantness for which cork is known for, and which, in the case of Mixcycling, comes from the bark of protected Portuguese oaks. Other Mixcycling blends are proposed by Livingcap for the production of packaging elements. For example; Bio Vinum, composed of a mixture of grape pomace and bioplastics such as PLA, PHA, or others; Bio Lignum, obtained using discarded local wood scraps; or Bio Lolla, a blend recommended for its eco-friendly qualities containing discarded rice husks. The competitiveness of these Mixcycling products is guaranteed by three added values: • lower energy consumption in the processes • lower consumption of non-renewable material, and • a reduction of polluting emissions. Both Mixcycling and Livingcap are inspired by the 2030 Agenda, by adopting circular and bioeconomy concepts to ensure the responsible use of resources and to guarantee sustainable consumption and production patterns. www.mixcycling.com | www.livingcap.com Gianni Tagliapietra, CEO of Mixcycling (left) and Alessa Zanin, Sales Director of Livingcap (right) bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/21] Vol. 16 29

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