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Issue 03/2019

Highlights: Toys Injection Moulding Basics: Microplastics Mind the right terms Captured CO2

Applications This spoon

Applications This spoon does the rest! Whether yoghurt cups or jam jars, peanut butter, chocolate cream, bottled baby food or other packaged pasty food: significant residual quantities remain in all the containers of these products even after they have been emptied. In some cases, we lose up to 10% of the contents of food packaging, because their special shapes make it impossible to remove the products completely. When having almost completely emptied a jar, some of us will ambitiously try to take out even this last remnant. A normal tablespoon or teaspoon is not an ideal means for emptying a recipient completely, to avoid cleaning before waste disposal. The water which is consumed for this purpose needs to be cleaned at high costs, too. Additional resource consumption is the consequence. Thomas Griebl, a designer from Oberschneiding, Germany, who has been working for many years as movie and stage designer now developed the Balaenos ® - spoon. The whale For Thomas b i o n i c s should be an important aspect of design. This is very well illustrated by whales, whose bodies are excellently shaped for their natural habitat. For long periods they have been able to adapt themselves to their environment. With the aim of optimizing, evolution has thereby formed back a l l features which are not required any longer. The eponym of the Balaenos- spoon, the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus), even gets along without a dorsal fin. It is the only whale species who doesn’t have one. The idea for designing the Balaenos- spoon came up when “plunging” into the yoghurt jar or when “fishing” for remnants of its contents. Both the spoon’s design and function were inspired by this animal. The spoon Balaenos - spoons are made in one work-step from thermoplastic resin in an injection moulding process. Its special shape distinguishes this spoon from conventional spoons and it simplifies the uncomfortable gathering or scraping of remaining residual quantities. The spoondesign is copyrighted at the German Patent Office and internationally protected by WIPO. Inspired by an international major debate on how to avoid plastic waste and in view of the long-term environmental pollution by conventional plastics, Thomas and his team decided to manufacture the spoon from a biobased and biodegradable PLA compound. “By using biopolymers, both, we and the users, try to achieve the aim of a sustainable and ecologically safe use of plastic materials in the household and to reduce environmental pollution,” Thomas says. The PLA material used for Balaenos consists to approx. 70% of renewable raw materials and works therefore as a carbon-dioxide buffer storage. It can be completely recycled, used for energy production, or led back into the ecological cycle, after use. Of course, the material is FDA compliant and approved for use with food. The special compound makes the spoon resistant to temperatures of approx. 75°C. It is therefore not recommended to clean the spoon in the dishwasher, but better wash it by hand like other natural materials (such as wooden knife handles and kitchen utensils). The spoon is home compostable, if such a possibility exists. Mechanical comminution like grinding or rasping accelerates this biological degradation. The Balaenos - spoon is available in two different sizes. The two versions of the spoon are based on the usual dimensions for cutlery. The idea behind Balaenos is to design a complete range of everyday utensils which are produced as sustainably as possible. Their materials are derived from nature in a resource-saving way, in order to return them to their natural cycle at the end of their lifetime. The uniform design language evokes their models from nature and our contact with nature as an integral part of it. “Simple and widely used products, at best produced locally at low cost, sold via different distribution channels, will enrich our everyday life with new, renewable materials, and can substantially influence our attitude and our general behaviour towards existing resources,“ Thomas Griebl says.“ Much could be achieved when the special spoon on the breakfast table, the hygiene product in the bathroom or small office accessories create awareness that we are not consumers, but users, who think in terms of closed circuits!” Balaenos will be manufactured completely in southern Germany and customized and despatched in-line with customers’ requirements. Sustainability is also kept in mind for packaging materials, by using cardboard from grass paper and films from biodegradable PLA. Domestic production for the German and the adjacent European markets avoids long transport routes from overseas and multiple transport itineraries to the end users. MT www.balaenos.de 44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/19] Vol. 14

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