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Issue 03/2022

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  • Healthcare
  • Beauty
  • Injection moulding
  • Renewable carbon
  • Biodegradable
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  • Biobased
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Highlights: Injection Moulding Beauty & Healthcare Basics: Biocompatibility of PHA Starch

Beauty & Healthcare

Beauty & Healthcare It’s not just what’s on the inside that counts Sustainable packaging materials provide strategic value Setting the new material standard The growing awareness of unintended consequences of conventional plastics has forced key players of the beauty industry to reevaluate materials they use, e.g. by replacing fossil-based plastics with renewable, more sustainable alternatives. Recycling and reusing alone can’t tackle the problems caused by rising plastics production volumes. In addition to the threats to climate and biodiversity, microplastics have entered our food chain to such a degree that we eat the equivalent of a credit card (5g), every week [1]. Yet, the challenge with cosmetics packaging has been the demanding technical requirements. Around 90 % of the cosmetics market consists of water-based emulsions, but there has been no suitable packaging material that biodegrades without leaving permanent microplastics behind, until last year, when Sulapac launched a barrier solution for them [2]. Furthermore, this material doesn’t compromise aesthetics, a must for the beauty industry. In fact, the Sulapac materials’ unique look and feel are even considered a competitive advantage that makes packaging stand out. They are made of wood chips from industrial side-streams and responsibly sourced plantbased binders. The texture of the composites reveals these fibres embedded within them. They can be seen, for example, on the packaging of Ulé, a new conscious beauty brand by Shiseido (Tokyo, Japan – see also our news 13.05.22). All Ulé products have lids made with Sulapac materials, and they have utilized the Sulapac barrier innovation. This launch marks the largest product range to date using Sulapac’s solutions. Efficient transition towards a plastic waste-free future The collaboration between Ulé, Shiseido and Sulapac moved very fast from initial discussions to packaging development and testing, and final approval for the spring launch. In the cosmetics industry, the development of new products and their packaging is often an endeavour that can take several years. Finally, there are novel dropin solution materials, like Sulapac, that enable efficient, eco-friendly packaging development. New packaging can be achieved even within a year. By Mari Saario Sustainability Director of Sulapac Helsinki, Finland Consumers have truly sustainable options at last Most importantly, once there are truly eco-friendly products in the market, consumers have options to choose from. Eco-conscious brands focusing on natural and clean beauty were among the first to turn to sustainable packaging solutions. They have also been a keyway for independent, emerging luxury brands to make a statement about their mission and values. Now, the trend is beginning to expand to mainstream and luxury brands. At the beginning of this year, an important milestone was seen when the house of CHANEL (London, UK) launched N°1 de CHANEL. Its eco-design packaging includes sustainable Sulapac material (see bM 06/21). Value of being a forerunner Novel packaging materials enable a holistic approach to sustainability, and brands understand that it’s not just what’s on the inside that counts. For example, most companies have ambitious goals to reduce their carbon footprint. In addition to helping to combat the plastic waste problem, they can keep their carbon cycle in balance by using renewable materials instead of just compensating emissions. As trees and plants grow, the main components of renewable materials like Sulapac, they absorb CO 2 from the atmosphere via photosynthesis. When Sulapac biodegrades into CO 2 , water, and biomass, its carbon cycle stays in balance with nature – while fossil-based plastics only add more CO 2 to the atmosphere. A publicly available third-party certified study demonstrates Sulapac’s low carbon footprint. This recent LCA showed that the carbon footprint of Sulapac materials is a lot more sustainable than conventional plastics. And even in case of incineration with energy recovery, Sulapac material does not cause hazardous emissions or remnants in ashes, which are possible to recycle as nutrients or filler materials. Carbon capture and power-to-x solutions producing renewable fuels are future possibilities, which also serve carbon-neutral recovery of novel bio-based materials. In conclusion, sustainable materials help brands to position themselves as a forerunner in sustainability and innovation. [1] [2] (cradle-to-gate – incl. biogenic carbon) Sulapac Universal is 0,09 kgCO 2 eq./kg Sulapac Premium 0,21 kgCO 2 eq./kg HDPE 1,70 kgCO 2 eq./kg data by Plastics Europe HDPE 1,80 kgCO 2 eq./kg data by GPCA PP 1,95 kgCO 2 eq./kg data by Plastics Europe PP 1,63 kgCO 2 eq./kg data by GPCA (cradle-to-grave – incineration) Sulapac Universal is 1,8 kgCO 2 eq Sulapac Premium 2,0 kgCO 2 eq./kg HDPE 4,8–4,9 kgCO 2 eq./kg PP 4,7–5,0 kgCO 2 eq./kg 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/22] Vol. 17

PA11 for medical applications The rise of a new advanced bio-circular medical polymer for metal replacement F rench advanced materials leader Arkema has just launched a new biobased and recyclable medical polymer poised to disrupt the surgical tools market With its new glass fibre reinforced Rilsan ® MED GF Polyamide 11, Arkema offers the medical market an advanced polymer that can finally meet all the requirements of surgical tool producers such as: • Biocompatibility • As high performing as metal • Easy to process • Allowing for a perfect finish • High resistance to chemical agents • Biobased • Recyclable Sustainable raw materials for a sustainable polymer Arkema’s advanced bio-circular materials have a long, proven legacy in some of the world’s most demanding applications. These biobased, recyclable polymers are derived from Arkema’s flagship amino-11 chemistry, which in turn, is derived from the oil of the renewable castor bean. Consequently, the Polyamide 11 used to produce this material comprises more than 98 % biobased carbon, according to ASTM 6866. Full Life Cycle Assessment available on demand. Castor beans originate mainly in India. They do not compete directly with the food chain. They are grown only in the poorest soils; they do not cause deforestation and their irrigation benefits from the natural monsoon phenomena. It is a profitable crop. To strengthen its commitment to more sustainable castor farming, Arkema has launched with its partners the PRAGATI initiative, designed to help the Indian farmers improve their agricultural practices, water management, and enabling better health and safety while respecting human rights. An advanced polymer offering best in class performances for metal replacement Formulated with a high content of glass fibres, this new Rilsan MED GF PA 11 displays a tensile modulus of 19 GPa, making it a perfect fit to replace metal for the production of highly demanding surgical tools. Compared to reinforced polyacrylamide (PARA), used for the manufacture of surgical tools, Rilsan MED GF PA 11 requires lower mould temperatures and injection pressures. Those properties helped early adopters to switch materials extremely easily and to decrease their cycle times significantly whilst maintaining component integrity. Furthermore, this new Rilsan MED GF PA 11 exhibits excellent chemical resistance: Results in Table 1 demonstrate the qualitative performance of chemical resistance based on surface aspect (the appearance of cracks) and colouration. Environmental stress cracking indicator Bleach H 2 O 2 Rilsan MED GF PA11 Table 1: Chemical resistance resistance tests were performed using an elliptical Bergen Jug, which applied a range of strains to a single bar and injected plates immersed into the indicated chemical agent at 23°C for 24 hours. Table 2 shows also excellent sterilization resistance opening new doorways and opportunities for the development of sustainable reusable surgical tools and for the replacement of petroleum-based polymers. Rilsan MED GF PA11 Table 1: Chemical resistance +++: Suitable – No change ++: Suitable – Change in colour but no change in mechanical performance o: Not suitable Finally, the biocompatibility of this new product has been successfully assessed according to USP Class VI, ISO 10993-4, ISO 10993-5 and ISO 10993-10 standards. Endless possibilities for the end-of-life Mindful of the end-of-life of its products, Arkema has invested in recycling capabilities, and more specifically in mechanical recycling capabilities as being the most environmentally efficient process. Indeed, mechanical recycling allows decreasing the climate change impact of its Rilsan Polyamide 11 by roughly 70 % compared to nonrecycled Rilsan Polyamide 11 (kg eq. CO 2 /kg according to ISO 14040 standard; 100 % recycled vs. virgin material), which climate change impact is already more than 40 % lower than a traditional petroleum-based Polyamide 12. Arkema has been working with partners to either recycle those polymers into close loops, to be used again by the same customer or industry (one example of this is with On Running, see bM 06/20, 05/21), or in open loops, meaning by different customers or industries who wish to purchase post-consumer materials. AT IPA Phenol QAC Ether Detergent DMSO +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ +++ Steam (100 cycles) 121°C 30min 1bar 134°C 12min 1bar Gamma Ethylene Oxide E-beam 50 KGy 50 KGy +++ +++ +++ +++ ++ Beauty & Healthcare bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/22] Vol. 17 21

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