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Issue 04/2018

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Materials
  • Biobased
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  • Packaging
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  • Biodegradable
  • Germany
  • Renewable
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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1804

Blow moulding No message

Blow moulding No message in the bottle – NaKu’s PLA bottle offers a responsible alternative Established in 2007, Vienna, Austria-based NaKu has garnered acclaim for its use of innovative technologies in the development of sustainable packaging solutions. NaKu launched its first plant-based bottle for exclusive customers back in 2011 and has since built up extensive experience in meeting the challenges regarding production, filling and shelf life. “Our NaKu bottle is now used by special customers, who are breaking new ground in packaging solutions,” says Johann Zimmermann, Managing Director of NaKu. Conventional bottles claim to be made without harmful substances such as phthalates, Bisphenol A (BPA), antimony or endocrine disrupting substances. The NaKu bottle offers all of that, but much more as well. As it is made from PLA, the NaKu bottle is derived from 100 % renewable resources. Its uniqueness is due to the main ingredient, lactic acid, a natural compound that is also produced and metabolized in the human body. Non-toxic and environmentally friendly, lactic acid is naturally present in many foodstuffs, and therefore also edible (E270, consumption without any limit according to EFSA positive listing 2011). The PLA used to produce the NaKu bottle is obtained from sugar or starch. The bottle is about 10 times cheaper and 20 times lighter than comparable solutions made out of glass. It is the ideal packaging material for still water, fruit juices, smoothies and milk products as well as solid foods, including pills, herbs, sweets, nutritional supplements and much more. Even cosmetics may someday be packaged in PLA packaging. “For me as a (bio)plastics technician, it doesn’t matter which kind of form I produce. Of course I am also able to produce cans, container, basins, and bowls etc… whatever you need for your product package,” asserts Johann Zimmermann. The NaKu bottle is fully biodegradable and can be incinerated in a carbon neutral natural cycle. But PLA is also recyclable, which is the preferred option for the NaKu bottle in the future. However, until production of the bottles reaches the critical volume needed to make recycling commercially feasible , waste-to-energy incineration remains, at least for now, the best end- of-life solution. “Our aim is the use of natural plastics to design the next generation of convenient products satisfying both economic and ecologic requirements. Short transport distances and local production is the key to keep this cycle as small as possible,” Zimmermann says, thereby setting the bar high. To meet this standard, the material must have a minimal environmental impact and comply with the concept of closed cycles (cradle to cradle). The properties of the material used for the bottle are very similar to PET and it is easy to process on conventional machines. Hence there is no need to buy new equipment in order to produce the PLA bottle. Due to the 7 % weight advantage, fewer transports are required, and CO 2 emissions can be drastically reduced. Further reduction in emissions – up to by 50 % - is possible during the production process itself, as processing takes place at lower temperatures and requires less energy. The carbon footprint of these bottles is 75 % lower compared to glass bottles. 16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/18] Vol. 13

Blow moulding the bottle is the message! to conventional options By: Johann Zimmermann NaKu, Vienna, Austria The material is biodegradable under certain conditions. However, this should be communicated very carefully, as it should not encourage people to litter. Biodegradability is never an excuse for littering nor is it a solution for littering. Proper disposal, whether through waste-toenergy incineration, recycling (when feasible) or industrial composting where possible, should always to be pursued. The NaKu bottle is safe to use, light, break resistant and cheap. More importantly, it offers options for responsible disposal at the end of its life cycle and is the first plantbased bottle that leaves no trace behind, either in the body or in nature. In a nutshell: the innovative NaKu bottle is clear and bright, can be dyed and individual designed, it is stiff and firm, break resistant, safe to use, 7 % lighter than PET, suitable to food, stable to oils, fats and water. The bottle can be used at temperatures up to 55-65 °C. First transparent prototypes can withstand 90°C and NaKu is working to improve this. More importantly, being reusable, recyclable and biodegradable under certain conditions it offers options for responsible disposal at the end of its life cycle. And it is available for competitive prices. NaKu also offers caps made of bio-PE as well as compostable PLA labels and shrink sleeves. The bottle made of plants is the first of its kind that leaves no trace behind in the body or in nature. www.naku.at bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/18] Vol. 13 17

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