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issue 04/2021

  • Text
  • Toys
  • Toy
  • Carbon
  • Renewable
  • Biobased
  • Sustainable
  • Products
  • Packaging
  • Plastics
  • Materials
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Toys Thermoforming Basics: Bio-Polypropylene

Toys Sustainable fleece

Toys Sustainable fleece and faux fur Miyama’s PLA staple fibre for more eco-friendly fabrics An exciting new beginning for synthetic fibres is heralded by Miyama’s PLA staple fibre. 100 % plant-based, biodegradable and carbon neutral, it paves the way for a new, much more eco-friendly range of fabrics. Due to its low strength and flexibility, PLA is very difficult to spin into clothing textiles. But textile trading company Miyama based in Osaka, Japan, has succeeded in producing yarns and blended fabrics using PLA staple fibre. Biodegradable, whatever the colour One challenge with PLA staple fibre is its low resistance to the heat needed to complete the dyeing process. To overcome this problem, Miyama has worked with a manufacturer to develop a plant-derived additive that modifies PLA. This additive ensures that PLA is resistant to high temperatures while also increasing its durability. So, a key benefit of Miyama’s PLA yarn is that it can be dyed and still retain its biodegradability. Easy to blend with other fabrics Miyama has also collaborated with textile manufacturers to create fabric samples. Its PLA staple fibre can be blended with many different types of fibres and fabrics such as cotton, silk, wool, linen, polyester, polypropylene, nylon, and acrylic. This gives the opportunity to create high-functioning fabrics that make the most of each material in the blend, while also having a reduced carbon impact. Fleece and faux fur with less environmental impact Fleece and faux fur fabrics are notoriously difficult to produce, but Miyama has created samples to demonstrate the potential of its PLA staple fibres. One of Miyama’s fleece fabrics (see photo), for example, is made of 50 % PLA staple fibre and 50 % recycled polyester. While its other fleece is made of 50 % PLA staple fibre and 50 % wool, and Miyama’s faux fur is made of 20 % PLA staple fibre and 80 % acrylic. Fleece and faux fur are often made from 100 % fossilresource fibres. But Miyama’s samples show that, by creating blends with PLA staple fibre, the fossil carbon footprint of fabrics can be reduced by between 20 % and 50 %. Reducing or eliminating microplastics Typical 100 %-polyester fleece fabrics produce microplastics while being washed, which are considered a major cause of pollution in waterways. “Polyester is the material which hardly decomposes in waterways and marine environments. Although the speed of biodegradation depends on the water temperature, pH, and the types of microorganisms present in the water, the microscopical fibres of PLA that are shed during washing is expected to eventually decompose in oceans and other waterways,” as Dr. Terada of Bio Works explains. If PLA staple fibre is used for blended fleece fabrics, it will also reduce the amount of microplastics generated during the production process. Far lower water consumption The lighter touch of producing PLA staple fibre has the potential to make a remarkable impact on the climate-change agenda. It is estimated that it takes 20,000 litres of water to harvest 1 kg of cotton. While the amount of water needed to grow 1 kg of corn, the main raw material for PLA, requires just 6,000 litres of water. So, in comparison, PLA staple fibre requires much less water than cotton and could contribute to reducing the strain on water sources in growing areas. Valuable functional properties Not only is PLA staple fibre the most promising replacement for fossil-resource fibres, but it is also highly functional. A 100 % natural material, that is antibacterial, deodorizing, water absorbing, quick-drying, UV shielding, and flame resistant. This means any fabric woven with PLA yarn will benefit from these characteristics too. Challenges can be addressed by blending Although PLA yarn has a lot of potential, there are challenges to overcome. Because of PLA yarn’s biodegradability, its longevity hasn’t yet been fully determined. Currently, ordinary garments made from 100 % PLA yarn can last from three to five years, depending on the product design and how the garment is stored. By blending PLA with other fibres the durability of the final fabric and garment can be increased, however, this would mean sacrificing the biodegradability of the fabric. It is currently also difficult to produce and market a 100 % PLA fabric due to, for example, the high price point compared to fabrics produced from fossil resources. But, by blending PLA with different types of fibres, it is possible to create new fabrics that take on the characteristics and benefits of each material and have less impact on the environment. Hopes for widespread 100 % PLA yarn in the future With such blends, Miyama is in the transition stage of its climate-change vision for PLA as it works towards the perfect green stage. But it will keep working on the challenges and hopes that, in the near future, fabrics made of 100 % PLA yarn will be seen all over the world. MT Example of of Miyama’s fleece fabric, made of 50 % PLA staple fibre and 50 % recycled polyester 7-8 Most of the faux fur for plush toys is made by 100 % polyester. This teddy bear is made of a blend of 50 % PLA staple fibre and 50 % polyester. The faux fur also shows good antibacterial properties Speaker at Sep 2021 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16

Commitment to sustainable toys Toys Artsana (Italy), the Group to which Chicco brand belongs, has a clear purpose: working for a world in which giving birth and raising children are both desirable and sustainable for everyone. That is why the company is committed to building a better future through concrete and responsible actions and choices every day. This willingness is expressed by a strong focus on sustainability – actively taking care of both people and the planet is one of Artsana’s long-established commitments. With this aim, Artsana Group signed the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2017, the largest sustainability corporate initiative in the world. The company has adopted the Ten Principles on Human Rights, Labor, Environment and the Fight against Corruption, deciding to incorporate them into its strategy. Chicco ECO+ Line Taking care of children also means taking care of the world in which they will grow up. This is why Chicco is working every single day to safeguard the future of the world with concrete actions. This concrete commitment to act respectfully to people and the environment, for a better world, is supported by the new ECO+ toy line. The line was originally designed for babies in the first months of life, ten products belong to the categories of rattles and first toys. The clear intention is to also apply this approach to new categories in a sustainable and evolutionary development path for all children, from the first sensory stimuli to cognitive educative toys. The Chicco ECO+ toys were designed with responsibility and attention to product quality in mind, while respecting the environment. For these reasons the company is proud to guarantee a great playing experience for the family, making ECO+ toys designed and produced in Italy. The ECO+ line features refined and contemporary design combined with ergonomic and easy shapes perfect for the little ones. Its fresh colours are close to the natural world and they accompany kids to look positively to the future. All the toys have been designed to offer a total experience that includes the senses of children through visual and tactile perceptions aligned with the ECO+ line’s mission. The modernity and purity of the shapes help to develop the first manual skills, the material pigments make the toys attractive and natural, while the soft colours instil calm and tranquillity during playtime. Materials In line with this commitment, Chicco developed the ECO+ toy range: products made of bioplastic or recycled plastic limiting the use of fossil resources. Teethers are made of at least 50 % bioplastic from plant sources; details about the bioplastic material were not disclosed. Sorter and stacking toys are made of 80 % recycled plastic from industrial residues. This allows us to give a second life to something that would otherwise be discarded, avoiding waste. The packagings are recyclable and the paper used comes from responsibly managed forests. MT The ECO+ range is now available from specialist retailers: • Burt Teether – ECO+ • Owly Teether – ECO+ • Charlie Teether – ECO+ • Molly Teether – ECO+ • Owly Rattle – ECO+ • 2 in1 Stacking Cups – ECO+ • Stone Balance – ECO+ • Baobab shape sorter – ECO+ • 2 in 1 Rocking Dino – ECO+ • 2 in 1 Transform-a-Ball – ECO+ bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16 19

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