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issue 05/2021

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  • Co2
  • Biocomposites
  • Nonwovens
  • Textiles
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  • Fibres
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Highlights: Fibres, Textiles, Nonwovens Biocomposites Basics: CO2-based plastics

Fibres, Textiles

Fibres, Textiles Nonwoven plant nursery bags A variety single-use plastic items are used in the green industries in agriculture or horticulture. An interesting application are plastic plant pot or nursery bag for seedling raising. “The green industry is the driver of plastic plant pot production and use.” It is reported by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers that in the US alone, large growers and nurseries each process tens of millions of plastic pots in one season. In 2018, the number of bedding plants sold in pots was more than 180 million and for potted perennials it was almost 150 million. The phenomenal growth might result in significant negative environmental effects from the accumulation of used plastic planting pots or nursery bags. The majority of these single-use plastic agricultural and horticultural pots or bags are disposed of in landfills. Although the materials are potentially recyclable contamination makes this difficult. Another challenge for sorting is the predominantly black material, which results in the frequent inability of scanners to distinguish the resin content. The challenge is obvious, but what can be done to improve this green industry? There are several alternative solutions for this planting pots or bags available. The Royal Forest Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Thailand reported that to fulfil their duty of providing and supporting tree planting for the country roughly 100 million plants are needed each year and those require a huge amount of plastic nursery bags. The department realized the potential plastic waste issue. In an attempt to reduce the usage of nursery bags it utilized BioPBS coated paper cups used in Chula Zero Waste campaign where the cup can will biodegrade in soil without the need for composting conditions. Today, the compostable paper cup that enables plastic free tree planting is joined by the nonwoven fabric bag made from 100 % BioPBS. The recent development has brought up the benefit of using BioPBS – a compostable biopolymer. The nonwoven material is perfect for agricultural and horticultural uses as it erases the need to remove the bag when transplanting, hence reducing planting time, the chance of damaging the plant root (improving plant mortality rates), and the amount of plastic waste generated – including leakage to the environment from this activity as they can be disintegrated in ambient condition. Apart from making nursery bags, BioPBS nonwoven can be applied in other areas of agriculture and horticulture, such as plant protection, crop covers, or as a landscape fabric, etc. By: By Abeedin Adulphakdee Marketing Division, PTTMCC Bangkok, Thailand Advance Nonwoven Vietnam or ANVIET is an international nonwoven industrial expert who is present in Japan, China, and Vietnam to support the Asian and global market and the first BioPBS nonwoven fabric manufacturer in the world. The company successfully adopted BioPBS as compostable nonwoven fabric which reflects their core value of not only delivering strategic product expertise but also bring the ideas about various use of the fabric and materials to life. General Director of ANVIET, Shinichiro Miwa, commented: “As the people engaged in agriculture are aging, it is becoming less labour-intensive. The insect repellent net is wound up after harvesting, but if it is made of compostable nonwoven fabric, it does not need to be wound up, and if it is mixed in soil, it will biodegrade, which shorten the work time and amount of labour. Currently, most nursery pots are made of polyethylene, and they do not biodegrade. They must be removed when transplanting to soil. At that time, the roots of the plant may be damaged, making it more susceptible to disease. BioPBS spunbond nursery pots biodegrade in a short period of time, so there is no need to remove them and the roots will not be damaged. In this way, agricultural applications are considered to be an attractive market for compostable nonwoven.” “In terms of processing conditions of BioPBS in our regular PP production lines, we found that it did not change significantly. We just need to lower the extruder temperature a little to be under 120 °C of embossed roll.” added Miwa. BioPBS can be turned into nonwoven fabric from spunbond process where it provides softness, flexibility, and good processability using conventional fibre spinning machine with proven thickness ranging from 20 gsm up to 100 gsm. Some other examples of application using BioPBS nonwoven are food filtration where it helps to divert food waste from landfills and in some hygiene application like diapers, medical gowns, or face masks. The possibilities are endless with BioPBS – a biobased and compostable biopolymer. | References: agriculture-and-horticulture 26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/21] Vol. 16

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