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Issue 06/2022

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Highlights: Films / Flexibles / Bags Consumer Electronics Basics: Chemical Recycling K'2022 review

Cover Story 5 th

Cover Story 5 th Bioplastics Business Breakfast during the K’2022 – Review Juliette Thomazo-Jegou Every three years representatives of the plastics industry pour into Düsseldorf from all over the planet for the biggest plastics and rubber trade fair in the world – the K show (see pp 34). And for the fifth time, for three days (October 20 to 22, 2022) of this humongous fair, bioplastics MAGAZINE organized the Bioplastics Business Breakfasts (B³). The fifth anniversary of the B³ was once again a huge success, with 125 participants from 27 countries, most of the hybrid event participated in person. From 8 am to 12:30 pm the delegates used the opportunity to listen to and discuss high-class presentations and benefited from a unique networking opportunity hosted in Congress Centre Ost on the fairgrounds of the K show. For those who missed the event, here is a very brief review with some highlights from each of the three conference days. Video recordings and proceedings are still available (more info at the end of this article). Bioplastics in Packaging Already in the first session, it became clear that the topic of Advanced Recycling did not pass by the bioplastics sector. François de Bie (TotalEnergies Corbion – Gorinchem, the Netherlands), a veteran in the field of bioplastics talked about not only mechanical but also chemical recycling of PLA. One issue often associated with chemical recycling, high energy consumption, is not so much an issue with PLA (see also bM issue 03/22 – Not all plastics are recycled equally). Next to François many other well-known bioplastics emissaries presented, among them Allegra Muscatello (Taghleef Industries – S. Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy ) who was on the cover of bioplastics MAGAZINE issue 03/22 in connection with another well-received event, the 7 th PLA World Congress. This time her presentation focused not only on Taghleef’s PLA solutions but also on their bio-PP which, for example, has a carbon footprint reduction of about 4 kg of CO 2 per kg of resin. She further explained why compostability is advantageous for certain packaging applications (of course not biobased PP) where the packaged product could contaminate the packaging as is the case with food packaging. Staying with the topic of compostability, the session ended with a bang of a presentation by Bruno de Wilde (OWS – Gent, Belgium), going into the ins and outs of biodegradation. If you think you already know all there is to know about biodegradation, decomposition, and composting this presentation might still be worth your time. Bruno has the ability to bring depth and clarity to the often still misunderstood concepts. In his presentation, Bruno compared the composting strategies of Italy and Germany in the last decade, and took, among other things, a closer look at aerobic and anaerobic digestion. PHA, opportunities and challenges Day two was all about PHA, and a session on PHAs would not be complete without the godfather of this biobased family of polymers – Jan Ravenstijn. Jan talked about the Global Organization GO!PHA and the development of PHAs going into more detail on PHBH, showing the versatility of the material ranging from uses in adhesives over nonwovens to blow moulding applications, and many more (he noted that materials like PHBV or P3HB4HB would show a similar range of potential applications). The potential in the fields of thermoplastics and thermosets was also discussed. He also addressed the elephant in the room of every discussion about PHAs – price competitiveness and production volumes and admitted that these are still areas that need improvement for PHAs as a whole, but that a couple of companies already claim to be price competitive. However, with demand outpacing supply by a huge amount prices are likely to stay on the higher side as it is a sellers’ market. Gruppo Maip also went all out serving not one but two Martinis, Eligio and Emanuele. The father-son team presented the newest developments of the Italy-based company. They talked about the advantages of the materials, but also about how to overcome disadvantages – which, in most cases, is through compounding. The Martini duo had many PHA-based product samples with them so participants got a chance to get up close and personal with the biobased materials during networking and coffee breaks (see also pp 30). The session ended with Hiroyuki Ueda (Mitsubishi UFJ Research – Tokyo, Japan) who pulled our attention from Düsseldorf to the other side of the planet – Japan. 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/22] Vol. 17

By Alex Thielen B 3 BIOPLASTICS BUSINESS BREAKFAST (Photos: Messe Düsseldorf) Events In his presentation, Hiroyuki talked about the roadmap for the introduction of bioplastics into the Japanese market and about plans to phase out fossil-based plastics in favour of biobased plastics including the increase of recycled biobased plastics. He sees huge potential in Japan to use PHA to collect organic waste and move these waste streams from incineration (which is highly inefficient with food waste as you are mainly burning water) towards composting, anaerobic digestion and biogas production – which in times of uncertainty about energy supply might be interesting for reasons that only secondarily have to do with the general discussion of material feedstocks and sustainability. Bioplastics in Durable Applications One noteworthy presentation on the last day of the Bioplastics Business Breakfast was given by Christina Granacher (BeGaMo – Hohenfels, Germany). She started her presentation by reminding the audience that while many in the room are very aware of what bioplastics are and the differences between biobased and biodegradable plastics, etc. this is still very much not the case for everybody in the wider plastics industry (let alone on consumer level). She also pointed out that the view of bioplastics is often very European, or perhaps western, in the sense that most people are not aware of the huge role of Asia in both bioplastics production as well as development. The real reason, however, why this presentation was noteworthy is how Christina shone a light on many different bioplastic projects in the field of durable applications. One of these, from the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Nomi, Japan), was truly remarkable. They created a lightweight biobased plastic with a heat resistance of more than 740°C – yes, you read that right, 740 degrees Celsius. To put this into perspective, aluminium melts at 660°C. It is the highest heat resistance achieved in plastics ever, not just in bioplastics, but in plastics as a whole. And the technique used in the process can, apparently, be transferred to other polymers to increase their performance. One of the last to present during the event was Juliette Thomazo-Jegou from AIMPLAS (Paterna, Spain), the second presentation of the research institute of the conference after her colleague Lorena Rodríguez had already presented on day one. In her presentation, Juliette talked about thermosets and the opportunities across industries that biobased alternatives offer – ironically during the discussion of the last Q&A session (that we could not record due to a minor technical issue) it became apparent that the most prominent biobased thermosets, biobased epoxies, usually do not advertise the fact that they are biobased, because they are cheaper and simply sell without having to deal with the often misinformed assumptions that go along with a biobased feedstock. On page 18 you can also read about a completely different field that Aimplas is researching – advanced recycling in the context of adhesives. The last presentation of the event was held by no other than our very own Michael Thielen (bioplastics MAGAZINE, Germany), who showed how quick he can be on his feet when a presenter has to cancel on very short notice. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Harald Käb (narocon – Berlin, Germany) could not make it – so Michael decided to present in Harald’s stead. Luckily, it was a topic Michael is quite versed in himself – bioplastics in toys. He freestyled himself through Harald’s presentation, giving the audience a decent overview of the recent developments in the toy sector, albeit a little quicker than Harald would have as he skipped one or two slides, in a making-it-up-as-you-go kind of presentation. However, Michael was, in a way, uniquely prepared for this topic due to his deep involvement with the bio!TOY conference which will be held in Nuremberg, Germany on the 21 st and 22 nd of March next year once again. Check out page 8 for a sneak preview of the line-up. Of course, there were many more noteworthy presentations, and many riveting discussions that started in coffee breaks and were carried into the K-show towards the booths of companies, sometimes even the joint booth of bioplastics MAGAZINE and European Bioplastics. If any, or perhaps all, of this sounds interesting to you fret not – the whole event was recorded and we still offer an “online-only” discount of 10 % for the video recordings of the presentations (including a PDF download of all PPTs). The video-recordings will be available for at least until the end of the year. Just write an email to | bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/22] Vol. 17 11

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