New Customized Compostable Materials

by | Apr 18, 2018

A Spanish consortium of indutry and science is seeking for new compostable materials for mass-market single-use products like tableware, packages and single-use bags.

In recent years, the legislation regulating waste management has focused on reducing the environmental impact in packages and their wastes with specific provisions that foster the use of compostable bags. In France for instance, a directive intens to ban the use of disposable tableware since the beginning of 2020 if the 50 % of the material used for its manufacture does not come from renewable sources and the materials are not compostable in home composting. In Spain, a Royal Decree project will force to spread the concept of biodegradable to compostable.

In this legislative context and in the absence of a range of materials covering the needs required by the market and being an adequate alternative to conventional plastic materials, the project BIO+ will develop customized materials responding to these needs.

The main objective of the project is to develop customized compostable materials for mass-market single-use products complying with the current legislation and with the same functional requirements than the products obtained with traditional plastic materials and with a competitive cost. For that purpose, tasks are being carried out to obtain the biodegradation of different products keeping in mind their end of life. Thus, for single-use packages and disposable tableware, which are normally contaminated with food scraps, a compostability in ‘home compost’ conditions is to be achieved. For single-use bags that wrongly managed may end in seas, a biodegradability in marine environment is important.

The consortium of the project is led by PICDA, a company from Valencia specialized in extrusion of plastic bags of different formats, and Granzplast, engaged in the manufacture of customized plastic compounds for injection and extrusion technologies.

In order to tackle the developments in disposable household items developed, the companies NUPIK, leader in the manufacture of disposable household items and Perez Cerdá Plastics, specialized in tasks of plastics injection applied their knowledges in single-use injected household items. The consortium is completed with companies addressing the developments in single-use packaging, such as Indesla, manufacturer of packages for the fruit and vegetable and food sectors and Thermolympic, a company dedicated to the injection of thermoplastics that, in this project, will tackle the development of packages for catering.

Moreover, the consortium has the support of three technology centres such as AIMPLAS, AITIIP and CETIM and the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), which will provide scientific and technical support to the companies taking part in R&D tasks.

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