The externalities related to the use of plastics and plastic packaging are concentrated in three areas: degradation of natural systems because of microplastic leakage, especially in the ocean; greenhouse gas emissions resulting from production and after-use incineration; and health and environmental impacts from substances of concern. The total natural capital cost of plastics in the consumer goods industry is USD 75 billion, of which USD 40 billion is related to plastic packaging, exceeding the profit pool of the plastic packaging industry. At least 8 million ton of plastics leak into the ocean each year and estimates suggest that packaging represents the major share of the leakage. Not only is packaging the largest application of plastics with 26% of volumes, but its small size and low residual value also make it especially prone to leakage.
Most plastic packaging material in the market is sourced from fossil feedstock, not biodegradable and raises environmental issues. The EU proposes measures to encourage Europe to adopt sustainable approach to plastics including applying biodegradable plastics. For detergent tablets, water-soluble packing plastic alternatives have been developed such as Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH), but the usability of this product is limited as it is not biodegradable (over 8,000 tons of PVOH pass through wastewater treatment per year). Also, water solubility is suboptimal, resulting in plastic films being stuck in the dishwasher’s blades, filters, and pipes, significantly damaging the machines.
This project will tackle these issues by making a controlled watersoluble and biodegradable biopolymer.
The compatibility of the material with existing industrial polymer processing techniques, its controlled water solubility and complete biodegradability will speed up the adoption of B4Tips; a sustainable alternative for various packaging and product applications. The development of this innovative technology is challenging as the material will have to be made water-soluble and moreover meet high convenience standards for the end-user.
To develop this innovative product the consortium partners will combine their forces. Lactips has already developed CareTips®, a material sourced out of casein derivatives. B4Plastics will build on the knowledge of their current technology platform TriggerPlastics. The properties of TriggerPlastics are very tunable, through the implementation of B4Plastics’ polymeric architecture know-how. In this project the strengths of TriggerPlastics will be combined with the strengths of CareTips®, to compound a novel water-soluble polymer B4Tips with improved mechanical, and ageing properties that will allow us to capture a larger market share.
About the partners
B4Plastics is a Belgium based Polymer Architecture company (SME) that catalyzes the introduction of novel biomaterials and growing them from niche to bulk applications. It’s B4Plastics’ mission to push the old fossil plastics towards the New Plastics Economy by striking the best balance between functionality, ecology and cost. B4Plastics’ excellence centre has an extensive polymer library and a unique set of expertise to redesign plastics tackling the material challenges of various high impact markets.
Lactips is a French based company (SME) that specializes in the production of thermoplastics based on proteins, compliant with REACH as Natural Polymer and compatible with SUP directive. Lactips’ product, called CareTips®, is biosourced, water-soluble, biodegradable, printable, has barrier properties (to oxygen, fats, and mineral oils),
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