Natural Plastics

News about the bioplastics industry

Cardia Bioplastics successfully completes relocation to new purpose built factory and installation of three new production lines

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Cardia Bioplastics Limited  is pleased to announce that it has expanded its manufacturing operations by moving to an upgraded purpose built facility in Nanjing, China.

The new factory increases both Cardia Biohybrid™ and Cardia Compostable bag making capacity to 100 million bags per year to meet the increasing global demand for Cardia’s carry and waste bags, films for the hygiene market and custom products. With the launch of a new Cardia bag range aimed at the retail sector already in high demand, the factory is already running to full capacity.



Cardia Bioplastics China General Manager Jackie Chen stated, “We are thrilled with our new manufacturing facility in Nanjing. We are now poised to deliver the increasing orders that we have been receiving, whilst further growing the business. The factory is also a win for the local area with 40 jobs being created through the move.”

Cardia Bioplastics Managing Director Dr. Frank Glatz stated, “The move to the new factory could not have come at a better time, with the growing demand for sustainable bags and products with a lower carbon footprint, driven by consumers, brand owners, governments and municipals our Biohybrid™ and Compostable bags and films are a quality solution.”  Dr Glatz continues, “ Following the success of both Interzoo and APAS trade fairs we have committed to the purchase of six additional new film extrusion and bag making lines to meet further increased orders, doubling our current production capacity to meet demand.”

Cardia Bioplastics Chairman Richard Tegoni stated, “This is a major milestone for Cardia because it underpins the company’s capability to manufacture high quality finished products including Biohybrid™ and Compostable bags, film and custom products at a lower cost. The move to vertically integrate our business means we can better control supply to our customers and this will support our growth strategy moving forward”

Submitted by: Cardia Bioplastics

Biodegradable and stable in use now also food contact approved

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Perstorp is the world leader in the supply and technological development of ε-polycaprolactones (PCL) under the Capa™ brand name. Bioplastics is a core focus area for Perstorp and an important part of Perstorp’s vision for a more sustainable future, and its commitment to a greener environment. Capa™ thermoplastics are an excellent choice for bioplastic formulations especially since they are now also food contact approved in Europe.

In terms of biopolymers for bioplastics, Capa™ caprolactones is a tried and tested technology imparting precise and advantageous performance properties, which support both renewable and disposable bioplastic product development. Being both biodegradable and at the same time stable in processing and end use properties means, Capa™ caprolactones can be customized to satisfy the often competing demands of long-life, reusable and disposable bioplastics without any compromise. Capa™ for bioplastics offers real flexibility and the best of both worlds.

From stable to table
Capa™ for bioplastics (Capa™ 6500D) is now food contact approved in Europe and supports the development of many bioplastic products that end up on our tables. These products include shopping bags, drinking bottles, disposable & reusable cutlery and plates, and food packaging. 
“Packaging is a huge market segment with an excellent potential for bioplastics. The increasing demand for packaging made from renewable and biodegradable material goes hand in hand with the products we offer and the solutions that we can provide in this segment”, says Linda Zellner, Project Manager Bioplastics.


Biopolymers with Capa™ is a winning formula
Biopolymers represent an exciting opportunity to significantly reduce the environmental impact of many fossil based polyethylene and polystyrene products by replacing them with bioplastic ones. However biopolymers are notoriously sensitive to processing temperatures, which can weaken the polymer structure, change the color, and even burn them. The mechanical properties of bioplastics, such as polylactic acid (PLA), starch-based plastics and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), also suffer from brittleness, stiffness and moisture sensitivity.
Capa™ caprolactones’s many advantages make it suitable for PLA, PHAs and starch blends in both durable applications, to improve mechanical properties, and in disposable or one-time use packaging applications where fast biodegradation is sought. External tests have been performed according to the biodegradation standard EN13432 to certify the compostability of Capa™.
“Caprolactone polymers are widely recognized for their excellent biodegradability and compatibility with a wide range of polymers. Adding and blending in Capa™ with PLA, starches and PHAs overcomes many of the processing problems, and dramatically improves the mechanical properties too“, Linda adds.

Capa™ for Bioplastics really is a winning formula because it provides fast biodegradation, and acts as a stable mechanical property enhancer in formulations and applications.

Source: Radtech Europe

Beer brewing waste could help bone regeneration

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Researchers at the UPM and the CSIC have developed biomaterials for bone regeneration from beer brewing waste.

As a result of a research study conducted by researchers from the Centre for Biomedical Technology of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) and the Institute of Materials Science and the Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), all in collaboration with the Mahou and Createch Co., have developed biocompatible materials to be used as support for bone regeneration from the food industry waste, mainly bagasse (residue) from beer brewing. These new materials can be considered as an alternative to the prosthesis made from processed sheep bones or synthetic materials which are more expensive and more harmful to the environment.

image The waste obtained from the beer brewing process contains the main chemical components found in bones (phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and silica), that after undergoing modification processes, this waste can be used as support or scaffold to promote bone regeneration for medical applications such as coating prosthesis or bone grafts. The waste usage from the food industry is a great source of raw material recovery rich in chemical diversity, and simultaneously it can reduce the impact generated by the accumulation of waste in the environment

So far, the usage of synthetic materials as bone substitutes is the most used therapy for treatment of bone diseases. The therapeutic strategies are based on stiff porous scaffolds made of biocompatible materials to be used as molds. These molds will provide mechanical stability and will promote the growth of the new bone tissue that helps its regeneration.

The synthetic calcium phosphates are frequently used as matrices and coatings for orthopedic implants because of their resemblance to the composition of a bone. These materials are often obtained through chemical reactions of complex synthesis that use toxic reagents (for example benzoyl peroxides benzene and aniline) and calcinations at high temperatures close to 1500 ° C. As a result of this process, we obtain bioceramics but just after adding silicon through the hydrolysis of TEOS and sintering over 1,100 ° C.


The billing of the brewing sector was €2,990 million in 2012, almost covering completely the total production of malt and hops in the country. The most common products in the production process are bagasse, yeast and malt dried residues.

Bagasse is constituted by organic waste from malt, never experiencing modifications afterwards. This is the reason why bagasse is considered a subproduct, commonly used to make fodder and it is inexpensive. The treatments applied to bagasse residue in this research give as a result a new material rich in silicon, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. The analysis of this new material shows the presence of interconnected pores of between 50 and 500 microns in diameter which is similar to the porosity of cancellous bone. All this would facilitate the complete vascularization after the bone implant.

A first approach using cell cultures has established the biocompatibility of the materials by analyzing the cell viability of cultured osteoblasts in the presence of powder materials components.  Then, after compacting and sintering the materials that became 3D solid matrixes, the ability of bone-like cells to adhere to these materials were analyzed. Also, researchers analyzed how these materials proliferate and distinguish from the mature bone cells which are able to express typical markers of bone phenotype such as alkaline phosphatase and to conduct the collagen synthesis and mineralization of the extracellular matrix.

This research, developed by UPM and CSIC in collaboration with the Mahou and Cratech Co. within the framework of the INPACTO project funded by MINECO, reveals the value of these materials derived from the food industry for their conversion into support or scaffolds suitable for bone regeneration.


Ford and Heinz Collaborate on Sustainable Materials for Vehicles

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It might seem that tomatoes and cars have nothing in common. But researchers at Ford Motor Company and H.J. Heinz Company see the possibility of an innovative union.

Researchers at Ford and Heinz are investigating the use of tomato fibers in developing sustainable, composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing. Specifically, dried tomato skins could become the wiring brackets in a Ford vehicle or the storage bin a Ford customer uses to hold coins and other small objects.

“We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” said Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.”

Nearly two years ago, Ford began collaborating with Heinz, The Coca-Cola Company, Nike Inc. and Procter & Gamble to accelerate development of a 100 percent plant-based plastic to be used to make everything from fabric to packaging and with a lower environmental impact than petroleum-based packaging materials currently in use.

At Heinz, researchers were looking for innovative ways to recycle and repurpose peels, stems and seeds from the more than two million tons of tomatoes the company uses annually to produce its best-selling product: Heinz Ketchup. Leaders at Heinz turned to Ford.


“We are delighted that the technology has been validated,” said Vidhu Nagpal, associate director, packaging R&D for Heinz. “Although we are in the very early stages of research, and many questions remain, we are excited about the possibilities this could produce for both Heinz and Ford, and the advancement of sustainable 100% plant-based plastics.”

Ford’s commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle is part of the company’s global sustainability strategy to lessen its environmental footprint while accelerating development of fuel-efficient vehicle technology worldwide. In recent years, Ford has increased its use of recycled nonmetal and bio-based materials. With cellulose fiber-reinforced console components and rice hull-filled electrical cowl brackets introduced in the last year, Ford’s bio-based portfolio now includes eight materials in production. Other examples are coconut-based composite materials, recycled cotton material for carpeting and seat fabrics, and soy foam seat cushions and head restraints.


Research confirms next generation bioplastics could be made from trees

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A research project led by Biome Bioplastics has demonstrated the feasibility of extracting organic chemicals from lignin for the manufacture of bioplastics.

The results stem from a grant from the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, awarded to a consortium led by Biome Bioplastics in early 2013 to investigate lignin as a new source of organic chemicals for bioplastics manufacture, which could signficantly reduce costs and increase performance of these sustainable materials.

Lignin is a complex hydrocarbon that helps to provide structural support in plants and trees. As a waste product of the pulp and paper industry, lignin is a potentially abundant and low-cost feedstock for the high performance chemicals that could provide the foundation for the next generation of bioplastics.



The research was undertaken in conjunction with the University of Warwick’s Centre for Biotechnology and Biorefining led by Professor Tim Bugg, whose team has been working to develop methods to control the breakdown of lignin using bacteria and extract these chemicals in significant quantities.

The project has successfully demonstrated that bacteria can be effective in the selective degradation of lignin, and that the breakdown pathway can be controlled and improved using synthetic biology. Crucially, several organic chemicals have been produced at laboratory scale in promising yields that have potential use in bioplastic manufacture.

Initial scale-up trials on several of these target chemicals have demonstrated the potential for them to be produced at industrial scale, suggesting the commercial feasibility of using lignin-derived chemicals as an alternative for their petrochemical counterparts. Biome Bioplastics has also transformed these chemicals into a material that shows promising properties for use as an advanced bioplastic.

Scientists have been trying to extract chemicals from lignin for more than 30 years. Previously, chemical methods have been used but these produce a very complex mixture of hundreds of different products in very small amounts. By using bacteria found in soil we can manipulate the lignin degradation pathway to control the chemicals produced. This is groundbreaking work. We’ve made great progress over the last year and the results are very exciting.

The next phase of the project will examine how the yields of these organic chemicals can be increased using different bacteria and explore options for further scale-up of this technology. The first commercial target is to use the lignin-derived chemicals to replace the oil-derived equivalents currently used to convey strength and flexibility in some of Biome Bioplastics’ products, further reducing cost and enhancing sustainability.

Paul Mines, CEO of Biome Bioplastics, commented:

We are extremely pleased with the initial results of the feasibility study, which show strong promise for integration into our product lines. Looking ahead, we anticipate that the availability of a high performance polymer, manufactured economically from renewable sources would considerably increase the bioplastic market.

Industrial biotechnology, the use of biological materials to make industrial products, is recognised by the UK government as a promising means of developing less carbon intensive products and processes, with an estimated value to the UK of between £4bn and £12bn by 2025.

Source: Biome Bioplastics

New technology makes strong threads from cellulose

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Cooperation between Innventia and KTH in developing new process technology renders scientific successes and a wood-based material stronger than steel and can be used to replace cotton.

Results showing the successful assembly of fibrils from cellulose into very strong threads were published this week. The origin of the technology is an interdisciplinary collaboration with Innventia as partner within the Wallenberg Wood Science Center, which is located at KTH and Chalmers. Innventia also manufactured the fibrils used and is responsible for patenting the new technology. The new method is able to align the fibrils along the direction of the thread during the production process. This produces a controlled structure that can give extremely strong threads, which was demonstrated in tests at the DESY research centre in Hamburg. The structure makes the material stronger than both steel and aluminium, and can be used to replace glass fibres. The process can also be adjusted to produce threads that could replace cotton. The results are so spectacular that they were reported in the highly respected scientific journal Nature Communications.


Torgny Persson

"This is a superb example of successful cooperation between an institute and the academic world. And it doesn't just concern infrastructure resources such as laboratories and pilot plants. Innventia has had a number of people involved within Wallenberg Wood Science Center for many years. Daniel Söderberg, who is one of the researchers behind the published article, was employed at Innventia and simultaneously an adjunct Professor at KTH at the time of the work", says Torgny Persson, Vice President business area Material Processes.

Innventia will continue to work on thread spinning technology in Innventia's forthcoming Research Programme 2015-2017, within areas such as nanocellulose processes and lignin fibres.

"In the research programmes we are working together with industry in order to scale up and implement research findings. Thus our demonstration and pilot plants plays an important role", says Torgny Persson.

Source: Innventia

Avantium raises €36M Investment from Swire Pacific, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA

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image Avantium  has closed a financing round of €36 million ($50 million) from a consortium of iconic strategic players. This unique consortium consists of Swire Pacific, The Coca-Cola Company, DANONE, ALPLA, and existing shareholders. With this capital raise the new investors affirm their commitment to advancing PEF, Avantium’s next generation packaging material. Proceeds will be used to complete the industrial validation of PEF and finalize the engineering & design of the first commercial scale plant. As part of its strategy to use responsibly sourced plant based materials for PEF production, Avantium will validate the use of 2nd generation feedstock.

Follow on investments were made by existing shareholders Sofinnova Partners, Capricorn Venture Partners, ING Corporate Investments, Aescap Venture, Navitas Capital, Aster Capital and De Hoge Dennen Capital.

Tom van Aken, CEO Avantium stated: “Closing this financing round with Swire, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, ALPLA and our existing investors underpins their commitment to making PEF bottles a commercial success. PEF is a 100% biobased plastic with superior performance compared to today’s packaging materials and represents a tremendous market opportunity. Our proprietary YXY technology to make PEF has been proven at pilot plant scale as we are now moving to commercial deployment.“

Philippe Lacamp, Swire Pacific’s Head of Sustainable Development said, “We are excited to invest in Avantium, which has an impressive track record in developing breakthrough technology. This investment aligns with our sustainable development strategy to build and develop a portfolio of promising early stage sustainable technologies to reach commercial scale. The technology that Avantium supplies represents a pathway to the next generation of bio-based packaging materials, and has huge potential application for our existing bottling businesses.”

Yu Shi, Director Next Generation Materials and Sustainability Research at The Coca-Cola Company comments, “By advancing smart technology, we believe performance and sustainability can go hand-in-hand to make a world of difference for consumers, the environment and our business. Avantium’s breakthrough technology continues to offer a promising pathway for supporting both our efforts to commercialize renewable, plant-based plastics and develop unique properties for packaging to drive new growth. We are pleased to further expand our existing partnership with Avantium through this latest investment.”

Frederic Jouin, Director of Danone Nutricia Packaging Center comments: "We participate in this venture as we believe in the future of bio-based plastics for our packaging, with a potential significant reduction in carbon footprint and enhanced barrier properties compared to PET. With this investment, we re-affirm our will to launch a 100% bio-based bottle not in direct competition with food and 100% recyclable and our wish to accelerate this launch on the market."

Jan van der Eijk, Chairman of the Avantium Supervisory Board, adds; “It is a remarkable milestone in the biobased chemicals industry that large brand owners, such as The Coca-Cola Company and DANONE jointly invest for the first time in a company like Avantium. Together with the investment of Swire and ALPLA, it is clear to us that the market is willing to back winning technologies, such as PEF”.

Source: Avantium

Mondi Coatings develops sustainable collection bag for Nespresso

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Following intensive product development, Mondi Coatings has introduced an innovative paper-based bag coated with Sustainex®, Mondi’s biodegradable, compostable and recyclable biopolymer solution. The novel bag will be launched as a collection bag for the Nespresso recycling programme. Thanks to the biopolymer extrusion coating of the FSC™-certified paper and a sealing strip, the bag can be safely closed and sealed against moisture.

Nespresso introduced a collection and recycling system for used aluminium capsules as part of the Nespresso Ecolaboration™ programme in 2009 with currently over 1'300 recycling collection points in Austria, adding up to a recycling capacity of 84%. According to the company, recycled aluminium generates only 5% of the CO2 emissions that are associated with primary aluminium. In order to offer its customers the utmost convenience, Nespresso Austria asked Mondi to develop a customised collection bag that reflects its sustainability principles.



Ranking among the pioneering companies that attach strategic importance to bioplastics, Mondi Coatings has assumed a leading role in the development of sustainable packaging. Sustainability and convenience are key elements of this product innovation. The aim was to create a collection bag that perfectly puts the Nespresso sustainability commitments into effect. Mondi was therefore identified as the ideal partner for satisfying the strict environmental and convenience demands of this project. Within a short period, Mondi Coatings originated the perfect solution: a paper-based bag made of FSC™ (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper with a Sustainex® coating. The collection bag is made from renewable raw materials (up to 85%) and the paper and coating are fully biodegradable according to DIN EN 13432.

The novel solution offers utmost stability thanks to the rigidity of the FSC™ paper and the rectangular flat bottom. "The use of paper in combination with Sustainex® supports both the look & feel and the high environmental requirements that Nespresso envisioned," explains Michael Strobl, Managing Director Mondi Extrusion Coatings. Thanks to excellent sealability and its grease and moisture barrier, Mondi’s Sustainex® ensures maximum safety and tightness. Furthermore, the biopolymer coating is thermo-sealed and largely dispenses with glue, thus making this packaging an eco-friendly and biodegradable solution. "Both companies, Nespresso and Mondi, are strongly committed to sustainability and innovation," continues Strobl, before concluding. "Thanks to our in-depth know-how of biopolymers and various packaging technologies, we were able to develop a truly perfect solution in cooperation with Nespresso."

„Recycling of capsules is one of the major corner stones of the Nespresso Ecolaboration™ programme. As market leader, we value corporate responsibility and are proud of our independent recycling system. In close collaboration with leading experts, we want to make it as convenient as possible for our club members to collect coffee capsules. Thanks to the new Nespresso Recycling Bag we are confident to increase our recycling rate even more", comments Dietmar Keuschnig, Market Director Nespresso Austria on the innovative recycling bag. The collection bag offers customers maximum convenience – once the bag is full, it can safely be closed with the help of a sealing strip and then easily transported to one of 1.300 local recycling points. Both the bag and the coffee are fully compostable and the aluminium is infinitely recyclable – a perfect example of Ecolaboration™ in action.

Source: Mondi Group

Cardia Bioplastics launches new dog waste bags at Interzoo 2014

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Australian headquartered Cardia Bioplastics Limited (ASX: CNN) is pleased to announce that it has launched a fresh new range of Compostable and Biohybrid™ dog waste bags at Interzoo 2014 in Germany. Cardia has a long history of supplying dog waste bags to councils and wholesalers around the world and is now focusing on further extending into the pet retail market.

The number of dog waste bags used globally runs into the billions annually. Governments and pet owners are looking for a sustainable and renewable alternative to the conventional dog waste bag and Cardia’s Compostable and Biohybrid™ bags offer a low carbon sustainable solution.


As the world’s leading exhibition of supplies to the pet retail sector, Interzoo 2014 drives innovation in the industry. In 2012, over 36,000 trade visitors sourced information on the latest pet food, accessories, grooming aids and technical innovations in the aquaria, garden pond and terraria segments from more than 1,500 exhibitors from over 100 countries. In 2012 the global pet care market had a total revenues of $84 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate of 4% between 2008 and 2012. The industry has been forecast to reach a value of $97 billion by 2014.

Cardia recognised the immense opportunity for sustainable dog waste bags and is showcasing the new Cardia retail range at Interzoo 2014, as well as the capability to make custom pet products from Cardia Compostable and Biohybrid™ resins.

Cardia Bioplastics Managing Director Dr. Frank Glatz who is attending Interzoo 2014 stated, “With the growing demands for a sustainable pet waste bag with a lower carbon footprint, driven by consumer, brand owners, government and municipals our Compostable and Biohybrid™ dog waste bags are a quality sustainable solution.”

Source: Cardia Bioplastics