May 28, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World

Vital Materials – Technical Weekly

Vital Materials – Technical Weekly

reading time: 6 minutes

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The share of bioplastics in the entire plastics market is only a few percent. The benefits to the environment and climate are clear, but achieving production on a commercial scale and practical application is proving to be a challenging task.

Henk Tolsma

PLA – PolyLacticAcid or Lactic Acid – accounts for about fifteen percent of all bioplastics produced. It is a thermoplastic made from lactic acid derived from corn. PLA is widely used as a flexible and transparent packaging material for food, and also in the form of cups and jars for the same market. It is mainly transparent and flexible. Mixing lime makes it more difficult. Then it is called CPLA (crystallizad PLA) and hence it becomes more heat resistant. It is also compostable, in an industrial process at higher temperatures than a typical compost pile.

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The use of natural materials is as old as mankind. At first, this mainly concerned stone and wood, and later also leather, rubber, vegetable oil and natural fibers. Fossil fuel-based plastics have largely taken over this role over the past century. Now, because of the environment and the climate, it’s about materials based on natural products that push back those plastics. These new biomaterials can be developed and refined using modern techniques.

Reducing fossil plastics is only so successful. The share of bioplastics in global plastic production is somewhere between one and eight percent, depending on what is accounted for. European bioplastics maintains production of around four million tons, Nova Institute up to 37 million tons.