The latest news about naturally derived materials

In a market with more and more attention to the ecological impact of products, it becomes important to choose raw materials that have an eye for the environment and offer consumers the added value of sustainability.

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The environmental themes are becoming increasingly important for consumers and producers so that even the chemical companies increase investment in R & D for being able to effectively use naturally derived raw materials and supply products as much eco-friendly as possible. An example of this trend is the new generation of organic based polymers, on which are jointly working AkzoNobel and Itaconix.

Also on the front of packaging, research and news don’t lack: just mentioning some examples, innovations range from the development of a new additive derived from the olive for improving the properties of bioplastics, studied by the Centro Tecnológico del Plástico (Andaltec) and Universidad de Jaén, to the research conducted by a group of students from the Dutch University of Wageningen, that led them to realize an experimental biodegradable bioplastic suitable for food, or even to the Leguval project (http://leguval.eu/) that was recently completed and reached the goal of converting in films and packaging the fibers and proteins extracted from waste legumes.

Today, research on bioplastics is lively but these materials are not a recent invention. For example, already known and utilized is the PLA, derived from corn and used for plastic packaging and film, including shrink sleeves. Even the known materials are continuously improved, as in the case of this bottle realized in PLA without the addition of plasticizers and then completely compostable and 100% renewable.

The new sustainable materials can really revolutionize the market in the coming years, however, the biggest challenge that manufacturers will have to face is making bioplastics economically competitive since the “natural” plastic still has double the cost than the fossil one.