Packaging PHA PLA R&D and Innovations

Bioplastics Will Disrupt the Food Packaging and Coating Industry

Sustainable barrier technologies will replace petroleum-based barriers in the packaging and coating industry.

In a survey of industry experts, a study provided the following insights:

  • All participants (100%) believed that a sustainable product cannot be made from petroleum-derived materials.
  • Nearly all (98%) said that sustainability is important to their company and in defining its corporate strategy
  • An overwhelming majority (90%) believed that in order for a product to be considered “sustainable” it must be made from renewable materials and be recyclable. Ideally, the product should also have a low carbon footprint and be biodegradable

‘Drop-in’ alternatives to traditional petroleum-based barrier coatings will see the most rapid adoption.

The most important sustainable barrier platforms are

  • Advanced aqueous polymeric dispersions and solutions: Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) and ethyl vinyl alcohol (EVOH) already have an established position in the global paperbaord coatings market
  • Biopolymers – Polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)

Bio-based plastic barrier technologies have the advantage that they can be directly applied, with minor modification, in existing extruder lines to produce sustainable multilayer barrier board structures.

Polylactic acid (PLA) will make the greatest contribution to a sustainable future for paperboard packaging. It has high tensile strength and is suitable for food contact.

There are 27 PLA-producing companies with 32 worldwide locations. These include both start-ups and major chemical and plastics companies.

Other biopolymer formulations include:

  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)
  • Polybutylene succinate (PBS)
  • Polyethylene furanoate (PEF)
  • Chitosan-based films.

CLOSING REMARKS

  • Bioplastics will gain market share in the packaging and coating industry.
  • There won’t be enough bioplastics for everyone. It will be on an first come, first serve basis.
  • If you’re a retailer or food manufacturer, and your company is not yet testing PLA  … then your company is not very sustainable.

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