Italian bioplastics firm, Novamont, has unveiled a new heat-resistant compostable polymer for use with thermoform manufacturing processes used in products such as plastic plates, at this year’s Ecomondo exhibition in Rimini, Italy.
The company explained that the new polymer is part of its Mater-Bi® bioplastics range for the food service sector, which includes plates, cups, cutlery, bowls, single-portion containers, drinking straws etc.
According to Novamont, all of the products made using Mater-Bi polymers that can be disposed of along with organic waste and sent for composting by anaerobic digestion, thus reducing quantities of unsorted waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking to WMW, Monica Suragni, foodservice market developer at Novamont, explained that while the new polymer is not commercially available yet, it is in the final stages of development.
“We are making all the certifications for this product concerning food contact and compostability certification, in-line with EN13432,” she said. “The thermo-resistance is already tested and is around 85°C.”
The EN13432 standard states that the end product must be transformed using composting processes within 90 days.
“In Italy the food contact test is on the basis of simulant with water, oil and alcohol. We test the material for two hours at 70°C and we analysed that no toxics are in the liquid at the end of the test,” she explained.
Christian Garaffa Novamont’s marketing manager for source separation and recycling told WMW that the new bioplastics from the Mater-Bi range contain a high proportion of renewable and compostable materials from plants such as thistles.
Because the material presents similar moulding performance to polypropylene, it can be used to create opportunities in the disposable tableware sector, among others, to create products that Novamont said are guaranteed for their mechanical, thermomechanical, production and aesthetic performance.
For example, the high thermal resistance of the first Mater-Bi plate for hot food is claimed to be combined with superior mechanical characteristics, an attractive appearance and composting performance compliant with international standard EN 13432.
Bioplastic coated paper
Manufactured by packaging firm, Eurocartex, Novamont explained that another application for its polymer is a 100% cellulose paper coated on one side with a thin layer of Mater-Bi® making it water repellent and grease resistant.
It is said to be the first compostable food wrapping paper which, unlike other paper used for food, can be disposed of in separate food waste collection to be sent for recycling in composting plants and capable of being transformed into fertile compost.
Meanwhile, Novamont also pointed to work being done by Emilia-Romagna based Graziani Packaging, on MagicNet® - an extruded net made from Mater-Bi said to be ideal for packaging fresh fruit and vegetables. It can also be disposed of directly with food waste and then sent for composting.
Other applications of the new biomaterials on display at the Novamont stand included:Film for food packaging, including in modified atmosphere Transparent mulching film Coffee capsules Biolubricants for agricultural machinery and marine engines Bags for the separate collection of organic waste.
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