Promising advances in bio plastics industry

The bio-plastics could be the solution to the problems of pollution by plastic waste generated in the whole world, as these new materials degrade much faster than conventional plastics.

Promising advances in bio plastics industry


Food packaging is one of the main generators of waste in developed nations. Each inhabitant of the countries of the European Union (EU) generates an average of about 158 kg per year, which represents 19% of the total (about 15.1 million tons).

Many organizations are working to create new materials to reduce this waste and among them are biodegradable bio-plastics made from renewable materials or other debris.

Paper + bio recycled plastics

The firm Bio-Italian biotechnology in collaboration with the Tampere University of Technology in Finland has developed the first biodegradable packaging made from a combination of paper and other bio-plastics recycling product. The company says that packages developed as part of the project “MINERV PHA extrusion coating” are also recyclable and safe even for biomedical applications and for food.

Such containers are made with 100% of a biodegradable bio-plastic called Bio-on polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), which is obtained from waste materials of agricultural processing. The PHA has numerous applications of which is the substitution of plastics in general industrial micro-pearls are biodegradable ones that without losing impermeability.

The company claims this is the first time a fully biodegradable formulation has been used to make paper laminates without using film instead of merging biopolymers directly onto the paper in an extrusion process. The result is a recyclable container that maintains the functionality and aesthetics of the conventional version, with the added benefits of its components are naturally biodegradable and renewable.

“It is a great scientific challenge that we managed to create new products that are sustainable eco and the natural time,” said Prof. Jurkka Kuusipalo of Tampere University of Technology in Finland, who worked with Bio-ON MINERV PHA in the project.

“I’ve been looking and trying different types of plastic attached to paper and cardboard for more than 20 years. Thanks to that there is a great interest in the industry today, we can see a sustainable eco-tomorrow”.

“The PHAs made by Bio-On are very versatile and allows us to use them in new and innovative applications. Being able to do this with all-natural products, will put us at the forefront of research and development in the coming decades, “said Kuusipalo.

Marco Astorri President of Bio Italian explains that decided to work with the University of Technology Tampere Finland because its researchers were “very oriented industrial production, which is where it has become the largest number of technological developments in the history of packaging food and beverage. ”

Juice to the juice bottle …

Meanwhile juice manufacturers may soon use part of their wastewater to create bottles for their products. The prototype had been made with a polymer called polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) produced by microbial fermentation of sugars wastewater industry, as part of the European research and development project: PHBOTTLE (R & D).

The Bioplastic PHB is now available on the market, this being the first time it has made use of wastewater from fruit juices. Another type of waste food industry also used to improve strength and enhance various material properties as to increase rigidity, cellulose fibers produced from rice husks are used.

Moreover technology microencapsulation in PHBOTTLE prototype was used to create an “active packaging” where for example limonene (one antioxidant present in orange peels) is slowly released to retard oxidation of the juice in the bottle and extend their shelf life.


The bottle is also biodegradable and compostable. The researchers said their tests showed that in 9 weeks, the degree of degradation was over 60% and can be decomposed in composting plants. This far exceeds the expectations of petroleum-based plastics, which can take up to 450 years to melt naturally.

Researchers have noted that the project represents “an innovative and sustainable response to the needs of the juice industry and offers a solution for the future, on the basis of the circular economy”. In fact, the new polymer allow “waste” or by-products are converted into commodities.

The PHBOTTLE project is coordinated by AINIA, an international consortium including the Association of juices European fruits (AIJN), companies Citresa (Spain), Logoplaste Innovation Lab (Portugal), Logoplaste (Brazil), OmniForm (Belgium), Sivel Ltd (Bulgaria) and Mega Empack (Mexico) and technology centers TNO (Netherlands), Aimplas (Spain) and INTI (Argentina).

Promising advances in bio plastics industry

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