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Stop copy current plastic, it’s time to create new material !

Are you aware of new advances in packaging research and how it will impact your business?

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop at the #university of Lyon (France) end of May 2019. The session gathered many #scientific and #research organisations to present outcomes of current projects about #biosourced material to make #environmentally friendly packaging.

I was happy to see so many collaborative developments and I appreciate the need for research projects and a scientific approach ...

Packaging #manufacturers and packaging #users are fully aware about #biomass (=organic matter, especially plant matter) valorisation into bio-based raw material to make packaging, but, do we really understand the scientific challenges to build the most efficient collaboration in the value chain below:

Today we hear a lot about biomass and potential finished raw material (packaging) sourced from it but, if we want to replace fossil oil with biomass, I think we miss 3 considerations to generate the future of sustainable packaging:

  1. #Resource efficiency : Biomass is widely present on the earth surface but how to process it efficiently is the question and the research is working on it. In addition, we should maybe stop to try to copy the current polymers made from oil with those made from biomass : shouldn’t we focus on new opportunities and use new material with new properties, functionalities ?-

  2. #Biorefinery efficiency: this is the crucial step : replacing oil refinery with bio refinery : what about extraction & purification? Having the right #catalyser (metallic or #enzymatic) to make an efficient chemical reaction is key : this is the current crucial challenge to deliver sufficient quantity and affordable raw material for the chemical industry.

  3. #Recycling challenge:

  • For Biomass valorisation material, if we provide the same type of polymers as the current one, the recyling rate will still be low (globally 10% for plastics) - Sorting the different packaging and having them recycled is good to reduce waste amount, but it is not sufficient. They still use additives and need platicizers/antioxydants etc , and virgin material , energy are necessary.

  • Biomass creating new polymers : could be the real innovation of the futur, having their end of life returning to nature as fertilizers for growing new renewable materials (with no additives if possible).Anyway, for this type of new polymers, recycling infrastructures do not exist yet ( eg PLA, PHA) .

  • What will be the future of current recycling businesses and investment in this area if most of the new polymers have different properties from those current is maybe teh question to ask now...?

The sustainable solution is collaborative and necessiate the involvment of all teh stakeholders in the value chain… and is a reminder to us that there is still a lot of work ahead.



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