Editorial Feature

Latest Development in Renewable Thermoplastic

Recent years have seen a significant push in consumer pressure to increase the use of bioplastic bags. There is also the on-going battle with new strategies to combat the impacts of global warming.

Together, both factors are starting to change the way manufacturers develop their products with the aim of having minimal detriment to the environment. One particular material that is at the core of this discussion is plastic.

Bioplastics are typically made of polymer material that has been taken from natural bio-products including agricultural sources.

ENSO Plastics, a global leader of environmental plastics solutions, has introduced new biodegradable technologies – ENSO RENEWTM and ENSO RESTORETM. ENSO RENEWTM is a thermo polymer that has been manufactured from agricultural waste. With a 75% lower carbon footprint compared to polyethylene, making this product a key contender in global sustainability.

ENSO RENEWTM and ENSO RESTORETM biodegradable plastics by ENSO Plastics.

Being quite a robust material, plastics are important for providing functionality and are used for a plethora of consumer products. History has seen metals being replaced by plastics with the main advantages being that this material can be recycled and is cheaper to manufacture. However, plastic material may be stronger, but degradability becomes a big problem if one is to consider increased levels of pollution particularly in oceans and coastline areas.

Plastic bags have become a major pollutant on a global scale. Plastics that do pollute around rivers and lakes, not only disfigure the environment but can also leach chemical such as bisphenol-A (BPA), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) – plastic derived endocrine disruptors - into the water system that can cause pubertal abnormalities in animals.

An in-depth report on plastic waste by the European Commission  indicated that the world’s plastics production increased between the period 1950 to 2008. Though efforts have improved to recycle this plastic, a large amount of plastic waste remains a growing issue.

Plastic material can take years to disintegrate without the help of microorganisms because this material solely relies on mechanical stress, heat and moisture to break down. However, tough plastics can be a struggle for some microorganisms to break down and thus continue to pollute the environment. ENSO plastics, have addressed this issue by manufacturing organic materials designed to be readily broken down by microorganisms.

The main process involves the microbe ingesting this bioplastic and catalysing this process by releasing enzymes to weaken the structure of the plastic material. It is then a question of what impact the end product is having on the environment. Well, when completely degraded by the microorganisms, this bioplastic is transformed into a humus and biogas. This is rather a unique, yet eco-friendly approach by this manufacturer to help address the issue of global pollution and the carbon footprint.

Compared to a plastic bottle made out of PET plastic, the ENSO plastic material has been designed to maintain all physical properties such as texture and oxygen transfer rate hence keeping its shelf life.

It is not only the biodegradability of plastics that needs serious attention when it comes to global sustainability, but it is also how such material is recycled to help a greater reduction in the amount of plastic waste going to landfill sites, improvement in the conservation of the environment, and the race to reduce the carbon footprint.

There will also be a great deal of focus on how bioplastics will help reduce production costs with one particular method of choice involving the cultivation of Polyhydroxyalkanoates, types of biodegradable thermoplastics in genetically modified plants.  

ENSO RESTORE™ is the latest development of biodegradable additives offering superior improvements to biodegradable performance and process-ability/compatibility and eliminating the historical higher scrap rates of competing additives, creating a huge environmental and cost advantage.

ENSO RESTORE™ is a leading edge technology that accelerates the natural biodegradation without any disruption to disposal method or performance. ENSO RESTORE™ biodegradable additives work with light weighted packaging, thin film applications, and heavier injection molded parts in all major resin types: PE, PP, PET, PS, Rubber, Nitrile, polyurethane and more.

ENSO Plastics solutions are quick to implement with minimal or no change in current manufacturing. It’s quick and easy to integrate biodegradable technologies that comply with the recently implemented laws without difficulty or expense.

References

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