By Isaac Fletcher, contributing writer, Food Online
Thanks to its improved toughness, durability, and processing efficiency, a new bioplastic may soon be making its mark in the packaging industry. It may even allow manufacturers flexibility and efficiency not previously afforded through traditional bioplastics.
A leading company within the bioplastic technology industry has recently been granted a patent for an innovative bioplastic material called Floreon. Compared to other bioplastics currently used for food packaging and other applications, this new material is much tougher and easier to process. These advantages are critical in extending uses of bioplastics throughout the food industry.
The material is a biodegradable, polyester-based polymer blended with a standard bioplastic called polylactic acid (PLA). Traditionally, PLA is produced from sustainable plant feedstock, which results in a lower carbon footprint compared to mineral-based thermoplastics. However, until this innovation, PLA has been notorious for lacking durability and a tendency to degrade in strength when stored in warm conditions, greatly restricting its popularity in the market.
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Floreon meets the growing need for sustainable plastics while addressing issues presented by PLA-based bioplastics. The new material offers improved toughness, greater strength, and increased durability compared to PLA, but still retains its recyclable and biodegradable qualities. In the past, PLA-based materials have been limited in scope of applications, but with improved durability and strength, Floreon can be used in a range of packaging techniques to provide a wide array of packaging sizes and applications. Furthermore, with improved processing efficiency provided by the material, production time and energy inputs are greatly reduced.
Thanks to a rising awareness regarding the need to reduce dependence on fossil resources and a strong desire to eliminate waste and increase sustainability, interest in bioplastics has demonstrated significant growth in recent years. As materials become more advanced and gain greater ability to provide advanced technical properties, the demand for bioplastics is expected to increase around the globe.
Although the patent has so far been granted only in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, rising global demand for this kind of material, Floreon is providing optimistic about the chances of patent approval across other key regions, such as U.S., Canada, China, and Europe.