In a world increasingly troubled by the persistent harm that plastic — manufactured in petrochemical plants — has had on the environment, companies are investing billions of dollars to ramp up production of plastics made from natural, renewable materials that can be safely composted or can biodegrade under the right conditions. Bioplastics have long been used in medical applications. The stitches you got after cutting your hand slicing onions were likely made of a bioplastic thread that harmlessly dissolved into your body. But the nascent bioplastics industry envisions a far bigger role for materials made from corn, sugar, vegetable oils, and other renewable materials in the hope of grabbing a larger share of a nearly $600 billion global plastic market.
Wheat bran (WB) was investigated as potential filler for controlling the plasticizer migration in polylactic acid (PLA) / polybutylene succinate adipate (PBSA) binary blends (with 60 wt. percent of PLA and 40 wt. percent of PBSA). The migration process of three different bio-based and biodegradable plasticizers triacetin (TA), acetyltributylcitrate (ATBC), and oligomeric lactic acid (OLA) was investigated adding them at a fixed amount of 10 wt. percent. TA revealed the greater mass loss over the time as confirmed from the calculation of the diffusion coefficients. The addition of WB in different amount (from 10 to 30 wt. percent) revealed its tendency to influence the diffusion process in a manner strictly dependent on its content. The great dimensions of the WB, however, weaken the material suggesting adopting a preliminary dimensional reduction of the filler to mitigate the negative effect observed on the mechanical properties. From this study emerged the WB potential to be used as filler for controlling the plasticizer migration, thus suggesting a possible valorization of this waste byproduct in biobased and biodegradable materials. The research was conducted in the framework of the BIOnTop project.
BMW Group has announced a series of projects aimed at introducing more recycled and bio-based content into its packaging alongside reducing the carbon emissions across its supply chain by 20% per vehicle. According to the company, the new projects include increasing the recycled content in its packaging, using alternative sustainable materials, reducing single-use packaging, introducing lightweight packaging in certain areas, and reducing transport volumes. BMW claims it is monitoring the impact of individual measures via a CO2 calculator for packaging. The overall aim is to reduce CO2 emissions in the supply chain by 20% per vehicle compared to 2019. The group says it is aiming to increase the proportion of recycled material in its reusable logistics packaging from 20% to 35% for newly awarded contracts. The company adds that its recently developed expanded polypropylene (EPP) packaging containers, which can be adapted to the components being packaged, currently comprise 25% recycled content. With around 360,000 of these containers needed each year, using 25% recycled material will reportedly allow the company to save almost 280 tonnes of CO2 annually.