Image: Threads on bobbins in the textile industry; Copyright: Mint_Images

The rediscovery of plastics in the textile industry


The textile industry is in the midst of a green transformation, with sustainability and recycling taking centre stage. This change is being driven by a growing awareness of the environmental impact of textile production and consumption. Plastics, particularly synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon, are ubiquitous in the industry due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness.
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Enzyme-Powered Recycling of Bioplastics


Scientists at King's College London have unveiled a novel chemical recycling method, leveraging enzymes found in laundry detergents, to break down single-use bioplastics in record time. Published in Cell Reports Physical Sciences, this innovative approach promises a more sustainable cycle for plastics, traditionally seen as a challenge due to their long degradation period.
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Image: Rendering of the world's first biorecycling plant in France; Copyright: CARBIOS

World's First PET Biorecycling Plant


In a significant advancement for sustainable materials management, CARBIOS has teamed up with De Smet Engineers & Contractors (DSEC), renowned for its Engineering, Procurement, and Construction services in the biotech and agro-processing sectors. This collaboration aims to launch the world's first PET biorecycling plant in Longlaville, France, set to be operational by 2025.
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Image: Granulate of lignin-reinforced PLA, behind it an object made from the material; Copyright: KraussMaffei

Innovative bioplastic from KraussMaffei and Synergy Horizon


KraussMaffei and Synergy Horizon have jointly developed a new type of bio-based reinforced thermoplastic that prioritises functionality and sustainability.
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They see me rollin' - Plastics in bicycles and current best practices


Anyone who chooses the bicycle as a means of transport instead of the car every day saves the environment 3.2 kilograms of climate-damaging CO2. In addition, plastics can help to reduce CO2 emissions from the production and transport of bicycles. They can be used in all components and therefore make cycling even more environmentally friendly. This is shown by the following examples:
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Image: A stool is printed at K 2022 with the help of ADAM software; Copyright: IKV/Fröls

Digital meets material: a software transforms additive manufacturing


ADAM could redefine plastics manufacturing. A big claim, but not without reason: Behind the acronym ADAM is a software called "Advanced Dimension Additive Manufacturing" that caused a real stir at K 2022. The impressive result of this software in action? A high-performance screw extruder controlled by an agile jointed-arm robot.
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Image: Development of the bioplastic from asparagus peels to the test specimen made from new asparagus compound; Copyright: IfBB

The green side of asparagus: a new approach to bioplastics production


The asparagus season in Germany has officially been over for about a month now – but at the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (IfBB), it is still going strong. The "SpaPlast" research project shows how asparagus peels can be used as a filler for bioplastics. The project is funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection.
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Bioeconomy startup traceless receives millions in funding from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment


The startup traceless materials GmbH has developed the compostable biomaterial traceless®, which is considered a nature-based, environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. The project is funded with around 5 million euros from the Environmental Innovation Program of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMUV).
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Bioplastics become more attractive for industry


As part of project RUBIO, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP is developing novel types of the bioplastic polybutylene succinate (PBS). The bioplastic films made from PBS are recyclable, biodegradable and can be processed on standard extrusion lines.
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LAPP uses new bio-based plastic from BASF – Organic ETHERLINE® now available too


The company LAPP is using a new bio-based plastic from BASF for the sustainable version of its ETHERLINE® FD P Cat.5e for Industrial Ethernet. The bio-based plastic is Elastollan® N, the thermoplastic polyurethane from BASF, which is part of its circular economy strategy.
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CO2BioClean: Turning CO₂ into biodegradable plastics


CO2BioClean is using an innovative process to produce biodegradable plastics and polymers from CO₂ as a circularly sourced feedstock. What is driving them is their vision for a sustainable future and the potential of their technology to contribute towards global efforts to reduce CO₂ emissions and the use of fossil fuels in the production of plastics.
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Chemists redesign biological PHAs, 'dream' biodegradable plastics


Colorado State University polymer chemists have created a synthetic Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) platform. These newly designed PHAs are mechanically tough, even outperforming the two most common commodity plastics. Among other things, this is intended to address the thermal instability of conventional PHAs and is a major step toward sustainability.
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BluCon Biotech welcomes strategic investment by major chemical group LG Chem


The two companies BluCon Biotech GmbH and LG Chem Ltd entered into an investment agreement. Together, they plan to work on a novel process to convert lignocellulosic non-food raw materials into high-purity lactic acid.
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Image: Granules and filaments made of plastic; Copyright: Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau

Bio-based flame retardants for bioplastics in electrical engineering and electronics


Fraunhofer researchers, in collab with industrial partners, have achieved initial success in the development of bio-based flame retardants in bioplastics. In the future, it could therefore be possible to utilize plastics in electronics and electrical engineering that consist of 100% bio-based materials. Processing was tested by means of compounding, injection molding and additive manufacturing.
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Image: Sock hanger made of amber traceless material; Copyright: traceless materials GmbH

traceless: material made from plant-based polymers protects climate and environment


As early as 1908, textile engineer Jacques Brandenberger invented cellophane, a film made of natural polymers. However, the material was displaced by synthetic polymers with the development of numerous plastics. In the wake of the climate crisis, natural polymers are now coming back into focus as an alternative to fossil raw materials. traceless offers such an alternative.
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Borealis and REHAU accelerate circularity for furniture products with Bornewables™ premium circular polyolefins


REHAU chooses Borealis' Bornewables™ over conventional polypropylene (PP) for production of their RAUKANTEX evo sustainable edgebands. The robust and durable Bornewables™ feature color-stable chemistry and flexibility and are suitable for processing straight and contoured edges.
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New PET-like plastic made directly from waste biomass


Scientists from EPFL's School of Basic Sciences have successfully developed a biomass-derived plastic. Similar to PET, it meets the criteria for replacing several current plastics while being more environmentally friendly.
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Image: Plastic bottles standing next to each other; Copyright: twenty20photos

Braskem and Sojitz Corporation join hands to bring renewable MEG technology to the market


The two companies Brüskem and Sojitz cooperate within a partnership to produce and market the bioMEG (monoethylene glycol) and bioMPG (monopropylene glycol). This joint venture aims to promote sustainable development and combine the expertise of both companies.
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Edible, biodegradable, anti-microbial plastic boasts higher tensile strength than petroleum-based plastic


A research team at São Paulo State University (UNESP) made their bioplastic from type B bovine gelatin. Besides nanoclay the material is produced from clay and a nanoemulsion of black pepper essential oil.
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A previously unknown bacterial enzyme makes new type of biodegradable polymer


Researchers have identified a bacterial enzyme that can produce a new type of polysaccharide similar to the biopolymer chitin. The new molecule could be useful for drug delivery, tissue engineering and other biomedical applications. It is also biodegradable.
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New plant-derived composite is tough as bone and hard as aluminum


MIT researchers has engineered a composite made mostly from cellulose nanocrystals mixed with a bit of synthetic polymer. The material could pave the way for sustainable plastics.
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AlgX: from green algae to green plastic


With AlgX, the French industrial project Eranova has developed a product that responds to two global problems: Plastic pollution and algae pollution. It is a technology patented in 30 countries that allows the production of bio-based, recyclable, biodegradable and compostable plastics from green algae in the spirit of upcycling.
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New market data on the bioplastics market 2021


The Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites presents the new edition of its brochure with the title "Biopolmers - Facts and statistics" to show how the bioplastics market is developing.
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Made to degrade


There's a lot of plastic in the ocean. Much of it comes from the single-use items that we're all familiar with, such as food wrappers and microbeads that inadvertently wind up in the sea. But a growing amount is coming from plastics that are actually made to be used in marine environments, such as instrumentation used for an emerging ocean "Internet of Things."
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Plant from plastics?


Plastics have taken the world by storm over the last century, finding applications in virtually every aspect of our lives. However, the rise of these synthetic polymers, which form the basis of plastics, has contributed to many serious environmental issues. The worst of these is the excessive use of petrochemical compounds and the disposal of non-biodegradable materials without recycling.
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Water meets cellulose: Environmentally friendly plastic made from hydroplastic polymers


Researchers at the University of Göttingen have developed a new method to create environmentally friendly bioplastics from renewable raw materials.
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Degradation of biobased plastics in the soil


The idea of biodegradable plastics sounds good at first. However, very little is known about how they are degraded in the soil and how this is influenced by climate change. In two recent studies, soil ecologists have shown which microbial community is responsible for degradation, what role the climate plays in this process, and why biodegradable plastics could still be problematic.
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Microplastics from recyclable plastics on the rise


Recyclable plastic has been recorded on popular beaches and urban watercourses in Adelaide, South Australia – highlighting the need for more efforts to remove and reuse all plastics from waste streams, particularly in urban areas.
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ERDE Recycling fullfills voluntary commitment and collects over 50% of agricultural films


Once more, the IK initiative ERDE (Crop Plastics Recycling Germany) was able to significantly increase its collection volumes in 2020. At 543 fixed collection points and 1936 mobile collections, a total of 26,910 tons of agricultural films were collected and recycled.
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Breakthrough discovery: Plastics aren’t what we think


A breakthrough by researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) and collaborating institutions around the world could pave the way for better products, such as improved batteries, automobile paint and cellphone screens.
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Can biodegradable polymers live up to the hype?


As consumers and corporations alike become more environmentally conscious, the chemical industry is working to find solutions to the plastic waste crisis. One idea is to use biodegradable polymers known as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) as replacements for traditional plastic packaging and other materials.
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Röchling BioBoom: bioplastics make cars greener


Alongside many other industries, the automotive sector is also moving in the green direction. Electromobility is booming. However, plastics produced from non-renewable raw materials such as petroleum are also installed in e-cars. Röchling Automotive has recognized the need for bioplastics that meet the high requirements for automotive applications – and has developed BioBoom.
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'Plugging in' to produce environmentally friendly bioplastics


Bioplastics – biodegradable plastics made from biological substances rather than petroleum – can be created in a more economical and environmentally friendly way from the byproducts of corn stubble, grasses and mesquite agricultural production, according to a new study by a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.
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Walmir Soller

The Brazilian plastics market and Braskem's contribution to the Circular Economy


While the Corona pandemic initially had a negative impact on almost all markets, the plastics industry benefited in the course of 2020 due to the increasing demand for personal protective equipment, to-go packaging for food and household items. The chemical company Braskem is also noticing this development in Brazil.
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Image: An example of a replacement for single-use plastic in consumer products, produced by mimicking the properties of spider silk, one of the strongest materials; Copyright: Xampla

Vegan spider silk provides sustainable alternative to single-use plastics


Researchers have created a plant-based, sustainable, scalable material that could replace single-use plastics in many consumer products.
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Woodly Ltd. has raised EUR 3 million in growth funding


Woodly Ltd., Finnish developer of wood based plastic, has raised EUR 3 million in growth funding for the commercialisation and internationalisation of their product innovation.
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Historical experimental studio © PantherMedia/Klanneke

Do it Yourself plastic anno 1530


Instructions for the production of artificial cow horn. Almost 500 years old is the recipe for the production of artificial horn and thus currently the oldest known German recipe for plastic.
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Grass replaces plastic in take-away food packaging


Soon, packaging for take-away foods might be completely based on local, sustainable materials instead of fossil-based products. In a new research project, a packaging solution based on upcycled grass fibres is being developed.
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New technology converts waste plastics to jet fuel in an hour


Catalytic process to efficiently convert polyethylene to jet fuel and high-value lubricants
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Cleaning up the polluted edge of the world: Lindner and Comberplast recycle fishing nets


Presented at K 2019 in Düsseldorf and now used to clean up the edge of the world: Lindner Recyclingtech’s Micromat 1500. Circular economy pioneer Comberplast has been using the machine to successfully shred old fishing nets and ropes collected from the coast of Patagonia.
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Fraunhofer researchers develop recyclable, fiber-reinforced material made from 100 percent bio-based polylactic acid


The Fraunhofer IAP wants to develop a composite material that consists entirely of bio-based polylactic acid (PLA) and is significantly easier to recycle than conventional fiber composites.
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Chemists create renewable plant-based polymers


Researchers at the Laboratory of Cluster Catalysis at St Petersburg University have synthesised polymers from biomass. What makes them different is that they can be easily recycled.
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New biodegradable polyurethane foams are developed from wheat straw


Every year around 734 million tons of wheat straw are produced worldwide, a large amount of waste, which is cheap and has had no well-defined use until now. Recently, research groups at the University of Córdoba have been able to give a new use to this agricultural excess material, by using it as the foundation in order to manufacture polyurethane foams.
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The expanding possibilities of bio-based polymers


Finding innovative and sustainable solutions to our material needs is one of the core objectives of green chemistry. The myriad plastics that envelop our daily life – from mattresses to food and cars - are mostly made from oil-based monomers which are the building blocks of polymers.
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Close-up foil

Looking for new packaging materials


In a joint research project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS and the technical film producer POLIFILM Extrusion GmbH, are working to engineer biopolymer-based films for food packaging. In this project, the specialists relied on chitosan coatings to increase the resistance of food to microbiological impacts.
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Pacifier biosensor could help monitor newborn health


Wearable biosensors that non-invasively monitor health and fitness are growing in popularity among adults. But adapting this technology for use with babies is difficult because the devices are often bulky or have rigid surfaces that could harm infants' delicate skin. Now researchers say they have developed a pacifier-based biosensor that tracks real-time glucose levels in saliva.
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