bioplastics daily news
  • AMT Coffee introduces 100% biocompostable cups & lids across UK


    AMT Coffee has announced the launch of a new 100% bio-compostable AMT coffee cup and lid across its bars across the UK, becoming the first coffee company to launch this environmentally friendly product.

    mmMade from the waste of sugarcane crop, the cup will naturally break down at room temperature and will fully decompose within one year. This is by far the greenest and best alternative to the traditional plastic lined cup and plastic lid, served by many other coffee retailers. The new technology will help reduce an estimated 2.5 billion coffee cups sent to waste entering landfill every year and will help save countless amounts of trees.

    The new 12oz biocompostable AMT cups and lids are lined with BioPBS (recycled sugar cane crop waste) which breaks down entirely in ambient temperatures- in contrast to regular coffee cups lined with PLA or PE.

    “It has taken years of research and development to source a fully biocompostable coffee cup and lid,” said Alistair McCallum-Toppin, A Founder and Managing Director of AMT Coffee. “Thanks to new green-focused technology and our demand for change, we are delighted to introduce our new 100% biocompostable coffee cups and lids across all AMT Coffee bars. We are also excited to be the first to make this important, green improvement to our cups and lids this Christmas. Alongside the festive message, this year we wanted to make a serious statement about the importance of making the change for our blue planet and all who depend on it. We only hope others will follow.
    We hope that our message is heard loud and clear this Christmas and the New Year by both our customers and competitors, who would have a far bigger impact than we will if they help us make the change.”

    The company has also switched its cutlery, napkins, straws and yoghurt pots to either biocompostable or recyclable materials.

  • Bio-on and Gruppo Hera pursue development of CO2-based PHA


    Bio-on, a global leader in the high quality bioplastic sector, and Gruppo Hera, one of Italy’s largest multi-utility providers, have reached agreement on the proportion of shares held by each in new start-up Lux-on.

    mBio-on will initially hold a 90% stake; in future, Hera will have the opportunity to increase its holding from the current 10% to 49.9% in the new company.
    Lux-on was founded by Bio-on with as goal to revolutionise the production of PHAs biopolymers, using CO2 captured from the atmosphere and producing energy without using fossil fuels.

    The new technology developed by Bio-on envisages using carbon dioxide as a zero cost “raw material”, in addition to those already used to produce Bio-on bioplastic: sugar beet and sugar cane molasses, fruit and potato waste, carbohydrates, glycerol and waste frying oil. Using CO2 will also help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    The laboratories and first plant of the new Lux-on project will be built by the end of 2019 close to the Bio-on Plants industrial facility in Castel San Pietro Terme (Bologna). It will be designed entirely by Bio-on technicians in collaboration with Hera, with carbon capture plants and a production facility using renewable solar energy. The development of the technology will be aided by the fact that many of the principles and equipment used in the standard technology can also be used in Lux-on’s new production systems. This is why the development and pre-industrial phase will be much faster than usual. The plant will occupy an area of 1,500 m2, 600 m2 of which is covered, and will have a flexible production capacity that is rapidly expandable.

    The electric energy used in Lux-on’s innovative production process will be produced by photovoltaic vsystems which, aside from directly powering production, will also provide storable energy for nocturnal power (24/7 production). For energy storage, partnerships will be entered into with international experts in hydrogen (H) technology. Hydrogen, a non- polluting gas, will be produced from solar energy, stored and then converted to electric energy to power the plant when the solar panels are not running, i.e. at night or when light levels are poor.

    “We are extremely pleased to work with HERA,” explained Bio-on S.p.A. Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri. “The great technological innovation used at Lux-on enables us to increase the industrial sustainability of a new production concept. We are particularly proud to realise humanity’s dream to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and produce innovative materials like our PHAs biopolymer. We are ready to face this new challenge, which will further extend our client base in the coming years, consolidating Italy’s global leadership in high-quality biopolymer production.”

    The agreement also envisages a second development line aimed at identifying sustainable by-products for biopolymer production. Renamed PHA-CEL by Hera, this consists in transforming cutting and pruning cellulose into simple sugars that can then be used in fermentation following an enzymatic treatment. This process is made possible by the treatment technology, developed by Gruppo Hera, which is also assessing how to apply it to biogas and biomethane production from cuttings and prunings.

    All the PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) developed by Bio-on are made from renewable plant sources with no competition with food supply chains, and from CO2 in the coming years. They can replace a number of conventional polymers currently made with petrochemical processes using hydrocarbons; they guarantee the same thermomechanical properties as conventional plastics with the advantage of being completely eco-sustainable and 100% naturally biodegradable.

    “For Gruppo Hera, which uses innovation and sustainability as the foundations of its multi-utility business,” explained Tomaso Tommasi di Vignano, Executive President of Gruppo Hera, “taking a share in the new company founded by Bio-on is the representation of a natural coming together of intentions and an alliance that we believe can be developed successfully beyond our territory and across various sectors. With the breadth and quality of our services, this agreement will give further, fundamental green credentials to a project like Lux-on, which aims to change the bioplastics world, not to mention the joint commitment to transform cuttings and prunings. Considering that Hera collects 200 thousand tons of cuttings and prunings every year, which can be transformed into bioplastic using our technology, this sector has huge growth potential.”

    Image: Tomaso Tommasi di Vignano, Executive President of Gruppo Hera and Bio-on S.p.A. Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri launch Lux-on.

  • Commission launches Circular Plastics Alliance to foster the market of recycled plastics in Europe


    December 11, the European Commission launched an alliance of key industry stakeholders covering the full plastics value chain as part of its persisting efforts to reduce plastics littering, increase the share of recycled plastics and stimulate market innovation.

    nAgainst the backdrop of the Commission's efforts to help accelerate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, the Circular Plastics Alliance will aim to improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling in Europe. The Alliance will in particular strengthen the match between supply and demand for recycled plastics which is identified as the main obstacle to a well-functioning EU market of recycled plastics. With this new initiative, the Commission wants to contribute to the objective of achieving at least 10 million tons of recycled plastics into new products on the EU market by 2025 as set in the European Strategy for Plastics.
    First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: "Close cooperation within and between all the links in the plastics value chain is essential if we are to achieve a true circular plastics economy and ensure that recycled plastics find their way to new products, instead of into landfills or the incinerators. The Circular Plastics Alliance aims to facilitate this cooperation, building on the commitments the plastics industry has already made and encouraging even more ambitious action. Europe already leads this, and Europe will be the first one to reap the benefits as well. This is the best way to show the world that circular plastic economy is good for the business and good for the environment."
    On occasion of the launch of the Circular Plastics Alliance, Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "European industry has already clearly committed to more sustainable plastics with the pledges that they have submitted to the Commission. Business understands this is an opportunity to innovate and to become global frontrunners in new technology and materials, in line with circular economy logic. The platform that we are setting up today will encourage cooperation and dialogue between market operators, both on the supply and the demand side, so that we can together build a well-functioning market for recycled plastics."
    The Circular Plastics Alliance will be a high-level, multi-stakeholder platform gathering key industry stakeholders covering the full plastics value chain – from waste collectors to recyclers and primary producers to converters, brand owners and retailers -including in particular packaging, construction and automotive sectors.
    The Alliance will pursue three main operational objectives:
    - Fostering short-term, voluntary and coordinated actions and investments by key industry stakeholders. There actions and investments may cover separate collection of plastic waste; harmonised reporting on collection and recycling rates and volumes; investments in sorting and recycling facilities; voluntary standards on the 'design for recycling' of plastic products and others. Improving the economics and quality of plastics recycling in Europe would contribute to the achievement of the 10 million tons target by 2025. Public authorities across Europe should also play an active role in that.
    - Reporting on the obstacles which may hamper stakeholders' efforts to fully deliver on their pledges and to reach the target set for 2025. Some of those already identified include lack of infrastructure, insufficient access to finance and standardisation gaps.
    - Monitoring progress made towards more plastics recycling and more uptake of recycled plastics in Europe. The monitoring should help identify the gaps in the supply and demand for different recycled plastics. In parallel, new voluntary commitments will be encouraged.
    Next steps
    The Commission will invite key industry stakeholders to join the Alliance, in particular from those sectors, which account for most demand for plastics in Europe such as the packaging, construction and automotive industries. Other sectors will be approached as well for their contribution in order to address the full plastics value chain. The first meeting of the Circular Plastics Alliance will be organised as part of the EU Industry Days on 05 February 2019. A series of operational meetings on the key topics identified by the Alliance at their first meeting will take between March and May 2019.
    In December 2015 the Juncker Commission adopted an ambitious new Circular Economy Package to help European businesses and consumers to make the transition to a stronger and more circular economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way. The Package has broken down silos in the Commission and contributes to broad political priorities by tackling climate change and the environment while boosting job creation, economic growth, investment and social fairness. It has been prepared by a core project team co-chaired by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Vice-President Jyrki Katainen with the close involvement of Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Elżbieta Bieńkowska. Many other Commissioners were also involved in its preparation and helped identify the most effective tools covering a wide range of policy areas.
    In January 2018 the European Commission adopted the first-ever Europe-wide Plastics Strategy as part of the transition towards a more circular economy. It will protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation, turning a challenge into a positive agenda for the Future of Europe. Under the new plans, all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable by 2030, the consumption of single-use plastics will be reduced and the intentional use of microplastics will be restricted.
    As part of this strategy on plastics the Commission launched a voluntary pledges campaign and is currently assessing the received pledges by the industry. A preliminary analysis indicates that at least 10 million tons of recycled plastics could be supplied by 2025 if the pledges are fully delivered. However, on the demand side, only 5 million tons are expected, demonstrating that more actions will be needed to achieve the objective of a well-functioning EU market of recycled plastics.

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