Earth Friendly Plastic Polymers and Resins
Microdyne is now in the process of testing various polymers, with clients, to determine if these new types of resins will compromise the physical characteristics and performance of the products.
The clear advantage of environmentally friendly plastics (especially in the one-use throw-away category) is the existing customer demand for products that are better for the environment. Not only is the “green” resin industry expected to grow by 10%[i] to 20%[ii] per year, the consumer demand is already higher than the supply.
Product companies are finding that one differentiator between competitors is the “green” profile of the packaging. This is the real driving factor behind the green resin growth.
Three General Categories
There are three general categories of “greener” resins: biodegradable and compostable resins; negative carbon footprint; and additives to regular plastics that help them break down in nature. We summarize these below. Microdyne is involved with several companies to test these resins. Here are examples of each that we are currently working with.
Mitsui Plastics – BIOPBSTM
Using bio-based polybutylene succinate, such as sugarcane cassava and corn, BioPBSTM can be disposed of along with organic waste. It is naturally compostable and does not require a composting facility. This is a food approved resin. See more: http://www.mcpp-global.com/en/asia/products/brand/biopbstm/
Negative Carbon Footprint
Company: Braskem – I’m greenTM
This approach uses biomass agricultural products to develop a polymer. The biomass residue is then burned to produce steam and drive the power plant. Because the CO2 released is less than petroleum resin production, the overall CO2 is lower than traditional resin production. See more: http://www.braskem.com/site.aspx/Im-greenTM-Polyethylene
An organic additive that accelerates plastic “biodegradation” depending on the level of moisture in a land fill. See more: http://www.goecopure.com/what-is-ecopure.aspx
Many other eco-friendly resins are also under development and will have probably create more types of characteristics that will become economically viable. Microdyne is dedicated to continue to study the market and work with customers to test and manufacture these new materials.
Selection of one of these existing new, more environmentally compatible resins must also be based on the technical aspects of each product. Careful consideration is important from a technical and marketing perspective.
Based on our customer’s instructions, Microdyne Plastics regularly uses PCR (Post Consumer Resin) material for HDPE resins. Recycling is a good way to utilize HDPE over as many as ten times, extending the life of existing petroleum based material for up to 10 years.
Please Note: Microdyne Plastics has used the vendor explanations for the above descriptions. You can see more at their websites. California currently is developing labeling requirements for different processes of degradation of plastic. We do not warrant that the descriptions or claims perform in the way described. We will be happy to discuss each option with customers, so they can make resin decisions.
[i] MarketsandMarkets, Biodegradable Plastics Market worth 3.4 Billion Dollars by 2020, https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/biodegradable-plastics.asp
[ii] Plastics: The Bioresin Revolution, by Clare Goldsberry, Area Development, http://www.areadevelopment.com/Plastics/jun08/bioresin-revolution.shtml