Canadian Plastics


Breakthrough in biodegradable cosmetics packaging

November 1, 2006   Canadian Plastics

Breakthrough in biodegradable cosmetics packaging

The use of biodegradable plastics in cosmetics packaging may get the kiss of approval if RPC Cresstale Ltd.’s new lipstick container catches on.

Now in trial production, the packaging is made from polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a polymer produced from organic sugars and oils that break down in soil, composting waste treatment processes, river water and marine environments. According to Cresstale, the only products generated during decomposition are carbon dioxide and water — and since these are the materials required to manufacture PHA, the life cycle is effectively a closed loop.

The lipstick uses RPC’s “revolve” mechanism, a collapsible tower that allows the container to be made in four molded parts and from one single material, instead of the conventional five components requiring a number of different materials. “A high degree of molding expertise was needed to overcome the previously unknown problems when molding this innovative new material,” John Birkett, project manager at RPC Cresstale, said. “The successful application of PHA indicates that fully biodegradable cosmetics packaging can be a reality.”


RPC Cresstale Ltd. (Thornaby, UK);; +44 0 1642 769022

Bioplastic cutlery can be thrown away with the leftovers

You could say that specialty packaging company The Huhtamaki Group is trying to cut into the plastic tableware market with its new BioWare cutlery, made from Novamont SPA Italy’s Mater-Bi line of bioplastics.

A biopolymer formed from a mixture of renewable resources including corn starch and vegetable oils, the Mater-Bi bioplastic is suitable for injection molding, sheet and film applications, and complies with EU regulations for food contact. The BioWare line of forks, knives and spoons is suitable for hot and cold food, according to Huhmataki, and can be coloured with natural pigments, heat laminated to paper, cardboard, cotton and other natural fibres — and even sterilized.

Through it all, they remain crack-resistant and flexible, and in the end can be thrown out with the leftovers, allowing food operators easier cleanup by combining the waste streams of food and packaging.

The Huhtamaki Group (Espoo, Finland);; +358 10 686 7863

Novamont SPA Italy (Novara, Italy);; +39 0321 6996

New blow molders for corn-based plastic bottles

The Freedom Series polylactide (PLA) blow molders from bottle equipment manufacturer Norland International are designed specifically for the production of compostable bottles made of PLA, a 100 per cent corn-based plastic developed by NatureWorks LLC, of Minneapolis, Minn.

Originally developed for blowing petroleum-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, the Freedom Series machines have been adapted for PLA, and can produce 1,500, 3,000 or 4,500 bottles per hour, depending on the machine model chosen. And according to Norland, water bottling companies that produce their own bottles can save from 25 per cent up to 50 per cent of their cost of bottles compared to buying pre-formed PET bottles.

NatureWorks estimated that its PLA bottles are compostable, in industrial composting facilities, within 45 to 90 days. They also require 20 to 50 per cent less fossil fuels to create than PET bottles. Additionally, NatureWork’s PLA preforms are heated to just 75 Celsius (C), while PET preforms must be preheated to approximately 100 C, offering a further energy saving.

Norland International (Lincoln, Neb.);; 402-441-3737

NatureWorks LLC (Minneapolis, Minn.);; 952-742-0400

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