The Bioplastics Award ceremony, which will take place this year for the twelfth time, is an annual highpoint in the global bioplastics calendar. Fondly known as the “Bioplastics Oskar”, the Award is presented each year during the European Bioplastics Conference in honour of the latest achievements, innovations and successes of manufacturers, processors, brand owners, and users of bioplastic materials. This year’s conference will be held on Nov 28-29 in Berlin, Germany. The Awards are an initiative of bioplastics Magazine and presented by that publication’s founder and editor, Michael Thielen.
Entries were submitted from around the world for careful evaluation by the five judges hailing from the academic world, the press and industry associations from America, Europa and Asia, who have now announced the shortlist of finalists for the Award.
To be eligible for consideration, the proposed company, product, or service must have been developed or have been on the market during 2016 or 2017.
This year’s final contenders, in no order of ranking, are:
TU/e Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands): Fully biobased pedestrian bridge
A fully biobased pedestrian bridge has been installed at the TU/e campus in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The bridge, the first of its kind, spans the Dommel river and is wholly made from biobased materials. Strength is provided by the flax and hemp fibres which are used to reinforce the biobased epoxy resin, around an internal core of PLA bio-foam. The PLA foam is used as lost formwork for the structural biobased composite skin. Weight was an important consideration, as the bridge was transported in its entirety to its final location and put in place in one piece.
After a successful load test for the building inspection of the city of Eindhoven (5,0 kN/m2), the bridge was installed during the Dutch Design week in October 2016. The project was the result of a research collaboration between the universities in Eindhoven and Delft, the Centre for Biobased Economy and NPSP, a specialist producer of sustainable composites. Using High Tech Glass sensor technology, the bridge is now monitored during use.
Biobrush - Bioplastic toothbrush made of wood scraps
Biobrush turns wood scraps into toothbrushes. The handle, as well as the packaging, are made from bioplastics based on cellulose made of the wood waste from sustainable forestry. The bristles are made of 100 % renewable polyamide: the main component is castor oil, without harmful emollients, the colour masterbatches are tailored for use with bioplastics. The toothbrushes are clearly designed and, in line with the company’s ambition to make sustainable products accessible to as many people as possible, are available at a fair price. The toothbrush body and packaging are biodegradable; the bristles are not.
MAIP (Italy): I am NATURE: the first Bio-Technopolymer
I am NATURE is a special PHBH based compound, available in tailor made grades and suitable for high temperature applications. It offers a sustainable solution preserving the technical properties of a traditional thermoplastic material. For a new series of switch cover frames, ABB was looking for a bioplastic material that could replace engineering polymers such as ABS or PC/ ABS. In a joint development, ABB and Maip created a special I am NATURE grade able to meet all the requirements of the component. The new compound exhibits properties such as high dimensional stability, thermal resistance (about 130 °C), superior UV and light resistance, easy colourability and easy mouldability in multi cavity moulds. Easy processability and specific electric features such as, for example, a glow wire of 650 °C at 2 mm. Exceptional scratch resistance was obtained, even for matte textures. The outstanding mass colourability of the new I am NATURE compound allows the painting step to be eliminated, thus dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of the component.
Adidas and Amsilk (Germany): Futurecraft Biofabric shoe
The adidas Futurecraft Biofabric shoe features an upper made from 100% Biosteel fibre, a nature-based and completely biodegradable high-performance fibre, developed by the biotech company AMSilk (Planegg, Germany). The material offers a unique combination of properties that are crucial in performance, such as being 15% lighter in weight than conventional synthetic fibres as well as having the potential to be the strongest fully natural material available.
According to AMSilk, the fibres are made of 100 % nature based biopolymers, are 100 % vegan and biodegradable. The company’s process uses genetically engineered E. coli samples to express silk protein derived from the DNA of the European garden cross spider, and can generate about 20 different silk grades from four silk varieties
ICEE Containers (Australia): Foldable, reusable insulating box
Since commercial production of expandable polystyrene in 1952, the industry worldwide has been attempting to mould a durable, living hinge in particle foam. ICEE’s patented innovation means insulated boxes are no longer disadvantaged by their bulk as they can now be economically stored and transported flat, making them easy to return for reuse or recycling. ICEE has successfully moulded a living hinge in various particle foams including BASF’s ecovio a plant based compostable biofoam. The superior insulating and cushioning properties of particle foam makes them ideal for the expanding ecommerce grocery market, paddock to plate and the traditional markets such as pharmaceuticals, fresh produce and seafood. ICEE’s fold flat insulated boxes are 98% air, 100% recyclable and now available in compostable plant-based biofoam.