At the upcoming Interplas show September 26-28 in Birmingham, UK, TotalEnergies Corbion are presenting a PLA grade with up to 30% recycled content to the UK market. The company’s rPLA grades are designed amongst others to enable customers to comply with the UK’s announcement of several new regulations limiting many single-use plastic items and as well as the UK's Plastics Packaging Tax on items made without recycled content introduced on 1 April 2022. The plastics tax applies to virtually all packaging produced in, or imported into, the UK that does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic.
At the exhibition, the company intends to focus on solutions that not only comply with these new regulations but also offer sustainable benefits beyond what is required by the new legislation.
While PLA can easily be mechanically recycled, TotalEnergies Corbion has has also commercialised chemical recycling for PLA at its plant in Thailand, where it recycles both internal and external PLA waste streams.
The company deploys a depolymerisation process through which PLA waste that has been sorted and cleaned may be broken down using hydrolysis under mild and selective conditions. The polymer chain is hydrolysed directly into its monomer, lactic acid in a highly selective, low-temperature reaction. The resultant lactic acid can then be used as new feedstock for an rPLA that can be used in the same range of applications from where it was recycled - including
for food contact. It thus addresses at least one the shortcomings of mechanical recycling.Aliphatic polyesters like PLA offer the opportunity to hydrolyse the polymer chain directly into its monomer, lactic acid. This reaction is highly selective, not in the least due to its low-temperature requirements.
According to TotalEnergies Corbion, Luminy PLA provides an excellent alternative to, for example, products traditionally made from PS. It can offer similar functional performance in the end-use application and a carbon footprint that is 75% lower than traditional plastics.
“As the world shifts toward reusability, our solution is reusable and recyclable options, including cutlery. Our emphasis on low carbon footprint alternatives underscores our dedication to combining convenience with environmental stewardship,” said Frank Duijzer, business development manager at TotalEnergies Corbion. “More than cutlery, we are redefining food packaging with compostable solutions. As the UK's regulations target plastic items used for ‘prepacked food’ our biobased, compostable materials are great options for sustainable packaging".
TotalEnergies Corbion will be at Hall 4 Booth E24 at Interplas in Birmingham from 26-28 September 2023.