Bioplastics – A potential answer to the global plastics crisis | Matt Mellors

Bioplastics – A potential answer to the global plastics crisis | Matt Mellors

The environmental threat of waste has been building for years. With traditional manufactured plastic waste accumulating in excess of 25 million tons per year, innovative solutions need to be found. It is only recently that plastics have become the subject of global press and public interest. We are now more aware than ever that plastics that we see in our oceans are just part of the problem. It is the degrading small particles of plastic that present a larger, longstanding threat to marine ecology and enter our own food chain. 

Bioplastics are biodegradable, but also have practical applications in the medical, agricultural, packaging and manufacturing industries. EnTRESS is able to give Black Country businesses advice and practical support that has proven to be effective in helping businesses to reduce or repurpose their plastic waste.

At EnTRESS we’re helping them to reduce the volume of waste plastics they produce, and find alternative materials or treatments so they can form part of the solution to what is a major environmental issue – that is not just confined to the oceans but impacts upon the food we eat and the health of our communities.

Using nature as a cure for itself

Using technology developed by researchers at the University of Wolverhampton, we have been able to successfully convert plastic waste into a pliable wax-like substance to which other elements can be added, turning it into a high-value, biodegradable form of bioplastic.

Biodegradable polymers play an increasingly important role in human life. An understanding of the relationships between their structure, properties and function is essential for prospective applications of such materials in areas safe for human health and the environment.

Case study – Prima Makeup

EnTRESS carried out a review of Prima Makeup’s current products to improve resilience, profitability and competitiveness; we also contributed to the protection and preservation of the environment.

Prima was interested in developing a manufacturing capability for biodegradable glitter and required technical input on dust extraction. The material has a tendency to create ‘glitter dust’ which needs to be separated and contained at the source to eliminate environmental contamination and in-process cross-contamination.

They also required assistance to develop a more efficiently degradable glitter base material. EnTRESS agreed to research the feasibility of alternative biodegradable materials for glitter manufacture and a concept plan for dealing with dust extraction. Our research suggested that the composition of the glitter’s base material could be modified to significantly increase the composability of the product.

Three dust extraction solutions were identified ranging from full factory-wide distribution systems to low cost individual machine-based systems. In addition to the dust extraction, it was also recommended that the machinery be fully enclosed to contain manufacturing dust and have the added benefit of sound proofing the equipment. It was recommended that consideration is given to gaining EN13432 Certification for the company’s current products. It should be noted that there are also ASTM equivalents available.

If you have an idea that involves environmental technologies, EnTRESS can offer free advice and practical support:

  • Fully-funded, one-to-one mentoring and business support.
  • Access to leading research through the University of Wolverhampton.
  • Fully-funded, in-house resource efficiency audits for Black Country SMEs.
  • Technical assessment on current products and associated R&D opportunities.
  • Business opportunities for SMEs from environmental impact challenges.

 

Are you in the construction and infrastructure sector?

Join us on Friday 22nd February 2019 at the Climate Resilient Infrastructure Workshop to find out more about the support we offer. Book your place here!

Contact the EnTRESS team on 01902 321871 or entress@wlv.ac.uk

 

Matt Mellors

EnTRESS Project Manager

University of Wolverhampton

Linkedin | Website

 

Copyright © 2019 Black Country Growth Hub

Need help?
Leave your details and someone will be in touch with you shortly.
X