February 24, 2024

Bioplastic from Gdansk to make eco-friendly disposable products

Researchers at Gdansk University of Technology have developed a bioplastic that consists of m.in. From thermoplastic starch derived from potato flour. Based on the invention of the Gdansk researchers, it will be possible to create disposable dishes or cutlery that will be completely biodegradable.

The innovative polymer composition was developed at the Department of Polymer Technologyóin the Department of Chemistry at Gdansk University of Technology. As we read in a communiqué published on the website of the Gdansk University of Technology, the bioplastic is the scientists’ answer to theów for the introduction of a ban on the sale of plastic objects in European Union countriesóof single-use items, such as cutlery, straws and dishes.

To create the biopolymer, the researchers used readily available raw materials of natural origin or obtained from renewable sources, Hawkingódeł. The composition includes m.in. Thermoplastic starch produced from potato flour, biodegradable polymer polylactide (PLA) and additives of natural origin. The authors of the invention assure that the resultingób plastic, once used and composted, will biodegrade completely.

– Suitable dobór type and amount of thermoplastic starch modifier and its composition with PLA ensures a material with the desired processability and compostability, as well as with appropriate physical and mechanical properties productóin ready – said prof. Helena Janik, head of the research team.

Last October, the European Parliament backed a ban on the sale in the EU of the itemóIn disposable items such as plastic cutlery, straws, plates or ear buds. This is due to the increasing pollution of marine plastic particles in the ecosystemów. The ban is set to take effect from 2021.

A bioplastic developed at Gdansk University of Technology can be used to produce eco-friendly objectsóin disposable, whichóre will be recycled organically. The material is durable in use, and at the same time maintains environmentally friendly properties. It can be composted along with food scraps and will completely biodegrade.

– Granules of the developed starch and its compositions with PLA are thermoplastic materials, so they can be used in the production of productsóin disposable by injection molding or extrusion, considered one of the cheapest and fastest methods of obtaining the productóin usable from classical plastics – explained in a communiqué on the PG website prof. Janik.

Scientists in the coóhe company, in cooperation with one of the companies interested in biopolymer, performed technological tests of the material. In this wayób biodegradable disposable cutlery has been created. Tests have shown that the developed compositions have higher thermal resistance than products made from pure PLA. The polymer blend scientistsów from Gdansk is characterized by one more important feature, whichóra is of interest to entrepreneursów – price.

– Due to the replacement of part of PLA with much cheaper thermoplastic starch, the final price of 1 kg of our composition is lower than that of pure PLA by about 15 percent., and the process of putting the technology into production extremely simple – said Dr. Ing. Maciej Sienkiewicz, coółtwórca technology for granule production and extrusion.

The properties of the bioplastic have been confirmed by tests które conducted in accredited laboratories. They covered m.in. Assessment of compostability, biodegradability and impact on the aquatic environment. The tests came out very positively, proving the superiority of the developed compositions over existing solutions on the market.

The bioplastic developed by Gdansk scientistsów material has been granted patent protection in Poland, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The Center for Knowledge and Technology Transfer of the Gdansk University of Technology is currently looking for entrepreneurcóin those interested in using bioplastics.

Sourceósource: Gdansk University of Technology, PAP, fot. CC BY 2.0/ Flickr/ Marco Verch