Plastpom has worked with the Gdańsk University of Technology and other scientific centres to design a compostable and biodegradable material based on potato starch – aspiring for reduced environmental impact, lower CO2 emissions, and energy efficiency.

According to Plastpom, NOPLA is not a synthetic material. It is reportedly free of both artificial ingredients and plastics and is not thought to leave behind microplastics when it decomposes.

Apparently, the patent-protected material is biodegradable and compostable in a household composter, salt water, freshwater, and soil. It is designed to comply with the EN 13432 composting standards and claims to degrade in 3 to 6 months under household composting conditions.

The company says that NOPLA products sink to the bottom of bodies of water and, instead of causing harm to bottom sediments, provide sustenance for living organisms.

Furthermore, the material aligns with EU Directive 904/2019 SUP, meaning it can be used to manufacture products like cutlery and straws. It is approved for food contact, with the Polish Institute of Hygiene running tests to ensure it does not migrate.

Plastpom adds that NOPLA products have a footprint of 1.7kg of CO2 per kilogram, compared to the 3.5kg emitted by polypropylene. It is said that the manufacturing process consumes around 30% less energy, leading to a smaller carbon footprint and lower costs.

Rather than utilizing chemicals, it is physically and mechanically modified. NOPLA’s biogranulate is suitable for injection moulding, blow moulding, and thermoforming on existing machinery, which is expected to help manufacturers pursue sustainability in their product lines.

Also, it is set to avoid recycling fees that are being implemented for plastic products across Europe.

Plastpom has designed, built, and copyrighted an original production line for the biogranulate, and production commenced in May 2023.

In a similar development, The National University of Malaysia and Tunku Abdul Rahman University of Management and Technology’s starch-based biopolymer film for application as active and intelligent food packaging was previously nominated for a Sustainability Award under the pre-commercialized Active and Intelligent category.

Last year, researchers from Michigan State University’s School of Packaging claim to have enhanced the compostability of PLA by fusing it with starch. The result was hoped to improve the plastic’s compatibility with home and industrial composting processes, thus keeping plastic waste out of landfill.

Other companies have also sought to source their packaging materials from natural substances. This includes RAW Packaging’s ‘zero tree’ concept, in which crop waste like wheat and sugar cane bagasse is converted into packaging – a concept that Jimmy’s Iced Coffee has now adopted across its e-commerce product line.

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