I’ve just returned from a visit to Interpack 2017 in Dusseldorf, which is one of the largest packaging fairs in Europe for the food and beverage, confectionery, bakery, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, non-food and industrial goods sector. No other trade fair in the world represents the entire supply chain. And at no other trade fair does the packaging industry provide all industry sectors with tailored solutions and innovative designs based on such a huge variety of materials.
From the myriad of technologies and materials being shown the main thing that stood out was just how much work is been carried out in bioplastics. The number of governmental organisations and companies looking into bioplastics in its many forms is staggering. For example, European Bioplastics Association have produces various fact sheets that were very useful and informative. Companies such as PTT MCC Biochem were showcasing their bio-base, biodegradable and compostable products. PTT MCC Biochem is a strategic joint venture between PTT and Mitsubishi Chemicals, whose sole focus is on the bio chemical industry and creating greener, more sustainable products. They have now launched their first project with the Polybutylene Succinate (PBS) plant in Thailand, which is also the first bio-based PBS plant in the world, and scheduled to commercialise by end of 2017. Basically, the bioPBS that is produced can be disposed of along with organic waste. It is compostable at open air landfill sites at 30oC, without requiring a specialized composting facility.
Recently, there has been much media attention focused on the amount of waste generated by disposable coffee cups and PET bottles and the impact that this has on the environment. In light of this, Cambridge Consultants is currently working to understand how big a problem waste generated from packaging really is, investigating which materials have the largest impact on the environment and understanding the trend. So watch this space…