AIMPLAS-led project develops new biodegradable polymers for dairy products
AIMPLAS, the plastics technology center in Spain, has completed a research with the development of a new biopolymer for production of biodegradable packaging.
The new material can be used to manufacture biodegradable bottles, bags and caps that are resistant to sterilization and pasteurization, meaning they can contain dairy products, such as fresh milk, shakes and yoghurts with probiotics.
The project BIOBOTTLE, developed within the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program has been coordinated by AIMPLAS and has a budget of €1 million. Seven companies and technology centers from five different countries have taken part: VLB (Germany), OWS (Belgium), CNR (Italy), VIZELPAS and ESPAÇOPLAS (Portugal) and finally ALMUPLAS and ALJUAN (Spain).
The aim of the project was to develop new biodegradable packages manufactured with the biopolymers that meet the mechanical and thermal aspects required for these applications.
They must also pass the microbiological tests without affecting the content’s organoleptic properties. The results are monolayer bottles and caps and multi-layer bags able to resist temperatures up to 95°C.
The packages for this kind of products are currently manufactured from polyethylene (PE), which, although it is easy recyclable, it still ends its shelf life mostly in landfills, due to the odor problems that dairy product’s wastes cause.
By means of a reactive extrusion process, it has been achieved to modify the existing commercial material, so they fulfill the expectations and are processable by conventional methods to obtain the different packaging formats. These packages, although with the current costs of biodegradable materials, increase in less than 10% the final cost of the packages product.