Why we see the future of plastics only bio-based
Sustainability is the most important social issue of our time. Each and everyone of us has the responsibility to reconsider our way of living and to act future-oriented in the interest of our planet. Therefore, sustainability, responsibility and forward-looking solutions are of primary concern in our corporate philosophy.
We are aware of our responsibility towards the environment and the future generations. This is why we are placing great value on a resource and energy-saving production process and by doing so we are actively reducing our co2 emissions. It is our conviction that environmental involvement is vital for the long-term success of our company.
What are the general arguments for using bioplastics?
Fossil resources such as oil are limited. Just under 2 % of the world‘s oil consumption is currently used to manufacture consumer products and packaging made from plastic. Even if the quantities are extremely low, it makes sense to use non-fossil raw materials in processing plastic. Bioplastics are manufactured from renewable raw materials and can be classified as biodegradable, compostable or „drop-in“ bioplastics.
Why do we use bio-based drop-in plastics (sugar cane)?
The chemical structure of drop-in bioplastics is identical to conventional plastic material. Yet drop-in bioplastics are NOT based on mineral oil, but on sustainable resources in our case sugar cane. From the leftovers of the pressed sugar cane (= Bagasse) ethanol is extracted, which completely replaces the mineral oil-based ethanol in the plastic production process. The remaining sugar cane parts have various uses, such as in the fertilisation of new plants and in the production of renewable energy.
By using drop-in bioplastics based on side products of sugar cane, we deliberately abstain from bioplastics based on the processing of agricultural crops (e.g. corn, rice), which otherwise could have been used as food. Another plus is that unlike biodegradable and compostable plastic drop-in bioplastics are suitable for dishwasher.
Frequently asked questions about sugar cane:
Why not bamboo but sugar cane?
Items made from bamboo fibres often contain melamine. This melamine is in the form of a resin, from which formaldehyde can be released at temperatures as low as 70 °C. This substance is classified as carcinogenic.
How high is the proportion of renewable raw materials that we use?
Depending on the material and the manufacturing process, the proportion of renewable raw materials we use is between 33 % and 94 %.
Have bioplastics based (sugar cane) a positive carbon footprint?
First and foremost, the manufacture and disposal of bioplastics offers clear advantages in terms of co2 balance when compared to oil-based plastics. As they grow, the plants remove co2 from the atmosphere by absorbing it, while also conserving fossil resources at the same time. When the bioplastics are disposed of at the end of their life cycle, the only co2 released is that which the plants absorbed as they grew.
Where is it allowed to cultivate sugar cane?
The ZAEFCana (The Importance of Sugar Cane Agroecological Zoning) regulates the sugar cane cultivation in Brazil and prohibits any crop growing in the tropical Amazon regions and in the tropical Amazon regions and Pantanal. The clearcutting and deforestation of natural vegetation to expand the sugar cane cultivation is strictly prohibited nationwide. The land used for sugar cane cultivation only constitutes around 2.5% of Brazils total agricultural land a tiny amount when compared to the amount of land used to cultivate soybeans (9.6%) or the pasture used for farm animals (48%).
Is sugar cane organically cultivated?
The majority of the used fertiliser derives from the plant itself. A side product of sugar cane is bagasse, which is used for such purposes as fertilising new plants. No eutrophication (enrichment of nutrients) of water nor acidification of soils takes place. In comparison to other crop plants, the cultivation of sugar cane uses the least amount of chemical fertiliser.
What does the future hold for bioplastics?
If the European demand for drop-in bioplastics grows in the future, there is a possibility that we may start manufacturing our plastic on the basis of plants that can be grown here in Europe (e.g. sugar beet). By using sugar cane, we have at least begun to take steps in the right direction.
Are bioplastics recyclable?
Our products made from sugar cane-based drop-in plastics are chemically identical to oil-based products and are therefore 100 % recyclable. This means that the products can be integrated into existing return systems (recycling bin) within the recycling process.