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SustainComp products combine bioplastics and wood fiber

December 11, 2012

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (Dec. 11, 12:10 p.m. ET) — The European Union-funded SustainComp project has been completed after four years of work in which partners developed demonstrator products made from bioplastics reinforced with wood fibers.

The project involved 17 partners from eight European countries within the EU Seventh Framework Program. It had a budget of 9.5 million euros ($12.3 million), of which 6.5 million euros was funded by the European Commission.

The demonstrators designed and produced in SustainComp were: a cushioning system for electronic devices (created by SCA in Sweden); an extruded bus seat component (Elastopoli, Finland); toy building blocks (Polykemi, Sweden); an advertising display panel (3A Composites, Switzerland); and a compostable cutlery set for catering applications (Novamont, Italy).

For all these items, except the cutlery set, the companies developed composites made from starch-based bioplastic PLA filled with wood fibers. In the cutlery application, Novamont used its own bioplastic with the brand name Mater Bi reinforced with wood fibers.

Sustainability assessments of new materials developed for the different applications were carried out by Itene packaging institute, based in Valencia, Spain, Innventia, based in Sweden and Novamont.

Two highlights mentioned by the company were the replacement of glass fibers with wood fibers in the bus-seat demonstrator, ensuring its durability, and the degradable nature of the cutlery, which is a disposable application.

The SustainComp partners were: Innventia, 3A Composites, BASF, Borregaard, CNRS, Elastopoli, EMPA, EPFL, Aalto University, Itene, K-Tron, Novamont, PFI, Polykemi, KTH, SCA and Sintef.