A new eco-friendly packaging material made of straw and bioplastic
Packaging waste is cause of serious concern. Each year hundreds of millions of tons of packaging are produced, therefore solutions that drastically reduce the environmental impact are urgently needed. While the recycling of metal, wood, paper and cardboard packaging have been subjected to significant improvement, however for some plastics, an efficient recycling or disposal has not been achieved so far. The European Union has implemented regulatory actions to legislate packaging and packaging waste by setting relevant short to medium-term targeting the recycling and disposal rate. In the last decade, the world global trend of the eco-sustainable packaging market is heading in this direction. The aim of this research is to develop an innovative and sustainable composite material for the production of tertiary packaging based on the combination of natural fibers and biodegradable biopolymers. In particular, the experimental application entailed the creation of prototypes consisting of straw and the biodegradable plastic Mater-Bi® which is named NeoPalea. The new material was prototyped to verify its physical characteristics and to determine its potential use for replacing current not-biodegradable packaging. The results show a good match with the characteristics of current polymers, suggesting the proposed material as a potential substitute for packaging applications.
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