Reducing plastic waste and lowering CO2 emissions is the top priority of the EU when it comes to environmental action. Yearly almost 400 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide. New legislation forces industries to use alternatives to fossil-based plastics. Therefore, a shift to biobased and biodegradable plastics is needed. Current status? Today bioplastics only comprise less than 1% of the plastic production. Why? The functionality of bioplastics is not yet as required, and costs are too high. The University of Amsterdam has invented Plantics-GX, a new cost-competitive thermoset bioplastic that meets both requirements. It is safe, 100% bio-based, recyclable, and if it enters in the environment it is bio-degradable. Moreover, it is strong and has very good binding properties. The spin-off company Plantics B.V. (founded in 2014) aims to further develop the new plastic and its production process and develop applications together with strong (market) partners. Plantics-GX resin can be used in combination with moulded paper as an alternative to single use plastics for e.g. packaging and disposables (about 40% of the plastics market). The resulting material is strong, has good barrier characteristics and is biodegradable. Plantic-GX can also be used as an alternative to the currently used often toxic and flammable fossil based thermoset plastics (20% of the plastics market) like polyurethane (used in insulation and furniture foams), or formaldehyde-based resins that are used as binders in for example composite materials.

prof dr. Gadi Rothenberg en dr. Albert Alberts