VTT Technical Research Centre develops technique to improve quality of bio-based plastic packaging

04 December 2012

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a technique to significantly improve the quality of bio-based plastic packaging. The new generation of bio-based plastic packaging is not only eco-friendly but also has several superior qualities compared to traditional plastic packaging. The plastic packaging industry is moving towards completely bio-based products. The volume of oil used every year in the production of plastics equates to approximately 5% of the world’s total oil consumption. Approximately 40% of all plastics are used in packaging, which puts special pressure on the packaging industry to reduce dependence on oil.
VTT has developed a technique that enables the production of the PGA monomer glycolic acid from bio-based materials more efficiently than before. Bio-based PGA plastic has excellent barrier properties. Adding PGA into the structure of traditional plastic packaging significantly improves its quality. In addition to strength and heat resistance, plastic packaging also needs to be airtight, vapour-proof and grease-resistant. Bio-based PGA plastic is between 20 and 30% stronger than PLA – the most popular biodegradable plastic on the market – and able to withstand temperatures 20 degrees Celsius higher. It also breaks down more quickly than PLA, but its biodegradability can be regulated if necessary (News Article VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, 22 November 2012).