Ti-News n. 23 // January 2019 - page 8

Ti
news
8
Taghleef’s bio-based film, NATIVIA®, has
become a popular choice for a wide variety
of applications. Over the years,
Ti
scientists
have identified a number of market
segments for which the unique property
profile of this material is a perfect match
for a broad array of applications, from
bread bag windows to compostable bags
and flow pack for fresh vegetables.
Interest in polylactic acid (PLA) in general,
and PLA-based NATIVIA in particular,
has dramatically increased as companies
embrace the ideals of the circular economy
and sustainability. Not only is NATIVIA
bio-based, but it is also both biodegradable
within industrial composting facilities and
chemically recyclable.
This is important because collected waste
is frequently mixed or contaminated with
significant amounts of food waste, to the
point that separation and purification for
material recycling would require resources
that negatively impact any environmental
benefit. In such cases, industrial
composting is the best choice to reduce
the volume of waste and eventually retain
at least a part of the carbon inventory as
methane to be fed into the natural gas
distribution grid.
Alternatively, after
recovery of non-
PLA plastics for
material recycling
and removal of food
waste, the remaining
PLA and NATIVIA-rich
plastics can be subjected
to alcoholysis at moderate
temperatures, resulting
in a mix of mainly lactide
monomer (i.e. lactic methyl
ester). More elegantly, this
results in pyrolysis (heating
under low oxygen conditions) to
recover more than 95% of the
monomer units. The addition of
catalysts helps increase purity and
yield. (This process has been explored
by Galactic in Belgium.)
The regenerated lactide monomer
can be purified to polymerization
grade monomer quality—a perfect
recycling loop of high energy efficiency.
Taghleef scientists are hard at work
devising new structures for NATIVIA
for use in an even wider array
of applications so that with a
growing market share for PLA,
this recycling loop becomes
commercially feasible.
Technical Focus
Science behind NATIVIA
®
Bio-based PLA films
Interest in polylactic acid (PLA) in general, and
PLA-based NATIVIA in particular, has dramatically
increased as companies embrace the ideals of the
circular economy and sustainability.
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