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Fully bio-based pedestrian bridge by TU/e Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (The Netherlands).
Fully bio-based pedestrian bridge by TU/e Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (The Netherlands).
Photo: 12345

Five finalists have been selected for the 12th Bioplastics Award organized by the trade publication bioplastics MAGAZINE.

The "Bioplastics Oskar" will be awarded to the winner on November 28 during the 12th European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin, Germany.

The five shortlisted companies/products are listed below (without any ranking).

TU/e Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (the Netherlands)
Fully bio-based pedestrian bridge

A fully bio-based pedestrian bridge, the first in the world, has been realized at the TU/e campus, Eindhoven, Netherlands, spanning the river Dommel. After researching and testing various bio-based material properties and optimizing alternative structural designs, the bridge has been produced with the help of many students in all stages of design and production, using only bio-based materials.

The bridge has been made fully out of bio-based materials: Flax and hemp fibers provide the strength, combined in a bio-based epoxy resin, round an internal core of polylactic acid (PLA) bio-foam. The PLA foam is used as lost formwork for the structural bio-based composite skin. As the whole bridge was transported to its final location and put in place in one piece, lightweight was a very important issue

After a successful loadtest for the building inspection of the city of Eindhoven (5,0kN/m2), the bridge was installed in the Dutch Design week. The project is the result of a research collaboration of the universities in Eindhoven and Delft as well as the Centre for Biobased Economy and the company NPSP bv. With High Tech Glass sensor technology the bridge is now monitored during use.

Biobrush (Germany)
Bioplastic toothbrush made of wood scraps

Biobrush turns wood scraps into toothbrushes. The handle as well as the packaging are made from bioplastics based on cellulose made of the wood waste from sustainable forestry. The bristles are made of 100% renewable polyamide (PA), the main component is castor oil, without harmful emollients. The toothbrushes are clearly designed and available at a fair price. Making sustainable products accessible to as many people as possible is a key factor in the concept of Biobrush. The company, therefore, strives to maintain fair pricing. The manufacturing of the color master batches is adapted to the bioplastic and contains carefully selected pigments, in which the concentration of heavy metal is way below threshold value.

Producing sustainable products, is not just about replacing the conventional by eco. All aspects of the product – its function, nature and composition, pricing, sales approach and packaging – need reassessment. Biobrush toothbrushes combine features relevant to state-of-the-art dental care with a clear design, using resource saving and trend-setting materials: bioplastic and packaging based on cellulose and bristles derived from castor oil. The practical and home compostable sidesealed pouch contains only essential product information.

MAIP (Italy)
I am NATURE: the first Bio-Technopolymer

I am NATURE is a special PHBH-based compound, available in tailor made grades and suitable for high temperature applications. It offers a sustainable solution preserving the technical properties of a traditional thermoplastic material. Maip has developed different bioplastics that are sold under the name of I am NATURE for several years. These PHBH based grades are compounded with natural fillers and additives of vegetal origin as well as functional components for specific requirements.

For a new series of switch cover frames that should have an advanced design and a remarkable environment sustainability connotation, ABB was looking for a bioplastic material that could replace technopolymers such as ABS or PC/ABS. In a joint development ABB and Maip succeeded in creating a special I am NATURE grade that is suitable to satisfy all the multiple requirements of the component. The new compound exhibits particular properties such as high dimensional stability, thermal resistance (about 130°C), superior UV and light resistance, easy colorability and easy moldability in multi cavity molds. Easy processability and specific electric features such as for example a glow wire of 650°C at 2 mm.

The most severe test of all, the scratch resistance, led to the development of special grades that show surprising mar/scratch resistance values also in case of matte textures. The main properties that were achieved, allow the definition of the new I am NATURE as an actual Bio-Technopolymer that also allows to eliminate the painting (because of its good mass colorability) dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of the component.

The switch covers were officially introduced to the market in Europe in September 2017.

Adidas and Amsilk (Germany)
Futurecraft Biofabric shoe

The adidas Futurecraft Biofabric shoe features an upper made from 100% Biosteel fiber, a nature-based and completely biodegradable high performance fiber, developed by the biotech company AMSilk (Planegg, Germany). The material offers a unique combination of properties that are crucial in performance, such as being 15% lighter in weight than conventional synthetic fibers as well as having the potential to be the strongest fully natural material available.

In addition, Biosteel fiber also provides a far more sustainable offering. According to Amsilk, who have invested more than 200,000 bioengineer man hours and know-how into their products the fibers are made of 100% nature based biopolymers, are 100% vegan and biodegradable. The Technical University of Munich's website says the world's first artificial silk fiber is entirely made of recombinant spider silk proteins.

And io9.gizmodo.com unveils this: The company's process uses genetically engineered E. coli samples to express silk protein derived from the DNA of the European garden cross spider, and is capable of generating about 20 different silk grades from four silk varieties.

ICEE Containers (Australia)
Foldable, reusable insulating box

Since commercial production of expandable polystyrene (EPS) in 1952 the industry worldwide has been attempting to mold a durable, living hinge in particle foam. ICEE's patented innovation means insulated boxes are no longer disadvantaged by their bulk as they can now be economically stored and transported flat, making them easy to return for reuse or recycling.

As a member of United Nations initiative Save Food, ICEE has successfully molded a living hinge in various particle foams including BASF's ecovio, a plant based compostable biofoam. The superior insulating and cushioning properties of particle foam makes them ideal for the expanding ecommerce grocery market, paddock to plate and the traditional markets such as pharmaceuticals, fresh produce and seafood.

ICEE's insulated suite of boxes keeps perishable fresh without the need for refrigerated vehicles which is particularly advantageous in developing countries where food waste is highest.

ICEE's fold flat insulated boxes are 98% air, 100% recyclable and now available in compostable plant based biofoam. They're able to deliver perishables in unrefrigerated vehicles making the boxes ideal for disruptive delivery options such as Uber, bicycles, couriers, taxi apps, drones, etc. further adding to their attractive eco-friendly footprint.

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