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Nonwovens/​Converting

Indorama companies prepare for biotransformation

Companies to introduce disposable fibres and nonwovens with uniquely managed lifecycles.

21st April 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  London

Sustainable, Medical/Hygiene

Polypropylene producer FiberVisions and spunlaid nonwovens manufacturer Avgol – both members of Bangkok-headquartered  Indorama Ventures (IVL) – have worked closely with scientists at Polymateria to commercially harness the biotransformation technology pioneered by the UK-based company.

The patented technology alters the properties of polyolefins to make them biodegradable in a natural process. As such, it will allow the companies to introduce disposable products with uniquely managed lifecycles and further expand an already extensive catalogue of fibre and spunlaid offerings.

The focus will be on the launch of non-oxo-degradative components for personal protection masks and face coverings, as well as hygiene, agricultural, industrial and homecare applications.

The development of entirely biodegradable components is an important step in bringing the first 100% biodegradable-recyclable hygiene products to the market

The use of biotransformation technology will support application in non-virgin resin recycling while providing a solution for ‘fugitive’ used articles, including those items that have not been properly recycled or disposed of. The process involves the material being decomposed into a wax which is then further degraded by environmental bacterial action into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.

The parties have been developing prototypes of component fibres and nonwoven products and the first prototypes have been tested and are compliant with the stringent testing for biodegradability defined in British Standards Institute’s (BSI) new standard for Biodegradation, PAS9017. 

In meeting this standard, the fibres and fabrics are confirmed to form no harmful microplastics as part of the biodegradation process.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Polymateria to bring its revolutionary technology into our fibres business and sustainability portfolio more broadly,” said D.K.Agarwal, CEO of Indorama Ventures. “The collaboration between our businesses over the last 18 months has been exemplary and created a credible and scalable solution to an increasingly visible environmental issue”.

“With 32% of all plastic winding up in our natural environment each year we need to ensure we are working with partners who can enable scalable solutions to address what is becoming close to a 100 million tons per year problem,” added Niall Dunne, CEO of Polymateria. “Indorama has a strong track record on sustainability and the trust that has emerged between our businesses has been grounded in science and a shared mission to tackle the plastic pollution pandemic at scale”.

“The development of entirely biodegradable components is an important step in bringing the first 100% biodegradable-recyclable hygiene products to the market,” said Shachar Rachim, CEO of Avgol. “This collaboration underscores our commitment to commercialize innovative products which are environmentally focused.”

In February 2021, Polymateria demonstrated a world first in creating a polyethylene film that is both recyclable and biodegradable in the open environment. The announcement was made by Imperial College London, where the company originated and is based. The British Standards Institution’s new BSI PAS 9017 standard ensures claims of biodegradability in the open environment can be properly verified for the first time according to independent pass/fail criteria.

One of the world’s leading petrochemicals producers, Indorama Ventures has approximately 24,000 employees worldwide with sales of $10.6 billion in 2020.

www.indorama.net

www.polymateria.com

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