Cambridge Consultants has designed a range of biodegradable plastic products to demonstrate the potential of PHA bioplastics in the food service industry.
It is the initial stage in the UK-headquartered company’s strategy to introduce sustainable bioplastics into the product design toolkit, across several industries.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biodegradable, readily compostable thermoplastics, produced by microbial fermentation of carbon-based feedstocks.
PHA polymers properties are customisable, based on the particular combinations of various monomers incorporated into the polymer chain.
Bioplastics are those plastics, which are delivered from bio-degradable material and they are increasingly becoming viable as a technical alternative to conventional polymers.
New industrial processes also mean that bioplastics can be produced from post-consumer waste, converting environmentally damaging waste into a valuable resource to be used as a feedstock for industrial processes.
Cambridge Consultants stated that till now, the uptake of bioplastics in food service has been limited by performance at high temperatures, cost and limited supply.
There have also been limited introduction of cups for cold beverages made from PLA, a bioplastic derived from cornstarch, they are not suitable for hot drinks. The company claims to have evaluated a range of biopolymers and indentified the materials which are suited for use in the most challenging food applications such as single coffee pod and microwave tray.
Cambridge Consultants sais bioplastics can offer convenience at the point of disposal. These items are claimed to have been designed to decompose in industrial composting facilities, which means that they can be disposed alongside food waste, eliminating the need for sorting, washing and separating bins.
Cambridge Consultants sustainability and circular economy lead Catherine Joce said: “For generations there has been a dependency between economic growth and increased resource consumption and emissions. It doesn’t have to be that way. Businesses across all industries are beginning to realise the potential of innovation to improve both profit and sustainability.”
Image: Cambridge Consultants unveils new bioplastics based packaging. Photo: Courtesy of Cambridge Network.