BASF has once again added variants to its range of the compostable and partially bio-based plastic ecovio®. The ecovio® T2308 is now available for the processing method of thermoforming. For injection molding the company offers the new ecovio® IS1335 grade.
So far, the ecovio grades that have made their mark on the market are those for the extrusion sector, in other words, for producing films that can then be further processed into bags as well as mulch film. Since the packaging sector is displaying a growing interest in certified compostable plastics, BASF has now augmented its product line by new grades intended for two other significant processing technologies. Both of these products are now available in commercial quantities. They consist predominantly of renewable raw materials and lend themselves well for being dyed.
For thermoforming trays and cups
Thermoformed trays and cups can now be made with ecovio T2308. This plastic exhibits similar mechanical properties to those of amorphous PET, but it differs from this conventional thermoforming material by virtue of its compostability and its high content of renewable resources (polylactic acid). The content of ecoflex®, which is BASF’s compostable polyester, accounts for the fact that the material is not too stiff or too brittle. As a result, thermoformed trays and cups are not damaged during transportation and storage. The ecoflex component also ensures a balanced stiffness-to-strength ratio and sufficient low-temperature impact strength.
The processing window for ecovio T, between 80°C and 120°C [176°F and 248°F], is very broad in comparison to other plastics. Processing can be carried out on conventional flat-film installations and at the processing speeds that are typical for thermoforming. Like all ecovio grades, it also complies with the stipulations for products that come into contact with food. The material is translucent and can be adequately sealed with cover films.
For injection molding complex and high-quality packaging
The second novelty in the ecovio product line, namely, the injection-molding grade ecovio IS1335, also offers good stiffness. It can be processed using single-cavity or multi-cavity molds that are equipped with or without hot runners. This material exhibits moderate flowing characteristics and is dimensionally stable under heat up to 55°C [131°F]. This variant lends itself for thin-walled, complex and high-quality packaging, which should preferably be manufactured by injection molding and should be compostable. With an eye towards differentiating the product on the market, the product can also be decorated employing in-mold labeling.
In cooperation with independent institutes, BASF has conducted experiments on the compostability of injection-molded test specimens. Results show that, depending on the application, injection-molded products made of ecovio IS1335 having wall thicknesses of as much as 1.1 mm degrade in accordance with the EN 13432 standard for compostable packaging.
The compostable plastic ecovio
BASF has been offering ecovio®, the completely compostable plastic according to DIN standard EN 13432 for biodegradable packaging, since 2006. For many years now, BASF has been working closely together with plastic processors, brand owners, supermarkets as well as environmental associations and numerous waste-disposal companies such as composting operations, in order to test and optimize the properties of ecovio. Thanks to the outcome of these joint endeavors and research work, BASF can now offer ecovio, a plastic that is not only completely compostable according to the applicable international standards, but that also has a high content of renewable raw materials and that nevertheless is sufficiently sturdy to allow the production of tear-resistant bags, mulch films, coated paper, trays and cups.
Source: BASF, press release, 2013-05-13.