The UK’s first biodegradability testing and analysis unit for polymer materials has been launched by Shropshire-based plastics and rubber research organisation Rapra Technology.
Rapra’s work in biodegradable and compostable polymer materials technology was catalysed over the past year by financial support from the Polymer Cluster, channelling funding from Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund. This funding was used to develop a number of pioneering case studies, based in the Telford and Wolverhampton area.
Rapra now offers biodegradability testing to the European standard – previously, the only approved facilities to conduct such materials testing and analysis were on mainland Europe. It has now set up dedicated laboratories and pilot-scale facilities to deliver the service to the rapidly expanding UK market.
David Ingles, Rapra’s medical and technology group sales manager, who leads the project, said: “Demand has been strong, and alongside our capital investment, we have been fortunate to receive considerable support from the Polymer Cluster for staff training, accreditation fees and promotional activities. We hope this test facility will prove a valuable resource for all UK-based companies active in this market.”
The Polymer Cluster will also be sponsoring a seminar, “Biocompostability in the UK”, developed and hosted by Rapra, on March 3.
Paul Hackney, polymer cluster champion, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to provide support for this initiative. As well as offering free packages of practical assistance to help small and medium-sized enterprises in the Wolverhampton Telford Technology Corridor area, our aims include the promotion of environmental initiatives. Rapra Technology’s compostable programmes certainly fit the bill on both scores.”
Rapra, formerly the Rubber and Plastics Research Association, is based at Shawbury, near Shrewsbury, with a regional office in Billingham, Cleveland. It is Europe’s leading independent plastics and rubber research organisation.
Source: Shropshire STAR.com Feb 14, 2005.