The Benvic Group is set to launch a range of biopolymers that have been designed to improve the environmental performance of the plastic films sector.
Plantura, Benvic’s biopolymer grades, are available in compostable and durable versions and can be deployed across a very wide variety of packaging applications, both consumer and industrial.
Denis Grechi of Benvic Plantura said that the ‘sky is the limit’ for the new film grades and that Benvic is committing significant R&D resources to Plantura in the coming years in order to help ensure its success in the marketplace.
According to the Benvic team, Plantura has three major benefits to offer to the film sector:
The first is aesthetic – appearance and smell. Grechi noted that ‘our solutions are starch-free and odourless. This is perhaps a subtle but very significant point. Furthermore, our Plantura OK grades can be provided in translucent and transparent versions.’
The second factor is the work that Benvic has done in ensuring that Plantura meets all legislative requirements and specifications, particularly for food packaging, including issues of disposability, food contacts and performance at frozen temperatures.
The third factor concerns the mechanical performance of Plantura grades, those that are more orientated to industrial or engineered films. Benvic is developing a variety of different grades offering low elongation and excellent stiffness up to 1100 MPa in order to manage heavy duty applications.
“All of these factors have been worked through in order to meet major customer needs. Plantura is therefore a fundamentally practical choice for producers of film packaging,” said Grechi. “Benvic’s polymer portfolio is also sufficiently wide to enable us to cross fertilise Plantura for different uses. One example: we are offering our bacteriostatic solution Plastisafe as a Plantura additive, creating unique biopolymer film with bacteriostatic benefits.”
Grechi sees compostability issues as a moving target – for industrial and consumer. “We are anticipating upcoming market trends. Currently our Plantura OK compost film works well for industrial but would not meet conditions for the small but growing home composting sector.”
Benvic R&D is currently developing a Plantura grade for the consumer market which should be ready for launch by mid 2021.
Plantura plastics bags are likely to be initially popular since their composability iss appealing in environmental terms – allowing a complete degradation after a certain period of time. However, the trade-off is a downgrade of mechanical and structural performance and so the market may take a period to decide where the Plantura niche belongs.
Grechi added that Benvic R&D has taken particular pains to make the natural Plantura polymers resins easily processable, and at a competitive cost –‘in order to optimize productivity and lower cost of ownership.’
“This aspect is particularly important in managing the transition from fossil base to bio-based polymers, since biopolymer processing currently has more hurdles to overcome. However, we at Benvic believe that Plantura continues to overcome these issues and will be a material of choice for much film and packaging use in the future,” he concluded.