According to the European Strategy for Plastics, launched in 2018, all plastic packaging placed on the EU market must be either reusable or easily recyclable by the year 2030. Now, Finnish start-up Woodly Ltd has developed and commercialised a new material that is already able to satisfy this requirement in full.
Known as Woodly®, the material is a new type of plastic based on wood cellulose. The company aims to accelerate change towards a more ecologically sustainable future, part of which included designing the material to be recyclable using existing plastics recycling technology. That, too, has been successfully demonstrated using technology from Austrian plastics recycling machinery manufacturer NGR.
“Recycling Woodly material from film to granules was easy and the granules were of high clarity. From the recycled Woodly granules, a clear, 20-micrometer thin cast film could be produced in our lab under typical polyolefin processing conditions and extruder settings, indicating that the material is suited for blown film processes as well. This is rare, as typically the reprocessing of bio-based plastics into thin films is not a simple task. Woodly’s material is a perfect match for NGR’s existing equipment,” said NGR’s Development & Process Technology Engineer, Dr. Peter Hierzenberger.
Martta Asikainen, CTO at Woodley, is delighted with the well-run pilot experiment: “We believe that the future of plastics is both renewable and recyclable. That is the only way to meet the growing material demand in a sustainable way. Our goal is to reduce the need for fossil feedstock as well as for virgin material. With NGR we have found a reliable partner for recycling, with whom we will be glad to expand the collaboration.”
Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, Woodly is still planning to launch the innovative material this year in various packaging applications.
“In our opinion the current situation with the Coronavirus has highlighted the urgent need for sustainability. Our mission to accelerate the shift toward circular economy is now more relevant than ever. Fortunately there are many like-minded brand owners that have it in their strategy to look beyond this current situation and invest in future. Now that we have demonstrated the recyclability of Woodly material with NGR, we expect there will be even more interest toward our material,” Asikainen concluded.