Finland-based start-up Woodly has developed an innovative bio-sourced material with 40-60% biobased carbon content based on cellulose derived, as the name suggests, from wood.
Woodly’s aim was to develop products aligned with the European Strategy for Plastics, which calls for all plastics packaging placed on the EU market to be either reusable or easily recyclable by 2030.
The material, also called Woodly, has now been demonstrated to be easily recyclable on existing recycling equipment from NGR, an Austrian manufacturer of recycling machinery. A pilot experiment showed that recycling Woodly material from film to granules not only was easy but also produced granules 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,” said Peter Hierzenberger, a Development & Process Technology engineer at NGR. “This is rare, as typically the reprocessing of bio-based plastics into thin films is not a simple task.”
Woodly CTO Martta Asikainen said she was ‘delighted’ with the outcome. "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,” she said.
Despite the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the start-up plans to launch its new material into the market this year in various packaging applications. As Asikainen pointed out, the current COVID19 situation merely serves to highlight the need for more sustainable material and she is confident that the material will generate sufficient interest, especially now that its recyclability has been shown.
"Our mission to accelerate the shift toward a 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,” she concluded.