Technological watch

Kaneka Presents Biodegradable Polymer Technology for Food Contact at K 2019

Kaneka is showcasing Kaneka Biodegradable Polymer PHBH™ technology at K 2019, following recent food contact material approval in the EU, Japan and the US. The leading technology-driven company has developed the bio-based and biodegradable polymer PHBH, which is not only recyclable through composting, but is also biodegradable in natural environments, including marine waters.
Better Sustainable and Biodegradable Solutions
Articles made of PHBH have a major sustainability advantage in helping to cut back on littering and ocean pollution through its biodegradable properties. “The plastics industry is being challenged to come up with more sustainable and biodegradable solutions and help reduce littering issues.
Particularly in recent years, marine pollution through microplastics has become a major global societal issue. With this new biopolymer, we are offering a plant-based alternative to compostable and biodegradable articles
,” says Yukihito Ozaki, General Manager Biodegradable Polymers Division, at Kaneka.
“OK Biodegradable MARINE” Certification
With “OK Biodegradable MARINE” certification that guarantees biodegradability in sea water, Kaneka’s new solution can help to reduce marine pollution. Other TÜV Austria Belgium certified labels for Biodegradable Polymer PHBH are “OK Biobased,” “OK biodegradable Soil,” “OK Compost Home,” and “OK Compost Industrial.”
The new biopolymer is produced through a microorganism fermentation process, in which plant oils and its fatty acids are used as a primary raw material. It shows excellent biodegradable properties under natural conditions such as in soil and in marine waters and will start to biodegrade into CO? and water through the digestive process of micro-organisms available in nature.
Kaneka has been piloting the production of PHBH at its Takasago headquarters in Japan since 2011. Current production is running at capacity of 1,000 MT/y. However, pilot production capacity will be upscaled to 5,000 MT/y by December 2019.
Recent food contact material approvals in the EU, Japan and the US will now allow Kaneka to accelerate their expansion of PHBH.
Combining Fermentation and Macromolecular Core Technologies
Kaneka’s PHBH is the result of a successful merging between Kaneka's fermentation and macromolecular core technologies. It relies on the company’s unique access to both the foam particle technology and the natural polymer PHBH. The newly developed bio-based and biodegradable foam particles can be molded with existing equipment into food and non-food packaging without sacrificing the key features of polyolefin foams.
The development will allow to produce innovative packaging that is fully in-line with the circular economy. Furthermore, the added value of compostability at end of life means new perspectives in waste management systems.
At its booth at K 2019 (Hall 6, stand 6A020), Kaneka is presenting cutting-edge material solutions, including this major advancement in sustainability. Company experts will be available to provide more details on this revolutionary technology.

Publication date: 23/10/2019

Omnexus (news)


This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.