Technological watch

New white paper: Stay in the cycle

Titled Stay in the cycle, rethinking recycling with PLA bioplastics, it summarizes the current PLA’s recycling market, regulations, and technologies. The white paper provides a comprehensive outlook and vision on how recycling of PLA is viable, economically feasible and can be commonly used as an end-of-life solution for PLA bioplastics.

Cover of the TotalEnergies Corbion white paper: Stay in the Cycle, rethinking recycling with PLA bioplastics. © TotalEnergies CorbionThe white paper shows that the ability for PLA to be depolymerized via hydrolysis to recreate the exact same PLA resin, allows it to be a circular material. The new recycled PLA maintains the same quality and food contact approval. Luminy® rPLA grades contain 20% or 30% recycled content from a mix of post-consumer and post-industrial recycled PLA, which is third-party certified by SCS Global Services.

The Luminy® rPLA contributes to meet the ever-increasing EU recycling targets for plastic packaging waste – as outline in the upcoming revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD).

The need for plastics to be reused and recycled responsibly is critical. It comes from the continued pertinence of plastic in daily applications, such as in food hygiene, medical applications, and industrial parts. The white paper provides real life examples, such as bottled water supplier Sansu in South Korea, who by using their existing logistics infrastructure created a system to recover used PLA bottles, which were sent for recycling at the TotalEnergies Corbion recycling plant.

Gerrit Gobius du Sart, Corporate Scientist, TotalEnergies Corbion states: “valorizing PLA waste as a feedstock for either chemical or mechanical recycling is a huge opportunity. Bridging the gap between insufficient current recycling rates and ambitious upcoming EU targets will mean a gradual phasing out of a linear use of plastics through reduction, reuse, recycling, and recovery of materials. Moving away from the use of fossil carbon towards biobased resources is of the utmost importance for plastic production, PLA is created from sustainable, natural resources – with considerableecological benefits.”

Key benefits of recycling PLA from the TotalEnergies Corbion white paper: Stay in the Cycle © TotalEnergies CorbionAbout TotalEnergies CorbionTotalEnergies Corbion (formerly known as Total Corbion PLA) is a global technology leader in Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) and lactide monomers. PLA is a biobased and biodegradable polymer made from annually renewable resources, offering a reduced carbon footprint versus traditional plastics. The Luminy® PLA portfolio, which includes both high heat and standard PLA grades, is an innovative material that is used in a wide range of markets from packaging to consumer goods, fibers and automotive. TotalEnergies Corbion, headquartered in the Netherlands, operates a 75,000 tons per year PLA production facility in Rayong, Thailand and has recently announced the intention to build a second plant in Grandpuits, France. The company is a 50/50 joint venture between TotalEnergies and Corbion.

About TotalEnergiesTotalEnergies is a global multi-energy company that produces and markets energies on a global scale: oil and biofuels, natural gas and green gases, renewables and electricity. Our 105,000 employees are committed to energy that is ever more affordable, cleaner, more reliable and accessible to as many people as possible. Active in more than 130 countries, TotalEnergies puts sustainable development in all its dimensions at the heart of its projects and operations to contribute to the well-being of people.

About CorbionCorbion is the global market leader in lactic acid and its derivatives, and a leading supplier of emulsifiers, functional enzyme blends, minerals, vitamins, and algae ingredients. We use our unique expertise in fermentation and other processes to deliver sustainable solutions for the preservation of food and food production, health, and our planet. For over 100 years, we have been uncompromising in our commitment to safety, quality, innovation and performance. Drawing on our deep application and product knowledge, we work side-by-side with customers to make our cutting-edge technologies work for them. Our solutions help differentiate products in markets such as food, home & personal care, animal nutrition, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and bioplastics. In 2020, Corbion generated annual sales of € 986.5 million and had a workforce of 2,267 FTE. Corbion is listed on Euronext Amsterdam.

Publication date: 08/12/2022

Author: Yago Destro de Oliveira

Bio-based 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.