The pollution of the environment and in particular the oceans has made consumers increasingly wary of plastics. It is therefore imperative that we work with plastics for our packaging and products responsibly, and dispose of the resulting waste responsibly.
However, rejecting plastic altogether is the wrong approach. Plastic opens up many possibilities and offers considerable advantages that have become indispensable in modern life. Compared to other materials (glass, tin, etc.), plastic has many favourable properties such as its light weight, durability and non-permeability. Moreover, the amount of energy it takes to process and transport plastic is much lower than it takes for the materials listed above.
We have been using injection moulding to process plastics for 85 years, and the organic plastic granules we are “rediscovering” today were even around back then. In recent years, we have refocused our efforts on polymers as an alternative to the plastics extracted from fossil fuels. Thanks to ongoing research and development, and intensive cooperation with alternative plastic-materials manufacturers, we are able to produce a large portion of our product range from both organic and biodegradable raw materials.
H&K Müller aims to shed light on renewable plastics. We want to be as transparent as possible when informing our customers, and have therefore compiled the most important information for you:
Material is deemed bioplastic when it consists mostly or entirely of biopolymers. But the term “bioplastic” does not indicate the material’s actual compostability or biodegradability.
We can offer plastic jars and injection moulded parts made of biodegradable as well as biologically based plastics for almost all industries and purposes. These plastics are approved for use in food and partly also in pharmaceutical packaging.
Biodegradable refers to how microorganisms bring about the decomposition of raw materials. Several factors influence this process, and while there is no time limit per se, the rate of decomposition depends on the plastic product’s wall strength.
Raw materials are deemed compostable when they have met every requirement of European Standard (EN) 13432. According to this regulation, compostable plastic must be at least 90% degraded in a span of 6 to 12 weeks under regular conditions.
There are different types of bioplastics, which are based on different starting products. These include crops such as corn and potatoes. In the production of bioplastics from these plants, plastics production is in direct competition with food production, even though only a small amount of agricultural land is currently used for this purpose. Furthermore, there are bioplastics that can be produced from waste products of the food industry. A very widespread type of bioplastic is, for example, obtained from the waste of the sugar cane industry and is therefore not in direct competition with food.
In addition, it is also possible to produce bioplastics from lignin, one of the major components of wood and waste product of paper production.
Each type of bioplastic has its own material properties, some of which differ considerably from each other, and is therefore only suitable for certain areas of application.
For more than 50 years, H&K Müller has been making products from recycled pre-consumer plastics. We process 100,000 kg of these materials every year.
Thanks to our close cooperation with our raw-material suppliers and our ongoing validation and testing, we at H&K Müller are also able to produce many of our products from recycled, post-consumer plastic materials.
Are you interested in packaging or injection moulded products made of recycled plastic? Almost the entire standard product range of H&K Müller is available on request from different types of recycled plastic. We would be pleased to advise you in order to find or zo develop a sustainable packaging solution together with you.
“Pre-consumer recycled plastic” refers to plastic materials accrued from industrial waste that typically builds up in large amounts and is mostly homogeneous.
“Post-consumer recycled plastic” is plastic collected from the recycling bins of consumers or end users. In this case, plastic waste is crushed in a sorting facility before being sorted by type through different technical and chemical processes. This ultimately allows the plastic to be processed into new products.
Unfortunately, however, we are not yet able to offer recycled plastic materials for all industries and areas of application, as the recyclates currently available on the market do not yet fully comply with the requirements of the corresponding regulations EC 10/2011 and EC 1935/2004. These prohibit the use of recycled plastic materials for food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging where the packaged product comes into direct contact with the recycled plastic. In our view, however, it is only a matter of time before the requirements of the standards can be met by the intensive research currently being conducted. In addition to the plastics industry, politicians are also called upon to create the framework conditions for a functioning recycling economy with transparent and meaningful legislation. We keep you up to date!
Due to different coloured plastic parts in the raw material to be recycled, there is usually a colour mixing of the recycled material. Therefore, packaging and injection moulded parts made of recycled material can usually only be produced in dark or muted colours. Meanwhile there are several recyclates which also allow lighter colours, but due to the high sorting effort in the recycling process, these are priced significantly higher than classic recyclates.