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VEnvirotech aims for products and services that fit into a circular economy. Within this framework, the ideal plastic cycle is one where the product returns back into the cycle as part of the raw material or as energy for producing a new product. This is without releasing any toxic byproduct into the environment and preferably with zero emission of greenhouse gases. Figure 1 illustrates this ideal plastic cycle that we aim for.
Figure 1. The ideal plastic cycle VEnvirotech aims for.
The term bioplastics can be a broad term covering different subcategories of materials. Plastics referred to as “bioplastics” may be very different from each other. “Bio” could refer to a plastic having any but not necessarily all of the following attributes: bio-based, biodegradable, biosynthesized, or biocompatible.
These refer to bioplastics obtained from biomass or biologically produced raw materials. These are not necessarily all biodegradable.
These are bioplastics that are biosynthesized by microbes. The microbes feed on the organic substrate and produce bioplastics as by-products of their metabolism. Optimization of the substrate and bioreactor conditions can ensure the microbes produce mostly or only the desired bioplastics. Examples of such biosynthesized bioplastics are PHAs (Polyhydroxyalkanoates).
Another class of bioplastics to be aware of are those bioplastics synthesized from monomers produced by microorganisms. PLA is an example where the polymer is synthesized from the lactic acid produced from anaerobic fermentation. Here the microbes don’t produce the bioplastics, rather they produce the monomer. These are then extracted and used for synthesizing the bioplastics in polymerization reactions.
Bio-based plastics can also be non-biodegradable. For example, there is a recent development in producing synthetic plastics like polyethylene from ethylene monomers that have been synthesized from ethanol produced from the fermentation of natural sources like sugarcane. Here you might hear terms like “BioPET” or “bio-based PET”. Although not biodegradable, most are however recyclable.
Biodegradable plastics are not necessarily bio-based. For example, PGA (polyglycolic acid), PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), and PCL (polycaprolactone) are examples of biodegradable plastics which are mostly fossil derived and synthetic.
VEnvirotech sets itself apart by producing true bioplastics that are biobased, biocompatible, and biodegradable (compostable). Beyond this, the company goes further to use organic waste as raw materials both in culturing of bioplastic-producing bacteria and in the bioplastic formulation.
Figure 2. VEnvirotech produces bio-based, biodegradable, biosynthesized, and biocompatible bioplastics.
The quality of the processes used to obtain bioplastics is what differentiates one brand of a bioplastic from another. These include the biological processes for breaking down organic waste and converting them into bioplastics, as well as the other processes from the collection of waste to the delivery of the products.
VEnvirotech’s innovative processes optimizes every step from raw materials to product. This ensures we get the best bioplastics from organic waste and also limits the impact on the environment.
Using innovative biotechnology, we have a selection of powerful bacteria-producing bacteria with optimized conditions for the best performance. So far we have isolated over 100 PHA-producing bacteria strains.
While we have developed optimized processes, the properties of PHA like any plastics are inherently limited thus requiring further intervention. To get the best out of these bioplastics they are blended with other bioplastics like PLA.
The combination of different bioplastics results in a material with superior properties. To improve the properties further, composites are produced by incorporating fibers and minerals extracted from organic waste.
VEnvirotech’s team of experts has developed 7 unique formulations of bioplastics that have been optimized for 3D printing, injection molding, and film forming. These are blends and composites incorporating different fibers and minerals from organic waste.
VEnvirotech also offers custom services to help prospective clients develop bioplastic formulations optimized for specific applications and processing methods.
Some bioplastics like PVA have been around for decades. However, their applications have been limited to use as sutures and a few other applications. This was due to their poor mechanical properties and high solubility.
VEnvirotech has developed bioplastics that are useful in existing applications and also a much wider range of applications such as packaging, prototyping, and engineering.
VEnvirotech bioplastics fit well into the circular economy model where waste is returned back into the cycle as a valuable product that will also biodegrade and become raw material for new products.
VEnvirotech runs transparent operations which meet high-quality standards of service and products. The company comprises a strong team of experts committed to the collective goal of developing high-quality bioplastics for a better world.
Fossil-derived plastics have had nearly a century in the market. This poses a big challenge for alternative plastics to replace the endless applications which are currently dominated by fossil-based, non-biodegradable plastics.
Therefore VEnvirotech is constantly innovating and developing new formulations of materials to meet every application. This is why we welcome clients to contact us to develop specific bioplastic formulas tailored to specific applications and/or capabilities.
We have validated over 85 organic wastes suited for bioplastic production. Nonetheless, we are open to validating more organic wastes and developing unique bioplastic formulations from different organic waste sources.
So contact us today to discuss your specific waste stream and upcycling aspirations.