Today, more than ever, the plastics industry is showing increased sensitivity to environmental issues with a view to fostering a circular economy, in terms of plastic production and consumption. This has also led to concrete action by the European Union, which has included this material as one of the highest priorities in the framework of the Circular Economy Action Plan. Specifically, the EU Plastic Strategy and the Single-Use Plastics (SUP) directive were developed to guide the move towards a more sustainable model. This requires the adoption of a unified EU plastic strategy that tackles the challenge in a uniform way, focusing on three pillars: reducing the consumption of virgin polymers, recycling post-industrial and post-consumer waste, and replacing its use with bioplastics made from plant-based raw materials.
Why the paradigm shift in extrusion machines is important for your plastic strategy
We are facing a real paradigm shift that is influencing the development of the latest generation of extrusion machines, capable of operating with even greener formulations. Customers are becoming increasingly environmentally aware and are investing in advanced technologies and a recovery and recycling policy. Bausano is at the forefront in this scenario, alongside other operators in the sector, ready to respond to the market's new requirements, with dedicated technologies designed to implement innovative and energy-saving transformation methods.
Bausano boasts in-depth knowledge and expertise of the pros and cons of each material and production process. Bausano’s platform of solutions has the same technological foundation but is constantly being enhanced to achieve higher and higher levels of sophistication that meet every technical challenge related to the different formulations. With this in mind, not only does Bausano design the already popular plant fibre-plastic composites but also innovative extrusion lines that can also process blends that integrate environmentally sustainable plastics, such as PLA, with the plant component (rice husks, coffee grounds, banana peels, seaweed, almond shells, avocado kernels, cork and other plant residues). Another example of Bausano’s excellence in sustainable innovation is the processing of an even more sustainable formulation of Wood Plastic Composite (WPC), no longer only obtained from a combination of PVC and sawdust, rice husks, etc., but also from plastic waste along with the plant component.
Build customised configurations into your plastic strategy for a competitive advantage
In addition to the technological core of its extruders, Bausano's added value lies in product engineering, with tests aimed at creating customised configurations capable of securing a competitive advantage for its customers, such as:
- ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) terpolymer derived from the post-consumer recovery of electronic equipment (WEEE), undergoing testing with an unprecedented experimental line under the banner of maximum production performance;
- LDPE (low-density polyethylene) thermoplastic polymer from bottle caps with up to 60% post-consumer material, for an output of 750kg/h by twin-screw extruders from the MD series;
- High-density polyethylene HDPE, derived from bottles, with up to 60% post-consumer composition and productivity equivalent to 200kg/h using E-GO series single-screw extruders;
- PLA-based WPC, with a polylactic acid composition required by the customer of between 60-80% and sawdust composition of between 20-40%, for an output of 100 kg/h with MD series twin-screw extruders;
- Biodegradable PBAT (adipic acid copolyester) thermoplastic, which generates 900 kg/h for the production of flexible packaging.
Bausano has resolved several critical issues in the course of these extrusion processes. Firstly, while post-consumer waste has a variety of characteristics, it is often affected by oxidative degradation processes, which can alter its physical and mechanical properties. Secondly, materials from renewable sources pose just as many challenges, stemming from the complex handling of their rheology and the limited thermal processing range.
The most recent guidelines issued at a European level show that the reduction of virgin plastic consumption is one of the cornerstones of the new directives. One of the sectors in which plastics volumes remain particularly high is packaging. In order to limit the exploitation of natural resources, it is therefore essential to promote the use of viable alternatives, which are both environmentally friendly and high-performance. In this context, corporate strategies to reduce plastic pollution must also be reviewed to consider long-term sustainable development goals and view these changes as an opportunity to search for new, pioneering solutions.