Serious environmental problems such as climate change, micro plastic pollution including marine environment caused by human activity and population explosion, are getting worse every day. For example, over 500 billion PET bottles are consumed in the world every year and part of them are becoming pollution in the environment including the ocean so immediate action should be taken in order to solve this garbage problem.
Nano Cellulose, is derived from natural biomass resources such as trees and plants and is recyclable and biodegradable. Because its raw material is an abundant natural resource, it can be cheap, therefore, nano cellulose is an excellent green, next-generation biomaterial. Especially when strength of biodegradable resin is improved by mixing with nano cellulose, it has a significant scientific impact because even though glass fiber, carbon fiber can make biodegradable resin stronger, the composite material is not environmentally friendly because they (glass fiber, carbon fiber) are not a biodegradable, nature derived material. On the other hand, nano cellulose is 100 % natural material and biodegradable, so that nano cellulose and biodegradable resin composite material also can be 100 % nature derived material and biodegradable.
This time, Green Science Alliance made biodegradable bottles instead of PET bottles with nano Cellulose + PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) composite material, with collaboration research with Frontier Inc. (Nagano, Japan). As mentioned above, this composite material is not using any petroleum and is 100 % natural material and biodegradable. By mixing with nano cellulose, PLA strength was improved (this technology is already confirmed by Green Science Alliance and they have patent for it). They have also found that by using PLA + nano cellulose composite material as raw material for blow molding, which is the general molding method for manufacturing PET bottles, strength and formability may have improved when compared to using only PLA as raw material.
Green Science Alliance will continue researching to improve mechanical strength as well as gas barrier property such as oxygen barrier property, and durability, in order to be compatible with PET bottles for real industrial usage. They will also apply this technology with other types of bottles with blow molding technology so that they can make all types of bottle products with their environmentally friendly, 100 % natural material, without using any petroleum.
They will start to sell this biodegradable bottle with their company tradename “Nano Sakura.”
Source: Green Science Alliance Co., Ltd.