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Brief Published: 23 Mar 2018

Sugarcane Bioplastics: Sustainable Applications

British men's skincare brand Bulldog uses 'green' polyethylene from sugarcane for packaging

With excessive plastic waste under the spotlight, sustainable and plant-based alternatives are currently in development. Plastics derived from sugarcane are among the innovations. We highlight the latest applications for these biopolymers.

  • ‘Green’ Plastic Packaging: British plastic manufacturer RPC M&H Plastics has developed a range of sustainable, flexible packaging options – such as tubes and bottles – made from sugarcane.

    Grown on sustainable land in Brazil, the sugarcane is transformed into ethanol that is used to create a ‘green’ polyethylene. The resulting biopolymer has the same properties as conventional high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and is an eco-friendly, potentially carbon-negative alternative – saving CO2 rather than producing it (sugarcane absorbs CO2 as it grows).

    The innovation recently won the Innovation Showcase Award at Packaging Innovations 2018. See our coverage here.
  • Sustainable Kids’ Toys: In a bid to reduce its plastic waste, Danish toymaker Lego has started production on a range of plant-based plastic pieces made from sugarcane. Also produced using sugarcane-derived ethanol, the sustainable polyethylene is soft, durable and flexible, with little difference to the plastic used for traditional Lego bricks.

    The new elements will come in botanical-shaped pieces such as leaves, bushes and trees. While they will only account for 1-2% of the company’s output, Lego’s goal is to produce all of its bricks using the bioplastic by 2030.

    See Toys Transformed into Furniture for other sustainable plastic children’s products.

 For more on the latest plastic developments, new solutions and bio-based alternatives for cross-industry applications, look out for our upcoming Evolving Plastics report, publishing in April.

Sustainable Lego elements made from sugarcane plastic
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