Purac sponsors biobased PLA recycling initiative

By Erin Voegele | November 30, 2012

Bioplastic producer Purac is sponsoring the Perpetual Plastic Project to highlight how easily biobased poly lactic acid (PLA) can be recycled. According to Purac, the project is designed to educate people on the recyclability of bioplastics, in order to promote a circular, biobased economy for future generations. The initiative was created by former Delft University of Technology students. Pura and GroenBeker are providing the PLA cups.

The Perpetual Plastic Project features an interactive machine that allows users to recycle Purac’s biobased PLA cups into small items, including jewelry and toys. In a video that demonstrates the ability of the machine, a cup is cleaned, dried, shredded and fed into an extruder, where it is essentially formed into sticks of recycled PLA. The material is then fed into a 3D printer, which transforms the PLA into a personalized ring. According to information released by Purac, the machine is currently touring the Netherlands, where it is being featured at several events.

"This initiative demonstrates in a tangible, understandable way just how easily PLA can be recycled,” said François de Bie, marketing director of Purac Bioplastics. “Although PLA is still a relatively new material to the plastics industry, it promises to become widely implemented throughout a broad range of applications. It is therefore vital that we already start to think about how best to recycle these valuable materials. Thanks to the Perpetual Plastics Project, we can show people at events and festivals what can ultimately be achieved on a much larger scale.”

Purac is also active in other areas of the biorefining sector. Last month, the company announced is establishing a joint venture with BASF to produce and sell biobased succinic acid. The new company, Succinity GmbH, is expected to be operational in 2013. The joint venture is the result of a joint development agreement established in 2009, which resulted in the development of a proprietary microorganism.

In addition, Purac recently launched a new range of Puralact lactides, which offer several benefits for enhancement of coating resins. The new products feature improved performance in terms of reduced resin viscosity, improved adhesion, impact resistance, chemical resistance, and others. Puralact is produced from biobased lactic acid.