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K 2013: It's new and it's green from Solvay Acetow: cellulose acetate bioplastic

Düsseldorf - Solvay Acetow is announcing the introduction of its new Ocalio cellulose acetate bio-plastic, manufactured using wood pulp, for the first time here at the K show. "Actually, what people mostly know about us is that 95% of our material is used to make cigarette filters," said Louis Cozzari, Business Development Manager at Solvay Acetow. "But now we're diversifying into other products. We are, after all, a natural based, "green" material. We source all our wood pulp from SFI certified forests. So, with our material, there is no competition with food."

Altogether, including a bio-plasticizer, the bio-based content of Ocalio compounds is at present 50%, with a two-star biobased Vincotte certification. It also has a much lower CO2 manufacturing footprint when compared to petroleum-based products.

Called Ocalio, the new material, an amorphous engineering bioplastic, is a non-toxic material, with mechanical properties that compare favorably with those of styrenics. "We're targeting the replacement of ABS, PS, PC and SAN," said Cozzari. "The typical mechanical behavior is comparable to ABS."

This bioplastic is scratch and shock resistant, provides good heat resistance and good processability, as well as offering high impact and fracture resistance and good dimensional stability. It also has outstanding surface esthetics: not only is it glossy, it also has silky tactile qualities and is transparent, which is a big plus for the higher end packaging market.

"We see many brand owners who are looking for a bioplastic that is suitable for use in more durable applications, especially, for example cosmetic packaging, which has to look good," Cozzari said. "Lipstick, blusher and perfume containers are potential applications."

Initially, the European consumer goods markets are being targeted. "The demand is here," said Cozzari. "In the medium to long term, applications such as cell phone and computer casings are envisaged, which are mostly made in Asia. Moreover, Ocalio was developed in Europe and is being produced in Europe, so that is where our initial focus is."

Formal approval for food contact applications has not yet been obtained for the new bioplastic, but the process has been set in motion, and no problems are anticipated.

The first Ocalio cellulose acetate compounds will be commercially available in Q1 2014.

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