Tecnaro GmbH (Ilsfeld-Auenstein, Germany) will incorporate Mirel bioplastic into its Arboblend line of biodegradable thermoplastic compounds. Mirel, which is based on polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), is produced by Telles, a joint venture between Metabolix Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Company.
Tecnaro's Arboblend line of materials is biodegradable in industrial composting and anaerobic digestion systems. The companies are collaborating on thermoplastic formulations using Mirel F1005 and P1003 injection molding grades. Tecnaro cited the PHA's "high temperature resistance and its mechanical properties" as reasons it was chosen.
Mirel P1003 is a general-purpose injection molding grade with high modulus, while Mirel F1005 is FDA cleared for use in non-alcoholic food-contact applications, including frozen food storage, microwave reheating, and boiling water up to 212°F. The material is suitable for a range of injection-molded food service and packaging applications, including caps and closures, cutlery, tubs, trays, jars, and other consumer products.
Arboblend is currently used for a variety of products in the household and sporting goods markets. The new offering will combine Mirel with lignin, starch, cellulose, organic additives, natural resins or waxes, and natural reinforcing fibers. The compound will then be processed via injection molding, extrusion, or thermoforming.
Tecnaro grew out of the development of the Arboform technology at the Fraunhofer Institute. That biopolymer reportedly has the same processing qualities and features of plastic, but is based on the wood-component lignin and various natural fibers, including hemp, flax, and natural additives.
Telles also announced this week that Canadian film producer AL-PACK Enterprises Ltd. (New Brunswick) will launch a new home and garden mulch film based on Mirel bioplastic.
The Mirel A5004 film offers controlled biodegradability in soil for agricultural and horticultural purposes. AL-PACK plans on the Mirel-based agricultural mulch film product targeting home gardeners being available for fall retail tradeshows, with an industrial mulch film product planned in the near future.