Bologna, Italy. Bio-on inaugurated its first owned plant designed to produce 100% natural and biodegradable special PHAs bioplastics for high added value niche markets such as the microbeads used in the cosmetics sector.
"We are extremely proud," explains Bio-on Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri, "because this factory demonstrates all-Italian excellence and is the beginning of a new era in the global green chemical industry. From today, thanks to our bioplastic, many companies will have the chance to protect the environment and give ecological credentials to their products, in compliance with ever more stringent limits on the use of conventional plastics."
The new production hub is located in Castel San Pietro Terme just outside Bologna has a current production capacity of 1000 tons per year, which can be quickly doubled. The plant, managed by Bio-on Plants, the division responsible for production, future expansion and new plants, is equipped with the very latest technologies and the most advanced research laboratories. Here, over 20 researchers in the CNS division (Cosmetic, Nanomedicine & Smart Materials) can test new carbon sources from agricultural waste to produce new types of biodegradable bioplastic and increase the range of technologies offered by Bio-on.
The first product to come out of the Castel San Pietro Terme plant will be Minerv Bio Cosmetics, the bioplastic microbeads for cosmetics designed to replace the oil-based plastic particles currently used, which are harmful and non-biodegradable. These microbeads, which are used as thickeners or stabilisers in such widely used products as lipstick, lip gloss, mascara, eye-liner, nail polish, creams, shampoo, foam bath and even toothpaste, pollute the environment because once they are rinsed off after use, they become a permanent part of the natural cycle: plankton in the rivers and seas swallow these plastic particles and thus introduce them into the food chain. Using Minerv Bio Cosmetics bioplastic in cosmetics products eliminates these pollutants because the micro particles of bioplastic are naturally biodegradable in water and, therefore, do not enter the food chain. What is more, the biopolymer developed at the Bio-on laboratories actually decomposes into a nutrient for some micro-organisms and plants present in nature. The benefit for the environment is therefore two-fold.
All the Minerv PHAs bioplastics (polyhydroxyalkanoates) developed by Bio-on are made from renewable plant sources with no competition with food supply chains. They guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as conventional plastics with the advantage of being 100% eco-sustainable and naturally biodegradable.
Bio-on S.p.A., an Italian Intellectual Property Company (IPC), operates in the bioplastic sector conducting applied research and development of modern bio-fermentation technologies in the field of eco-sustainable and completely naturally biodegradable materials. In particular, Bio-on develops industrial applications through the creation of product characterisations, components and plastic items. Since February 2015, Bio-on S.p.A. has also been operating in the development of natural and sustainable chemicals for the future. Bio-on has developed an exclusive process for the production of a family of polymers called PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) from agricultural waste (including molasses and sugar cane and sugar beet syrups). The bioplastic produced in this way is able to replace the main families of conventional plastics in terms of performance, thermo-mechanical properties and versatility. Bio-on PHAs is a bioplastic that can be classified as 100% natural and completely biodegradable: this has been certified by Vincotte and by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). The Issuer's strategy envisages the marketing of licenses for PHAs production and related ancillary services, the development of R&D (also through new collaborations with universities, research centres and industrial partners), as well as the realisation of industrial plants designed by Bio-on.