Technical Papers Plastics
Converting meat byproducts into bioplastic

Converting meat byproducts into bioplastic

One of the hurdles facing producers of most bioplastics is being price competitive with petrochemical plastics. A price-competitive bioplastic that is a co product of the red meat industry has been developed. Novatein is a bioplastic under development by Aduro Biopolymers LP. Novatein uses bloodmeal, a co-product of the red meat industry, and converts it into a bioplastic.

In 2007 at the University of Waikato, Dr Johan Verbeek built a team of student researchers to investigate whether a commercially useful bioplastic could be made from co-products of the red meat industry. The result is Novatein, a bioplastic material which can be reformulated, modified and optimised to suit a particular products attributes. Researchers have also modified the colour of bloodmeal with the resulting bioplastic having a translucent honey coloured appearance with improved properties. It is not a food-contact product, but is best-suited for agricultural and horticultural applications like pots, containers, pegs and weed matting. It is not suitable for applications that require high and sustained strength and long-term durability. Bioplastic products are generally expensive because the production of the material tends to involve energy intensive and complex science, which means significant investment is required in research and development and manufacturing facilities. The manufacturing process for Novatein is quite simple. This means the capital costs required to commence manufacture will be relatively low and should enable the cost effective production. These bio-polymers can be safely disposed of in landfills and home compost facility. This means reduced impact on the environment. The manufacturing process is simple. The cost of setting up plant and equipment to make the bio-polymer, and to process products from this material is lower. This bio-polymer is not harmful or toxic in the environment.

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