Husky helps develop first compostable water bottle

Related tags Plastic Water Injection molding

Preform production equipment provider Husky has contributed to the
development of the first compostable water bottle made from
NatureWorks PLA corn-based resin.

Husky worked closely with Biota Brands of America, Cargill Dow and SIG Corpoplast to develop a fully compostable bottle for Biota's new line of Colorado spring water. The bottle is compatible with all municipal/industrial composting facilities, according to Cargill Dow.

"Husky worked hand-in-hand with these companies to develop what we feel is a breakthrough application,"​ said Mike Urquhart, Husky PET vice president.

"One of our core values is proactive environmental responsibility, which is why we're thrilled to be involved in such a project. This is a great example of how it's possible to combine commercial success with environmental sustainability."

The concept behind NaturalWorks is relatively simple. Cargill essentially "harvests" the carbon from corn, which plants remove from the air during photosynthesis and store in grain starches. This is achieved by breaking down the starches into natural plant sugars.

The carbon and other elements in these natural sugars are then used to make plastic, called polylactide (PLA), through a simple process of fermentation, separation and polymerisation. Packaging made from NatureWorks is therefore 100 per cent nature-based.

Husky supplied Biota with the preform production equipment - a 24-cavity HyPET 120 system that is currently producing preforms for 12 oz, ½ litre and 1 litre water bottles. Husky's HyPET machine offers faster cycles, reduced mould wear, better repeatability, lower acetaldehyde generation and better energy efficiency, leading to higher output-per-capital and high-quality preforms.

Husky's​ preform development centre was also involved throughout the preform and bottle design phase, working closely with blowmoulding equipment supplier SIG Corpoplast, which supplied Biota with a Blomax-10, 10-cavity stretch blowmoulding system."In developing the Biota bottle, we aligned ourselves with companies that could provide us with the production expertise we needed, and who shared the same sustainability vision,"​ said David M. Zutler, CEO of Biota Brands of America. "Biota is changing the face of the beverage industry with its compostable bottle. Consumers ultimately want a planet-friendly option."

Indeed, new research suggests that biodegradable polylactide (PLA) bottles can be easily segregated from PET bottles in the waste stream, a point that strengthens the environmental claims of the material.

The study, conducted by National Recovery Technologies (NRT), shows that polylactide (PLA) bottles can be segregated from PET bottles as part of a fraction that is already being removed by reclaimers using NRT infrared machines.

"Because the NatureWorks PLA will likely be in the same stream as common items like salad dressing bottles, vegetable oil bottles, mouthwash and other plastics like PVC, we anticipate that existing NRT infrared machines will not need to be modified to separate PLA from the PET stream,"​ said John Thomsen, engineering manager at NRT, a world leader in plastic mass-sorting technology.

Husky Injection Molding Systems is a global supplier of injection moulding equipment and services to the plastics industry. The company has more than 40 service and sales offices, supporting customers in more than 100 countries.

Related topics R&D Soft drinks Smart Packaging

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