Teijin Frontier Co., Ltd., the Teijin Group’s fibers and products converting company, claims to have created a useful polylactic acid (PLA) resin that biodegrades more quickly than traditional PLA products in soil, rivers, and seas.
With the aim of lowering the amount of microplastics in the environment, Teijin's novel PLA resin made from plants can be processed and molded in the same way as any other traditional PLA polymer.
Due to its rapid biodegradation rate and the fact that it is created from raw materials obtained from plants, Teijin's new PLA resin is anticipated to aid in the reduction of microplastics as well as CO2 emissions during the lifecycle of products, according to the company.
For the manufacturing of resins, films, injection and extrusion moulded items, textiles and non-woven fabrics, it can be processed and moulded in the same manner as conventional versions.
Typically, when PLA polymer is hydrolyzed to a molecular weight of less than 10,000Mn, bacteria and fungi may break it down into carbon dioxide and water. Faster biodegradation in seas, rivers, and soil is made possible by Teijin Frontier's biodegradation accelerator, which accelerates hydrolysis to reduce molecular weight more quickly than in the case of PLA polymers without such additives.
As a result, by altering the adding circumstances and the amount of biodegradation accelerator, the decomposition period—which Teijin Frontier verification studies indicate ranges from six months to two years—can be managed.
Injectable and extrusion-molded goods, textiles, and non-woven fabrics will all be produced and sold starting in 2023 (ending in March 2024), according to Teijin, with sales of several hundred million Japanese yen by fiscal 2026 being the aim.
Due to their high crystallinity and usefulness, PLA resins, which are often manufactured from components derived from plants and are biodegradable, are utilized in a variety of applications. Although the performance of biodegradation is satisfactory in hot, humid compost conditions, the rate is significantly slowed down in oceans, rivers, and soil, leading to the persistence of residual microplastics for extended periods.
Teijin's "Think Eco" environmental project aims to increase the company's environmental value by creating more environmentally friendly goods and materials for uses ranging from clothes to industrial supplies.
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