Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

BIOBOTTLE Report Summary

Project ID: 606350
Funded under: FP7-SME
Country: Spain

Final Report Summary - BIOBOTTLE (Biodegradable solutions for packaging of liquid dairy products)

Executive Summary:
The current biodegradable packages cannot be used to package dairy products due to their thermal and mechanical limitations.
BIOBOTTLE overcome this problem by the reactive extrusion, which allow modifying the chemical structure of commercial biodegradable materials to increase their thermal and mechanical properties without lose their biodegradability properties. Therefore, the developed products fulfil the desired properties and requirements at pilot plant and industrial scales.
The following scheme shows the tasks carried out and the achieved results:
Definition of requirements and selection of materials
Requirements: TDS of pouches, bottles and caps - Selection of commercial biodegradables materials and additives
Reactive extrusion
New biodegradable materials developed by reactive extrusion with thermal and mechanical properties achieved. Process evaluation at pilot plant
Development of bottles for dairy product New biodegradable bottles obtained by Extrusion Blow molding. Characterization and selection of formulations
Development of pouches, lid and caps Compostable pouches manufactured by Blow Film Co-Extrusion.Compostable caps obtained by Injection moulding. Characterization and Optimization.
Validation at pilot plant scale Functional, microbiological, migration aspects and organoleptic evaluation of the different products obtained at pilot plant level using new biocompounds.
Industrial scale up and Product Validation and Training at SMEs facilities
Environmental, Economic, Safety and regulatory studies LCA Biodegradation and compostability Economic analysis and regulatory assessment
Dissemination, exploitation Use and Exploitation of the Project results BIOBOTTLE website http://www.biobottleproject.eu/ and Video Clip.

The RTD-performers involved (AIMPLAS, CNR and OWS) ensured a success technology transfer and the SMEs (ALMUPLAS, ESPAÇOPLAS, VIZELPAS, VLB and ALJUAN) implement industrial trails and obtained:
- Biocompounds fulfilling the Compostability (EN 13432 (2000)) requirements processable by extrusion blow moulding, blown film extrusion and injection moulding.
- Final products Bottles (probiotics products, fresh milk and milk derivate) with the necessary mechanical, thermal and chemical resistance.
- Pouches with the necessary mechanical, thermal and chemical resistance.
- Caps with good mechanical properties.
Different analysis were carried out for every package obtained. Functional characterization and microbiological, migration and organoleptic analysis of the packages obtained at industrial scale suggested that samples submitted to thermal treatments maintained their original properties and their shelf life does not change. Moreover, the LCA and biodegradability and compostability were carried out, all products and biocompounds fulfil the biodegradability requirements, unfortunately the bottles do not fulfil disintegration and therefore not compostability requirements. Pouches and Caps are fully compostable. The LCA results showed the higher impact of the required ingredients production (PBAT and PLA) compared to the PE and PP based packages. All the final products increases less than 10 % in the worst case (fresh milk in large bottles) the costs in comparison with the current packages. 5 % for probiotics products in small bottles, and 4% for fresh milk in pouches.

Project Context and Objectives:
Liquid dairy products are a very large important market in the food industry, especially in Europe, where the medium annual consumption of milk per capita was 123 l in 2008. EU-27 region has therefore the world’s highest per capita consumption of milk and liquid dairy products. Worldwide, liquid dairy products account for 1/5 of all beverages sold using around 2 millions of tonnes of HDPE bottles in 2012 . Nowadays, the most packages for dairy products are bottles, pouches and Tetra Pak® systems. These products, mainly bottles and Tetra Pak® systems show good recyclable properties but show same real disadvantages.
Only the 10 - 15 % of these bottles are recycled in Europe due to selective collection problems, mainly in the case of UHT milk, besides the bottles required a strong cleaned at the end of their useful life when the product is expired or consumed. It is common to find, recycled materials from milk HDPE bottles with bad smell.
The Tetra Pak® products show a suitable recyclability but this process is time consuming and the final products obtained from their recycling are expensive or low added value. Besides, only the big companies can use these technologies due to the equipment is expensive and is patented
To solve the removal and disposal problems of these packages, BIOBOTTLE aims to develop innovative plastic bottles and bags manufactured in biodegradable and compostable materials that fulfil the requirements for packaging of different types of dairy products: probiotic products, fresh milk and milk derivate such as shakes, during lifespan and at the same time compostable after their use without having to empty and clean.
Plastic bottles and bags intended for packaging of dairy products are subjected to medium-high temperature during sterilization and transportation, and therefore thermal stability of the material is a major drawback of biodegradable resins to be introduced into this wide market.
Biodegradable materials currently available on the market still do not fulfil all the requirements in certain applications, especially in terms of the thermal resistance, in comparison with traditional plastics such as high density polyethylene, HDPE or polyethylene terephthalate, PET. Biodegradable materials show a limited range of temperatures of use, up to 50-60ºC depending on their composition.
To overcome these limitations the use of chemical modification of biopolymers was proposed by reactive extrusion , to develop a biodegradable material suitable to be processed by blown film or blow moulding with properties similar to PE for the food sector.
For this, all the components (commercial biodegradable material, plasticizer, reactive agents...) must be food approval. These components were intensively blended in a co-rotative twin screw extruder to create chemical bonds that permit to modify the molecular structure of the selected biopolymers to achieve the mentioned mechanical and thermal properties without biodegradability rate decrease.
Other additional property to take into account was to assure that the new biodegradable material developed kept the organoleptic parameters of the diary product packaged, i.e., the package does not affect the characteristics of the packaged product such as: odour, colour, flavour and texture. A volatile removal technology was designed and accomplished in the compounding process to achieve that property. This technology was carried out in one step to make more efficient the compounding process.
In summary, the main challenge in BIOBOTLLE project was to modify the chemical structure of commercial biodegradable materials to increase their thermal and mechanical properties without lose their biodegradability properties for plastic bottles and pouches for the packaging of dairy products.

The role of each company participating in the project is defined in the next figure 1.
The consortium approached both project periods. In general, the project has progressed well during this second period of the project, giving good results respecting the duration in the original plan.
The consortium approached both project periods. In general, the project has progressed well during this second period of the project, giving good results respecting the duration in the original plan.

Objectives of the project - Related to WPs - Objective for PPR P2 (%) - Degree for PPR P2 (%)

1. To develop a new biodegradable material that allows maintaining the shelf-life of selected dairy products in comparison with traditional packages. - 2,3,4,5 -100 - 100

2. All polymers and additives used and the chemical reaction proposed will be fulfill the FDA and European regulations to be approved for food contact applications. Commission Regulation (EU) No 10/2011 of 14 January 2011 on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. - 1,2 -100 - 100
3. Be thermally and mechanically resistant in order to withstand thermal treatment conditions and achieve similar properties than high density polyethylene (HDPE). - 2,5 -100 -100

4. Pasteurized packages must be dimensionally and physically stable at temperatures of use (máx. 75ºC) and the UHT bottles must be stable at temperatures of use (máx. 95ºC). Have the required mechanical properties in order to allow withstanding vertical form filling sealing (for fresh milk packed in flexible pouches). - 5 -100 - 90(*)
(*) UHT bottles only are dimensionally stable at fridge temperature due to the low water vapour barrier
5. Be processable by traditional plastic processing methods, such as Blown Film co-Extrusion to obtain pouches and Extrusion and co-Extrusion Blow Moulding to obtain bottles. The production of the machine using the new material will not be lower than the 85% of the maximum machine throughput using a standard material, HDPE. - 3,4,6, - 100 - 100

6. To achieve the same weight than conventional packaging (around 25 g/1 liter bottle) taking into account that the density of biopolymers is 30% higher than HDPE by propose new bottle design based on the properties of the new material that maintain the bottle stability decreasing the wall thickness, 3,6 - 100 -100
7. Be completely biodegradable after its useful life according under composting conditions (ISO 14885:2005) - 7 - 100 -100
8. Be harmless after biodegradation, that is, no metabolites or biodegradation residuals will be formed, so there will not be toxic effects on the ecosystem. (OECD guideline 208, plus its modifications in Compostability Standard, EN 13432). - 7 -100 90 (**)

(**) All the bio-compounds developed are compostable under standard EN13432. In addition, related to the final products, caps and pouches fulfil the same test standard. In case of bottles, the disintegrated rate is not achieved due to the final thickness of the products.

9. Competitive cost compared to current packages. The end cost will not be higher than 20% in comparison with actual packages. However due the high cost of the organic and probiotics products and the low amount of plastic material per package, the increase in the cost of the final product with the new package is less than 10 % - 7 -100 - 100

The consortium consisted of 8 partners from 5 countries. 5 SME´s and 3 RTD centers:
Biodegradability certifier - OWS
Reactive extrusion at lab level -CNR
Compounding and plastics processing research center - AIMPLAS
Pouches manufacture - VIZELPAS
Big bottle manufacture - ESPAÇOPLAS
Compounder and small bottles manufacturer - ALMUPLAS
Caps manufacturer - ALJUAN
Milk package validator - VLB

Project Results:
The work in the project has been structured as shown in Figure 2
Figure 2: Structure of project development .The main scientific and technological results achieved are detailed in next points:
✓ Develop a new biodegradable material that allows maintaining the shelf-life of selected dairy products in comparison with traditional packages.
✓ All polymers and additives used will be fulfilled the FDA and European regulations to be approved for food contact applications.
✓ Be thermally and mechanically resistant, to achieve similar properties than HDPE or PET.
✓ Bottles and bags intended for packaging dairy product must be stable at temperature up to 95 ºC during the pasteurization, UHT system and transportation and to achieve the required mechanical properties to withstand the form filling sealing (for fresh milk packed in flexible pouches)
✓ Be processable by traditional plastic processing methods, such as Blown Film Extrusion to obtain pouches and Extrusion Blow Moulding to obtain bottles.
✓ To achieve similar weight than conventional packaging taking into account that the density of biopolymers is 30% higher than HDPE.
✓ The compound developed are completely biodegradable after its useful life under controlled composting conditions (ISO 14885-1:2005).
✓ Be harmless after biodegradation. (OECD guideline 208, plus its modifications in Compostability Standard, EN 13432).
✓ Competitive cost compared to current packages. The final products cost will not be higher than 20% in comparison with actual packages.
This information is presented below more detail and on a WP basis in the annex

Potential Impact:
The products developed in BIOBOTTLE project will involve a successful advance to the European dairy industry due to nowadays it is transforming yearly 135 billion litres of raw milk into a broad range of products. This industry represents ca. 13% of the turnover of the total food and drink industry in Europe. The impact of these products might be high in this sector taking into account that more that 80% of liquid milk is now sold by retailers in plastic containers, pouches and bottles, with less than 20% of milk sold in glass bottles or cartons . Moreover only the 10 – 15% of these bottles is recycled in Europe due to selective collection problems.
The products resulting from this project are expected to have a direct economic impact in the dairy industry market, but mainly in the SMEs with the profiles as beneficiaries of the project. It is expected that the biodegradable bottles and pouches developed within the BIOBOTTLE project will be achieved into the dairy market industry to the organic farmers, retailers or supermarkets.
With the data obtained from BIOBOTTLE materials and consider the following estimations there were obtained the following economic data:

Table 1. Estimations for the economic data
The potential market for the big bottles is 122 kt of material, small bottles 93 kt, 3,1 kt for pouches and 10,2 kt for caps. The calculations were performed with an estimation for 1.5 litres bottles taking into account the density difference, the industrial scale bottles were obtained with a 0.5 l capacity. The economic benefit calculations done in this section is focused mainly on those partners who will benefit more directly from the project results: compounders, big bottles producers, small bottles producers, caps producers and pouches manufacturers. The other significant benefits for end-users and society in general are not quantified.
The processing costs used in the calculations are the procession costs measured during the industrial scaling up processes along the project implementation. These processing costs are lower than the processing cost of the current materials and probably due to the increase in production these costs could be further optimised. The compound costs are 3.5 €/kg, compounding process 0,15 €/kg, extrusion blow moulding 0,85 €/kg, blow film extrusion 0,018 €/kg and caps injection 0,029 €/kg.
A 3 % annual growth has been assumed, therefore, the market penetration of the big bottles along 5 years after the project finishes is the following:
Table 2. Market penetration of the big bottle producers
The new technology is translated into a 85,9 M€ and a direct profit of 12,9 M€.
Similar benefits collect in Table 4 are calculated for the rest of the partners:
Table 3. Total benefit for BIOBOTTLE partners
Collecting all the figures, a direct return of 26,6 M€ over the 5-year period is obtained. This means an approximate return on investment ratio of 25,5 for the involved partners over the 5-year period, considering the total cost of the project (~1.1 M€ including the EU funding). The risk assumed by these partners in comparison with the possible benefits can be considered suitable. All of them expect to improve their competitive position in their own markets.
It is important to highlight that the environmental costs have not been included in these calculations but they are even much more significant for the society as a whole.
Business applications for the biodegradable materials in Europe promotes the creation of new producers, suppliers and returns on an increase in employment. In addition the already established companies in the market will improve their competence.
The use of biodegradable compostable plastic materials for this application will have the following environmental benefits:
− Compostable plastics are completely and rapidly degraded in compounds which do not harm the environment.
− A percentage of these compounds is based on renewable sources, so this contributes to the preservation of fossil supplies on Earth.
− There is an energy saving since a subsequent waste management process is not required.
In addition, a critical synthetic analysis of all results, failures and successes to enable strategies for further research and actions has been described in the following figure:

Figure 12. Critical synthetic analysis
Specifically to each partner, the expected benefits from the project are linked to the following actions:
ALMUPLAS: Due to the company has been working in two main activities, the expected benefits are divided in the following:
− Open a new niche of business because a new market will be created with the new biodegradable compounds.
− Enhance their knowledge by the use of processes such as reactive extrusion that are not widely developed at an industrial scale nowadays, especially for biodegradable materials and additives suitable for these.
− Develop reactive extrusion processes for biodegradable materials represents in fact an innovation from which the compounders can benefit by increasing their expertise and by offering higher added value products.
− Broad their range of products (bottles) by offering a new product inexistent nowadays: biodegradable bottles with improved thermal properties especially for probiotic products. Besides, provide a higher added value product that will allow European manufacturers to differentiate them from far-east competitors.
VIZELPAS:
− Increase their volume of business because a new market will be created (pouches made from commodity plastics production is currently slightly introduced on the market).
− Enter into South America market and reinforce the EU market, increasing its revenues.
− Gain expertise in optimizing the blow film extrusion process for obtaining biodegradable pouches.
ALJUAN:
− Wide their market penetration through achieving the knowledge to inject biodegradable materials to be used afterwards in the dairy products industry.
− New business opportunities to widen their sells within the EU market.
ESPAÇOPLAS:
− Broad their range of products by offering a new product inexistent nowadays: biodegradable bottles with improved thermal properties especially for fresh pasteurized milk and shakes.
− Provide a higher added value product that will allow European manufacturers to differentiate them from far-east competitors.
VLB:
− Assess their potential clients of milk end users and packers and adapt the requirements of the developed package to the organic milk, dairy and probiotic products.
− Provide an added value to their customers’ products by means of sustainable bottle designs which broad its market by offering higher added value bottles.
− New products to be tested and widen their portfolio.
Since the beginning of the project as part of the activities developed there were prepared a basic validated material to introduce the project to stakeholders or potential clients, in this sense, flyer, project website (http://www.biobottleproject.eu/), poster, videoclip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6vquZsHpdI) and a project presentation were used for dissemination purposes. Project objectives, work done and products developed are included in the material prepared. After the project implementation, at least two years more, dissemination tools will be updated, revised and developed to optimize the projects achievements. The methodology of using these tools was important for the success of project and future exploitation of the results.
All the partners have been involved in the dissemination activities, which have been implemented along the whole project duration. For this reason the dissemination was carried out in two main channels: within their organizations (e.g. press release, internal newsletters, meetings, workshops, website, etc.) and during external events (e.g. fairs, shows, conferences, congresses, etc.) and SMES clients.
Some of the dissemination activities to be highlighted are: two articles in the bioplastics magazine, Industrias lacteas Españolas magazine and Beverage - Technology and Marketing Magazine.
Moreover, there project was introduced during the European researchers’ Night in Pisa and a workshop.
During the project development there were companies contacting the coordinator thought the project website, such as SOMEX, ARLA FOOD; CAPSA; WRBM, and expressed their interest in the project. In parallel the SMEs had introduced their products to companies. All of them are interested in the products and the SMEs involved in the project have started with the join exploitation agreement preparation in order to establish the basis for cooperating with the rest of the partners.
Another key event was the workshop organised taking advantage of a seminar organised in AIMPLAS named “Plastics are Future” http://www.plasticsarefuture.com/ free- workshop was organised to present the success case of BIOBOTTLE project.
This activity aim is the wide diffusion of the research results generated by the project consortium. Several sample products developed were shown during the event.
More than 175 attendees participate in the workshop, representing the different participants in the value-chain, from raw materials to final products and end-users.
Figure13: Representation of the attendees belonging
Figure 14: Photos of the event
Commercial visits
Apart of the activities aforementioned the partners participating in the project include the project presentation during their commercial visits to potential clients in order to make the project known into a wider audience.
These types of visits came mainly from the SMES, which tried to actively introduce the new products to their trustful clients.
Partner CNR also presented the cases studies to the public into an evaluation panel to assess the samples in terms of appearance, aroma, taste, texture.
As a result of the project the SMEs are owners of the following IPR:
- New thermoplastic material based on biodegradable plastic materials and processable by extrusion blow moulding process
- New thermoplastic material based on biodegradable plastic materials and processable by blown film extrusion process
- New thermoplastic material based on biodegradable plastic materials and processable by injection moulding.
- New biodegradable bottles with good mechanical, thermal resistance and functional properties to packages probiotic and fresh milk product.
- New compostable pouches with good mechanical, thermal resistance and functional properties.
- New compostable cap with good mechanical, thermal resistance and functional properties.
In all cases the results will be protected as industrial secret.
All the SME beneficiaries have collected their intentions and interests in terms of exploitation of the project results as summarized below:
ALMUPLAS Exploitation claims
Manufacture:
Produce the biocomposite to be processable by blow moulding, blow film extrusion and injection moulding.
Manufacture small bottles with the required mechanical, thermal resistance and functional properties, with the actual limitations regarding to the fulfillment of the composting regulation.
Use:
Use of the formulations developed to produce the small bottles for any required applications.
Licence:
Right to give a license for compounding the material or extrusion blown moulding to a third party to compensate temporary production bottlenecks.
Right to give a license for compounding or extrusion blown moulding to a third party for continuous production.
The licence will be in agreement with the 49% of ownership according to the Exploitation results.
Selling:
Selling the compounds for production of final parts for different applications (see U) in parts according to the ownership percentage (49%).
Selling small bottles for different applications
Right to give VLB preferential conditions to acquire the BIOBOTTLE small bottles developed by ALMUPLAS.
Other:
Provide services such as technical assistance to customers who are going to use packages.
VIZELPAS Exploitation claims
Manufacture:
Manufacture pouches with the required mechanical, thermal resistance and functional properties , informing also about their compostability.
Use:
Use of the formulations developed to produce the pouches for any required applications.
Licence:
Right to give a license for blown film extrusion process for obtaining pouches and films to a third party to compensate production bottlenecks.
Right to give a license for blown film extrusion process for obtaining pouches and films for continuous production.
Right to give licensing for compounding the material previously arranged upon written approval with ALMUPLAS in order to ensure a continuous supply of the composite to manufacture the pouches, and films.
Selling:
Selling pouches and films for different applications
Give VLB preferential conditions to acquire the pouches from BIOBOTTLE.
Other:
Provide services such as technical assistance to customers who are going to use pouches and films.
Acquire the biocomposites materials performed by ALMUPLAS with preferential conditions versus other competitors in the market for at least 4 years after the end of the project.
ALJUAN Exploitation claims
Manufacture:
Manufacture caps with the certificates of the compostable logo. This material give access to companies which they are not working at the moment.
Use:
Use of the formulations developed to produce the compostable caps for any required applications.
Licence:
Right to give a license for injection moulding for obtaining caps to a third party to compensate production bottlenecks.
Right to give a license for injection moulding for obtaining caps for continuous production.
Right to give licensing for compounding the material previously arranged upon written approval with ALMUPLAS in order to ensure a continuous supply of the composite to manufacture the caps.
Selling:
Selling caps for different applications
Right to give VLB preferential conditions to acquire the caps developed in BIOBOTTLE. Together with VLB, offer the customers packaging milk, wine and spirits this kind of material to bottle their product and make a difference in the market in respect to the competitors
Other:
Provide services such as technical assistance to customers who are going to use their caps.
Acquire the biocomposites materials performed by ALMUPLAS with preferential conditions versus other competitors in the market for at least 4 years after the end of the project.
ESPAÇOPLAS Exploitation claims
Manufacture:
Manufacture large bottles with the required mechanical, thermal resistance andfunctional properties, with the actual limitations regarding to the fulfillment of the composting regulation.
Use:
Use of the formulations developed to produce the bottles for any required applications.
Licence:
Right to give a license for extrusion blown moulding process for large bottles obtaining to a third party to compensate production bottlenecks.
Right to give a license for extrusion blown moulding process for large bottles obtaining for continuous production.
Right to give licensing for compounding the material previously arranged upon written approval with ALMUPLAS in order to ensure a continuous supply of the composite to manufacture the large bottles.
Selling:
Selling small bottles for different applications
Right to give VLB preferential conditions to acquire the large bottles developed in BIOBOTTLE.
Other:
Provide services such as technical assistance to customers who are going to use packages.
VLB Exploitation claims
Licence:
Right to give a license for extrusion blown moulding process for large bottles (ESPAÇOPLAS) small bottles (ALMUPLAS), films and pouches (VIZSELPAS) and caps (ALJUAN) obtaining, previously arranged upon written approval with partners mentioned in brackets in order to ensure a continuous supply of the manufactured products when needed.
Other:
Provide services such as technical assistance to customers who are going to use products or packages.

The basis for a Joint Ownership Agreement has been settle down in the case of co-ownership, each owner is able to exploit the result on its own with the obligation to periodically inform the other co-owners. Also, if any of the owners intends to transfer rights or provide access or license to a third party the approval of all owners is required beforehand. The compensation conditions (e.g. share of royalties) will be defined case-by-case by the co-owners under written agreement among all Parties involved.

List of Websites:
Coordinator: AIMPLAS - Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico
C/ Gustave Eiffel, 4 (València Parc Tecnològic)
46980 - PATERNA (Valencia) – SPAIN
Tlf. (+34) 96 136 60 40
Email: proyectos@aimplas.es
http://www.biobottleproject.eu/

Related information

Reported by

AIMPLAS - ASOCIACION DE INVESTIGACION DE MATERIALES PLASTICOS Y CONEXAS
Spain
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