Tricorbraun partners with BioBottles to supply industry-first biodegradable plastics

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Biobottles
© Biobottles

Related tags Biodegradable plastics Packaging plastic pollution Sustainability

Global packaging company TricorBraun has entered into an exclusive agreement to supply BioBottles to the nutraceutical industry in the US and Canada. The novel biodegradable bottles use a proprietary technology that breaks down plastics into earth-friendly materials.

“Sustainability matters to our customers and their consumers, and it matters to TricorBraun,” said Mark O’Bryan, chief operations officer at TricorBraun. “Our exclusive BioBottles agreement is another example of our focused efforts to offer comprehensive, sustainable options for our customers.”

The solution is presented as the future of plastic, specifically designed and engineered for the nutraceutical industry to preserve not only the protective qualities of traditional plastic packaging but also the planet from a steady stream of plastic pollution.

The road to revolutionizing plastics

In 2020, James Van Brocklin and Adam Ackerman, owners of US-based sustainable packaging solutions provider Better Earth, started to think about how to reduce the toxic impact of discarded plastics that fail to make it into the recycling stream. This led them to Symphony Environmental – a British company specializing in technologies that make plastic and rubber products “smarter, safer and more sustainable” – and its d2​w oxo-biodegradable technology. 

“We have decided to use Symphony’s d2​w technology in the manufacture of our bottles and caps which from our trials has demonstrated will make them biodegrade up to 90 times faster if they get lost as litter, where they could otherwise lie or float around for decades,” Van Brocklin and Ackerman said following the partnership announcement in Feb. 2022. “We believe this will revolutionize how plastic bottles and other packaging are manufactured.”

With a two-year exclusive US supply contract in hand, Better Earth launched its nutritional supplement bottles, caps and scoops under its BioBottles brand, powered by “Plastic IQ Technology”. A supplementary d2w supply contract extended the product scope to nutraceutical products and supply rights to Canada in November 2022.

Turning plastic into organic compound

The technology itself dates to the 1970s when Gerald Scott, a chemistry professor at Aston University in Birmingham, England, and other polymer scientists, discovered that when they introduced a very small amount of a catalyst (usually a salt of manganese or iron) into ordinary polyethylene or polypropylene, the plastic would maintain its properties but would rapidly become biodegradable when discarded into the open environment.  More recent Symphony Environment-sponsored studies substantiate the accelerated and non-toxic effect of the pro-oxidant additive technology. 

As BioBottles explains: “The technology stimulates bacteria and microorganisms into thinking they’re eating natural food sources, resulting in accelerated decay of plastic, leaving behind only oxygen, CO2 and renewable organic material.” 

The plastics may still be reused and recycled but degrade within a short timeframe when exposed to UV sunlight, oxygen and micro-organisms, leaving no harmful residues or microplastics behind. Other attributes cited include five-year shelf stability, competitive pricing to traditional plastic bottles and FDA and food grade compliance.

“TricorBraun shares our dedication and commitment to providing sustainable packaging options for the benefit of the planet,” Van Brocklin said. “We are excited to partner with a respected industry leader like TricorBraun to deliver this unique yet sustainable alternative for nutraceutical companies—and we look forward to working with TricorBraun to expand into new markets.”

Packaging options include Polypropylene (PP) and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bottles, closures, scoops, labels, dispensers, tubes, flexibles and custom molds. In a note to customers, BioBottles calls attention to California’s prohibition on the sale of plastic packaging and plastic products in or into the state (including on the Internet) that are labeled with the terms like ‘biodegradable,’ ‘degradable’ or ‘decomposable’.

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