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Industry news: Ban on disposable items

Sustainable alternatives to single-use products

Plastic drinking straws, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and plates could be banned in 2021 in a bid to drastically reduce the pollution of the oceans. It is now time to find biodegradable, compostable, water-soluble alternatives. This also calls for a response from the nonwovens industry.

November 2018

Single-use products made from plastics pollute the environment and especially the oceans to a significant degree: around 80 per cent of marine litter is made up of plastics. Most of it comprises single-use products such as plastic cups, drinking straws, cutlery and plates. If the ten products most frequently found on the beaches and in the oceans were banned, the impact would be considerable: the amount of marine litter could be reduced by more than half.  This could compensate for the damage to the environment, which would otherwise entail costs of 23 billion euros up to 2030. According to the projected figures published by the European Commission, this would lower CO2-equivalent emissions by 3.4 million tons up to 2030.

By 2021 we may have seen an end to plastic drinking straws, bags, plates, cutlery, cotton swabs and balloons: the EU Commission’s bid to ban a range of single-use products was approved at its first reading at the European Parliament in October, coupled with a commitment to reduce single-use plastics by 2025.  The member states are expected to vote on the issue next year.

Hygiene and personal care products are included on the list of critical items. This requires the nonwovens industry to develop more sustainable materials that do not pollute the environment. The Austrian fibre manufacturer Lenzing has come up with a solution: Veocel, a botanic fibre for products like floor cloths, tampons, face masks or wet wipes made from the raw material wood. The cellulose fibres are produced in a closed-loop production process and are compostable and biodegradable. Thanks to eco-friendly dispersion technologies, the wet wipes are for instance water-soluble. Veocel fibres, certified by the EU Ecolabel scheme, are therefore fully recyclable.

This sustainable innovation and others will be showcased at the upcoming edition of Techtextil, the leading international trade show for technical textiles and nonwovens taking place from 14 to 17 May 2019 in Frankfurt am Main.

#Industry news #Sustainability #Innovation #Nonwovens #botanic fibres #Veocel #Techtextil #Frankfurt am Main #Germany

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Photo credit: Lenzing AG / Photo: Markus Renner / Electric Arts


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