A new publication, the Journal of Renewable Materials, will be coming out with its first issue in December (and it’s accepting unsolicited online submissions here). As a peer-reviewed journal of research, obviously it will be much more in-depth than the occasional coverage and links I present in this series of blogs on bio-based materials.
Still, the abundance of related news, like the items below, makes it clear why such a journal is needed. So much research is waiting to be done, and published, about the use of materials from relatively mundane renewable materials like these....
Bamboo: Along with the abbreviation for “WPC” for wood-plastic composites, perhaps we should get used to using “BPC,” for bamboo-plastic composites (or at least “GPC,” since bamboo is actually a grass). A 60% bamboo/40% HDPE formulation for decking has been developed – with both components reportedly being 100% recycled, using post-industrial bamboo from the company’s other products, and HDPE from recycled containers.
Meadow grass: In more grass-related news, a German company has created AgriPlastic, a lightweight composite that combines 40-75% meadow grass and 25-60% recycled plastic. The grass is produced during farmers’ crop rotations, according to the report. Injection-molded products for the material are said to include “spoons, brackets, machine cases, and protective caps” – quite a variety.
Weeds: Finally, the title “Rubber from Dandelions” says it all. Latex derived from cultivated dandelions serves as yet another form of bio-sourcing, and this cultivation, collection, and conversion into latex has actually been done in Europe since World War II. Moreover, a lot of other common plants also produce latex, according to the “wiki” cited above.
Watch for future parts to this series covering cellulose-based materials, and even developments in resins made from the greenhouse gas CO2.
Mike Tolinski is the author of Plastics and Sustainability, published in Oct. 2011 by Wiley-Scrivener, and he is Contributing Editor for Plastics Engineering magazine of the Society of Plastics Engineers in the USA. His views have been shaped by his engineering, university, and journalism experience in the plastics and manufacturing industries over the past 22 years. You can follow Mike and be alerted on blog updates via Twitter.