Scion is help­ing New Zealand punch above its weight

Element - - Element Promotion -

The Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Bio­prod­ucts group of Scion is at the fore­front of global re­search into bio-based al­ter­na­tives to tra­di­tional fos­sil-fuel-based prod­ucts, with pack­ag­ing al­ter­na­tives high on the list.

“This is not about try­ing to get rid of pack­ag­ing,” says El­speth MacRae, gen­eral man­ager of the group. “Pack­ag­ing is vi­tal. You couldn’t sell any­thing with­out it. For New Zealand, with our ge­o­graph­i­cal iso­la­tion, it is even more im­por­tant to pro­tect our prod­ucts, par­tic­u­larly for our ex­port mar­kets.”

MacRae says that in the last 5-10 years Scion has “upped the game,” work­ing on light­weight biopoly­mer prod­ucts, hy­brid fi­bre-bio­plas­tic prod­ucts, bioad­he­sives, bio­plas­tics and bio­foams.

Much of the work is find­ing favour over­seas where progress on waste man­age­ment is more ad­vanced. For ex­am­ple, Scion is cur­rently work­ing with a Fin­nish com­pany on adapt­ing a tech­nol­ogy which makes a poly­mer from trees to pro­duce plas­tic film, a prod­uct which could have wide pack­ag­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. Also biodegrad­able bio­plas­tics, which are rare here due to the ab­sence of any com­mer­cial com­post­ing plants. Hope­fully this will change in New Zealand over time.

Scion’s most highly pub­li­cised prod­uct ap­pli­ca­tion in New Zealand is per­haps that of Ze­spri’s ‘spife’ – a cross be­tween a spoon and a knife, specif­i­cally de­signed for eat­ing a ki­wifruit on the move. The orig­i­nal was made from stan­dard plas­tic, but has been re­designed to be made from ki­wifruit waste mixed with a bio­plas­tic.

Scion also works with the Biopoly­mer Net­work Ltd, which has cre­ated bio al­ter­na­tives to ex­panded poly­styrene pack­ag­ing ma­te­ri­als, much of which ends up in land­fill.

Wood force is also one of the latest de­vel­op­ments, which uses wood fi­bre and bio plas­tics and can be used in a range of prod­ucts (pal­lets, boxes, cas­ings, cars, ap­pli­ances). Tests have shown this ma­te­rial can be re­cy­cled six times with­out loss of per­for­mance.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.