An environmentally friendly alternative to strengthen plastics

Imperiumby Heartland

Environmentally conscious designers and manufacturers are increasingly looking for recycled plastics and bioplastics to replace virgin fossil plastics. It is often challenging to find suitable materials for any project. Without seeking to make this challenge harder, it is important that potential purchasers establish what has been added to these materials to improve their strength or other characteristics.

One of the biggest challenges in developing more sustainable plastics is the need to meet strength requirements. Rising to this challenge, Heartland (who has recently secured financial backing from Chemovator, the business incubator of BASF) has developed hemp-based materials that can be used as additives within plastic compounds to replace or augment talc, calcium, and fiberglass. Hemp is, of course, a highly sustainable crop, as it grows successfully and quickly without the need for fertilizers or pesticides and is GMO free. Heartland claims they have successfully improved fibre properties such as flammability, bonding, dispersion, and bulk density, which are typically negatively associated with natural fibres. Improving the bond between natural fibres and hydrophobic oil-based plastics is a significant challenge, one which Heartland claims to have conquered. The company also claims that natural fibers are now a viable market opportunity to reduce scope 3 carbon emissions in numerous industries.