Aquapak has developed a novel biodegradable, non-toxic and water-soluble polymer called Hydropol™ which is three times stronger than alternatives and is designed to be used in existing thermo-processing equipment, giving it a wider range of applications. Hydropol™ enables nonwovens to retain their strength whilst enabling flushability and safe biodegradation.
It can be recycled, re-pulped, composted and is distinctively compatible with anaerobic digestion. Furthermore, if unintentionally released into the natural environment or waste water system, Hydropol™ – which is non-toxic to the environment and marine safe - will dissolve and subsequently biodegrade, leaving no trace. The base plastic is currently used for dishwasher tablets, ingestible pill casings and soluble stitches. Hydropol™‘s resistance to low temperature solubility and high barrier to elements adds functionality, providing a wider range of uses.
Extrusion coatings and laminates for paper/board applications are at customer production trial stage, including a number of home delivery and ecommerce applications, packaging for dried pet food, snacks, cooked meat and convenience food applications.
Its solubility makes it easy to separate from other materials, simplifying the confusing recycling options that exist for different packaging. Blown film products commercially available and made from Hydropol™ include garment bags, ESD bags, organic waste disposal bags and laundry bags for infection control.
Nonwoven fibres for applications such as wet wipes and cellulose combinations for thermoformed trays are currently in development and laboratory scale spunbond and meltblown fibres have been developed with collaboration partners such as NIRI.