Technological watch

Heartland, Ravago collaborate on hemp additives for plastics

A joint development agreement between biotech company Heartland and Ravago Americas aims to promote the creation of new hemp-based additives that will help manufacturers reduce the cost, weight and carbon footprint of the resins they process..

The hemp fillers and fibers produced by Heartland are renewable, biodegradable and efficient, the companies said in a Jan. 24 news release.

Hemp can be used in high temperatures without combusting, which makes it safe for use in high-temperature applications, such as plastic cups and containers, the companies said. It’s also non toxic, so suitable for food contact. Its low density makes it less expensive to transport than other materials like talc and calcium. As well, the company claims its engineered hemp additives can reduce the carbon footprint of virgin plastics by as much as 44 percent.

Heartland said it is building America’s first reliable industrial hemp supply chain based on a circular economy model to provide additives for manufacturers that use plastics. The company is initially collaborating with farms in Michigan to produce products that will be processed, distributed and utilized by manufacturers within a 300-mile radius, using a strategy it plans to deploy across the U.S. After the 2022 farming cycle, Heartland estimates that it will be able to process over 100 million pounds of hemp additives that will be available for plastic compounding.

Ravago is one of the world's largest plastic recyclers, compounders and distributors, servicing over 50,000 customers globally across 325 facilities in 55 countries. Annually, it supplies more than 6.6 million metric tons of polymer and rubber. 

Heartland has worked alongside Ravago to engineer its hemp materials as renewable additives for plastics and to produce products that do not require additional retooling costs for plastic compounders and moulders. 

By leveraging carbon-negative and renewable plastic additives like industrial hemp, Ravago said it can offer composite products that are stronger, lighter, cheaper,and more sustainable. Not only will these plastics have enhanced thermal and acoustic properties, but Heartland's hemp additives help prolong the life of Ravago’s materials that use recycled content. 

Ravago and Heartland will continue to research and develop products to serve automotive, packaging, building materials and other markets. 

Publication date: 25/01/2022

Plastics News

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31