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A bio-based plastic for the future

Thu 22 Jul 2021 | 06:57 am GMT
Helena Mansell-Stopher | Products of Change Writer

Shaun Chatterton CEO and founder of Floreon

Floreon is a plant-based plastic, derived from crops such as corn and sugar cane, making it a renewable alternative to oil-based plastics. We talk to Shaun Chatterton CEO and founder of Floreon, an award-winning patented bioplastic company about its new technology and its potential applications. For those new to Floreon, what is the technology? Floreon is made from a base material called polylactic acid, or PLA. It extracts starch from renewable resources, not oil, and makes the biomaterial called PLA. Until now, PLA has not been fit for durable applications and is instead common in plastic cutlery and other single-use items. Through a knowledge transfer partnership programme some years ago, we developed this material into an environmental solution which is ten times tougher than the unmodified version. With many companies looking at more sustainable solutions what are the core benefits of using the formula? Nearly everyone is concerned about climate change now. Many people are searching not only for recyclability but going beyond that to compostability which is achievable with Floreon in a commercial capacity. Looking longer term, we recognise the importance of working towards home compostability for Floreon. Further to end-of-life options, the low carbon footprint is a benefit, as Floreon is up to six times lower in carbon footprint than competing oil-based plastics such as ABS. Recently you have partnered with Clariant, how did that collaboration come about and the benefits? We are delighted with Floreon’s relationship with Clariant, a global speciality chemicals producer. Clariant recognise the growth coming from Asia as we do, and they have demonstrated a real faith in bioplastics which has translated to genuine support for our offering. Clariant have supported us throughout trials and testing so we can continuously improve our material, especially with regards to the achievement of incorporating flame retardance into our material. Overall they are committed to sustainability which means our values are truly aligned. What is the ecocircle initiative you are working on with Clariant? This is a very valuable partnership for Floreon as we have worked with waste management companies in the past to discuss diverting waste away from landfill and incineration. Circularity can depend on the product because toys, for example, are a durable application which tend to be passed down through families which minimises the impact on the environment. Although it can be said that it is early days for Floreon, we intend to join industry and innovation in this way continuously going forward. I understand you are an award-winning company most recently winning a GRIPS? We are delighted to be the winners from the GRIPS (Global Research and Innovation in Plastics Sustainability). We attended the conference earlier this year because it draws together academia and industry. We presented our innovation at the conference competing with other exciting inventions and were pleased to be announced the winners. We feel it reaffirms the potential for Floreon to expand into further application areas as awareness is raised. We hear you have just closed an agency deal with the Boutique Licensing Agency? Floreon is on the cusp of significant commercialisation, so we decided at the beginning of the year to optimise on the expertise and knowledge of BLA or the Boutique Licensing Agency. The two consultants we work with have extensive experience working with the likes of National Geographic, Disney and other major players. We are confident they will assist us in opening dialogue with some recognised names in the toy industry. What is on the horizon for Floreon and how can the licensing community embrace your technology? The licensing industry is something we have based our go-to-market strategy on. We are not a manufacturer of this material but we own the IP so it is our intention to license our technology to compounders and brands respectively. The compounders produce our pellets which are distributed to the manufacturers, and some are already licensing partners of ours. This is something we are working to expand. With brand holders, we are looking to adopt more partners in this area who share our values of sustainability ad working to find a win-win solution. Products of Change members can listen to the full podcast with Shaun on the Products of Change platform.
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