Sustainable innovation in bioplastics: Cleantech Hero B4Plastics delivers customised solutions

Posted on 15 Mar 2023

With its sustainable bioplastics, B4Plastics won the coveted title of Cleantech Hero Materials 2022. The biodegradable polycondensates from the Dilsen-Stokkem-based company have the same qualities as many classic variants such as polyamides and polyesters, but they are recyclable and biodegradable.

This innovation addresses a sustainability issue and the demand for biodegradable plastics is growing steadily, especially in so-called "wear and tear" applications such as shoe soles, tires, and textiles. Moreover, this technology has great potential impact in Flanders and beyond.

Successful capital increase with European money

The innovative technology is beneficial for B4Plastics. In addition to numerous other awards, the company was also a winner of the European Innovation Council Fund in 2020. A unique achievement for a Flemish company, in a process with barely a 3% chance of winning. That resulted in a capital round in which a large German family business Lindal Group and Europe invest in B4Plastics.

Thanks to these investments, external capital is flowing into Flanders and B4Plastics can continue to scale up. A first satellite hub in Ghent was put into operation in early 2023 and the team is in full growth. Today B4Plastics employs about 25 people, within this decade the company aims to recruit more staff. A larger production facility is being prepared. In the future it will be able to scale up to several kilotons per year of the world's most local and specialized bioplastics and produce them in limited quantities.

Solutions for diverse sectors

Plastics are ubiquitous and sustainable alternatives are desperately needed. Therefore, B4Plastics develops solutions tailored to the sector, the customer, and their circumstances. The most obvious projects include non-persistent trimming wires and fishing nets, or the plastic clips used in tomato growing in greenhouses.

B4Plastics is currently working on about 25 tailored plastic development projects in a variety of sectors. Plastics also play a bigger role in cosmetics than you might think. For example, every year we all send kilotons of plastics into nature via soaps, ointments and foams we use every day. B4Plastics' technology will make it possible to produce the first non-persistent cosmetics.

Bioplastics everywhere within a few years

How degradable bioplastics are and what their degradation rate is depends on different conditions. B4Plastics' solution is therefore configurable for each application and project. After all, a trimming wire used in Spain ends up in very different natural conditions than one that ends up in the grass and soil in Belgium.

From car tires to soap, B4Plastics is working every day to become part of many products in and around our homes within 5 to 10 years.

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