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Biodegradable plastics can restore Europe’s role as an industrial pioneer

Plastic is found everywhere today: packaging, construction, textiles, cars, electronic devices, agriculture. It’s use has increased twenty-fold over the last fifty years and there is not a sector that does not depend on this material.

A report published in 2017 explains that by 2050 there should be more pieces of plastic than fish in our seas and oceans. It has also recently been discovered that plastic seeps everywhere, even into our bodies, through microscopic particles.

KIK Compounds was created to combat this overproduction of polluting plastic. Our team is working to develop new materials that allow industries and consumers to replace traditional plastics with biodegradable materials with the same technical characteristics.

Biodegradable plastic: a breakthrough technology

Traditional plastic was already in its time a revolutionary invention. Its use has changed our lives and changed the course of industrial history. The problem is that plastic consumption is now out of control.

Should we not consider a better alternative by turning to products that retain all the characteristics of plastic, but are much better for the environment and health? Because at the end of the day, biodegradable plastic remains plastic. One of the great advantages of biodegradable plastic is precisely that it will not disrupt our daily lives from a practical point of view.

The term “bioplastic” as such is also not a guarantee of sustainability. It only means that a product is not made from fossil fuels. If we use wood-derived cellulose to produce bioplastics, we contribute to the deforestation responsible for 30% of our annual CO2 emissions. And if you use a cereal like corn, you reduce its market availability and increase food insecurity.
At KIK Compounds, we therefore produce what we call “eco-bioplastics”. We only use recycled plant products, such as leftover coffee or used corn oil, resulting in recyclable materials several million times. We do not want to contribute to deforestation or food insecurity, but we do want to lead by example.

Bioplastics can restore Europe’s status as an industrial pioneer

We are already witnessing a decrease in the consumption of traditional plastics in Europe. While Asia leads the production of bioplastics with 46% of world production, Europe is not far behind with a market share of 26%. In 2025, Europe’s share is expected to increase further, while Asia’s relative output is expected to shrink.

At KIK level, a key factor in our commercial success is the partnership we have concluded with the Valahia University of Târgoviște in Romania. When it comes to industrial applications, entrepreneurs and researchers must walk hand in hand.

We have also recently started a dialogue with the European institutions. Overall, European decision-makers are aware of the danger posed by the accumulation of plastic waste for future generations.

Biodegradable plastics and eco-bioplastics: great tools for recovery

After the pandemic, the EU will have to revive itself industrially, restart its economy and continue to make progress towards the environmental objectives of the Green Deal. The Covid-19 health crisis thus gives us the opportunity to transform our industrial ecosystem and not only to safeguard traditional sectors. Europe has a unique opportunity to become a leader in the production of biodegradable plastics and eco-bioplastics and to export this know-how worldwide.

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