Compostable packaging tape

German researchers have developed an entirely biodegradable packaging tape that is made from renewable resources.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen have teamed up with LogoTape, a company that manufactures self-adhesive tape products to develop an entirely biodegradable packaging tape that is made from renewable resources.

The new compostable tape is designed to meet the same requirements as present-day packaging materials. ‘We had to achieve the same mechanical properties, initial adhesive force and tear resistance that customers expect from ‘normal’ packaging tape,’ explained Carmen Michels, who works in UMSICHT’s renewable resources department.

When the rest of the packaging material around a product is also biodegradable, all the waste can be disposed of without separating individual materials. The UMSICHT researchers have therefore developed a granulate for a compostable film in collaboration with a private company, FKuR-Kunststoff GmbH.

‘The new material has met with considerable interest on the part of manufacturers of polyethylene film, because it offers comparable mechanical properties,’ said Michels.

‘A further advantage for the plastics processing industry is that the film, which consists of a combination of polylactic acid and polyester, can be processed in the same way as conventional blown film.’

Under normal conditions, the composted film breaks down to half its weight within about four weeks.

The compostable film is already being marketed under the name Bio-Flex 219F. The biodegradable packaging tape will be available from do-it-yourself stores next year.