Discover how Korean water producer Sansu and TotalEnergies Corbion are revolutionizing PLA production, advancing sustainable packaging solutions and reducing carbon footprints.

Sustainable Solutions: Sansu & TotalEnergies Corbion Redefine PLA Production

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Korean water producer Sansu is partnering with TotalEnergies Corbion to develop an innovative embossed label water bottle crafted from Luminy polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastics. This partnership aims to accelerate the adoption of recycled PLA (rPLA) as a crucial feedstock in South Korea, with the ultimate goal of revolutionizing rPLA production processes.

Since 2019, Sansu and TotalEnergies Corbion have been jointly spearheading post-consumer recycling (PCR) of PLA. Traditionally, the process of creating PCR PLA has been described as cumbersome, requiring the meticulous removal of caps and labels, followed by the arduous steps of crushing, cleaning, and shipping the used PLA in flake form back to TotalEnergies Corbion’s Thailand plant. At the plant, the PLA is depolymerized into PLA monomers and repolymerized into rPLA.

Recognizing the inefficiency of this process, Sansu and TotalEnergies Corbion have forged an agreement to produce a 100% PLA bottle with an embossed label. This innovative approach streamlines the production process by eliminating the need to remove labels and caps, thus enhancing overall efficiency.

Thomas Philipon, CEO of TotalEnergies Corbion, emphasizes the significance of this partnership in advancing the adoption of Luminy PLA bioplastics and reducing carbon emissions from plastic usage. He highlights how TotalEnergies engages with partners across the value chain to drive sustainable practices.

Moreover, this collaboration exemplifies a design for recycling that can be applied to PLA, aligning with regulatory efforts such as the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation in the EU, which promotes design criteria for recycling.

Recent advancements in recycling technology have enabled rPLA to achieve properties comparable to virgin Luminy PLA, including approval for food contact. Derived from sugarcane, Luminy PLA bioplastics offer a sustainable alternative to conventional plastics, with a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Creating PLA requires minimal arable land in Thailand, where TotalEnergies Corbion produces PLA locally.

TotalEnergies Corbion's commitment to sustainability is further evidenced by its focus on incorporating advanced recycled content into its PLA offerings, catering to global customers like Sansu. By embracing a "bottle-to-bottle" closed-loop cycle, Sansu underscores its dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Through their partnership, Sansu and TotalEnergies Corbion are not only transforming PLA production processes but also paving the way for a more sustainable future in packaging and plastic usage.


Keywords

recycled PLA , bioplastics , sustainable packaging , recycling advancements , carbon footprint reduction

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