MAPKA: The Impact of Cellulosic Fibers in Plastic Compounds

Fukuji Saotome.
Eco Bio Plastics Midland, Inc., Midland, Michigan, USA.

Established in 1998 in Japan, Eco Research Institute Limited, our parent company, with the mission to bring bio composites to reduce the use of non-renewable and non-compostable petroleum and mineral resources in Plastics Industry, and contribute to the betterment of the environment we live in the best we can. Since our inception, we have grown to operate six (6) plants and continue growing.

Our unique, patented technology in pulverizing cellulosic fibers, which are reduced to 20 micron in particle size and yet maintain certain aspect ratio, the cellulosic fibers can now be used not only as a filler but also reinforcer or modifier of a plastic composite, whereby as much as 60+ percent of petroleum-based, non-renewable resources can be replaced by renewable and compostable resources. Further, such pulverized fibers can be compounded with biopolymers, in which the “bio content” of such composite to as high as 100 percent.

In terms of minimizing the impact of plastic materials on environment, recycling is often mentioned, which extend their lives and reduces the environmental impacts of petroleum-based resources. However, the reality is that less than 10 percent of plastics are actually recycled, at a significant cost. Even if such plastics are recycled an infinite number of times, the mathematical limits are set at 20 percent or less, which is equivalent to one-time use of our MAPKA 40, i.e. 40% bio content. Further, the reusability would also add to the eco-friendliness of MAPKA products.

Our biopolymer-based composites, with a high bio content, further add the “compostability” to the ways in which MAPKA products can be finally disposed: its impact on the reduction of non-renewable resource and environmental impact can be reduced to a mere 5 percent!

There may also be another method of disposal, like incineration, as its end of life. Our MAPKA 85 has been independently evaluated in DSC method. The results were that at a typical incineration temperature, what was left at 800-900 °C was only 0.32 percent: at 480°C, over 90 percent of original volume is reduced to approximately 9 percent.