Fitesa has announced the commercial availability of 100% biobased spunbond performance nonwoven materials for hygiene and personal care markets. Developed in partnership with Braskem and NatureWorks, the nonwoven product is composed of not one, but two biobased polymers in a sheath-core, bicomponent configuration. The sheath is made of Braskem’s I’m green 100% biobased polyethylene while the core uses NatureWorks’ 100% biobased Ingeo polylactide. The combination creates a nonwoven that is extremely soft, thanks to the bio-PE outer sheath but strong and robust due to the Ingeo core.
Fitesa will offer the fabric in a comprehensive range of basis weights with physical properties designed to allow drop-in replacement in existing bicomponent spunbond applications. “The fabric softness is exceptional,” says Ray Dunleavy, Fitesa marketing, strategy, and business development director, “and counters the misperception some have in the market that there must be some compromise in performance to achieve a 100% renewably sourced product.”
The three companies collaborated to develop a product that highlights and supports Fitesa’s commitment to performance and sustainability by replacing traditional petrochemical based materials with renewable products made from plants.
The production of both the Braskem and NatureWorks polymers provide significant carbon footprint reductions by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Each ton of Braskem I’m green plastic produced sequestrates more than two tons of carbon dioxide, a significant gain compared to traditional plastic, whose production releases carbon dioxide. Additionally, Braskem’s Code of Conduct for Ethanol Suppliers has been established to ensure responsible sourcing. Braskem has been making the I’m green polyethylene since 2010 at its Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, in the south region of Brazil. The plant’s capacity is 200 kton/year and the total investment amounts to $290 million.
Each ton of Ingeo produced provides 60% reduction in carbon dioxideemitted compared to traditional polyester, and a 30-40% reduction in carbon dioide emitted compared to traditional polyolefins. NatureWorks has been producing Ingeo at its flagship Nebraska U.S. facility since 2002 and recently expanded capacity there to 150 kton/year. The company has just announced that front end engineering design has commenced for a second Ingeo facility in Southeast Asia.