B4Plastics is one of the fastest growing bioplastics companies in the world. From green waste, Stefaan De Wildeman's company makes polymers that are used in biodegradable and/or recyclable materials. What materials are they exactly? They range from vegan leather to biodegradable fishing nets and textiles.
One of the main causes of mountains of waste worldwide is plastic. Plastic can be used in countless ways, but it takes years for it to break down and even then it leaves its mark. Even in 2021, the world will produce more than a million tonnes of plastic. Half of it is only used once and then ends up on the rubbish heap. Moreover, fossil raw materials form the basis of those products, because manufacturers prefer to work cost-efficiently before thinking about the consequences for the planet.
Stefaan wanted to change this and therefore founded a start-up with which he processes green waste into polymers. That green waste comes from Belgian soil, so part of the biomaterials in the plastic products is truly local. In addition, the laboratory in Limburg manages the largest collection of bio-plastics in the world. This ensures that B4Plastics can offer solutions for almost any company: you can choose from a menu of plastic materials or entrepreneurs describe what they need and search for the best solution together with B4Plastics.
The company works with four types of technologies. FortePlastics are strong, durable plastics that are biodegradable within five to ten years. B4Plastics uses them for the Glaukos project, for which the company produces biodegradable fishing nets and textiles. For this, they also recently won the world's largest environmental prize, the 2021 Food Planet Prize, worth two million dollars. TriggerPlastics, next, are used for products with a shorter lifespan and break down immediately afterwards. Sometimes it is even a matter of minutes. They are mainly used in cosmetics and packaging. RubberPlastics serve as sound or shock absorbers and degrade within a period of six to sixty months. Finally, B4Plastics also produces LowEnergyPlastics. These are produced in low-energy circumstances and can be used in sportswear or as ingredients in healthcare products. Vegan leather also falls into this group.