Product, Service & Design Innovation
European Startup Has Developed Biomimetic Solution for Safe, Antimicrobial Plastics

Parx Plastics, a Dutch-Italian bio-innovator in antibacterial plastic technology, is launching its first ready-to-use Saniconcentrates™ for manufacturers in Europe and the US to safely create self-sanitizing products with an antibacterial property of up to 99 percent within 24 hours*.

Parx says its technology is the world’s first solution to offer antimicrobial properties without toxins or chemicals such as Triclosan (a common antimicrobial agent that is a known hormone disruptor), heavy metals such as silver, or biocides, Nano-particles, quaternary salts or any other harmful substances. The startup says its antimicrobial property is achieved by making use of one of the most important trace elements in the human body. The trace element, present in our food, is essential for a healthy immune system and for building up and maintaining cells, hair, nails and skin.

Parx — which in July was named one of the top 3 tech startups in Europe in the European Commission’s prestigious 2014 Tech All Stars competition, and was recently nominated as a finalist in the materials category in the World Technology Awards — says safety is guaranteed not only by the biocompatibility but also because the technology does not migrate; the antibacterial property is incorporated into the plastic, not a coating, making it the result of an intrinsic change and not of leaching substances. The surface of a product made with Saniconcentrate technology becomes hostile to bacteria by means of a mere physical and mechanical action. Parx also says its technology cannot escape from or exit the material like nanoparticles can, and it is unaffected by shape, temperature and light exposure.

The first materials taken into mass production at Parx’s facility in Bologna are a Sani-ABS and a Saniconcentrate™ based on Eastman’s copolymer Tritan™. These are uniform grades used as a carrier, blending the new technology at 3 percent with plain material of the same kind. The mixture brings forth a product with an antimicrobial property of up to 99 percent*.

"Being able to offer these off-the-shelf solutions is a great step forward bringing our biocompatible technology to the market," said Parx co-founder Michael van der Jagt. "The past few months have been pretty turbulent for our organization, receiving great interest from many of the largest corporations. The world is moving towards more sustainable solutions and customer pressure is rising. Companies that ignore the shift away from harmful chemicals and dangerous substances are bound to lose or be left behind.”

A survey released earlier this month shows that the chemical industry at large seems to agree with van der Jagt. According to the poll of almost 1,000 producers around the world, sustainability is now considered a high priority in the mainstream chemical industry: 72 percent of producers say they now offer more sustainable versions of chemicals or plan to offer them within two years, since 80 percent of their customers are showing the same or higher interest in sustainable chemicals than just one year ago; and 81 percent of producers saying it’s very or moderately important to be a frontrunner in sustainable chemicals.

*Measured according to ISO22196 with Staphylococcus Aurus (gram+) and Escherichia Coli (E. Coli, gram-)

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