There is a marked trend of consumers towards environmentally friendly products and the retail industry is opening up to these options coming from the laboratory to the market.

Considering the wide availability of waste from the forest industry in the region and the support of companies producing plastic, the Biomaterials Department of UDT took the initiative to develop the Chilean version of wood-plastic present in USA, using raw materials and own processing methods by innovating not only in technology but also in the final application.

“This technology offers extensive technical and market opportunities, delivering new thermoplastic materials with different applications and at a competitive cost for plastic processing companies versus products such as virgin polypropylene. This, in order to generate an environmentally friendly product that has a green stamp and natural appearance”, explains Carolina Olivari, Head of Pilot Plants of the Biomaterials Department in UDT.

Meanwhile, Alvaro Maldonado, Head of the Biomaterials Department of UDT said that together with Comberplast and American Home companies, they applied to a Corfo program that allowed them to package and transfer the technology.

Currently, these household products -cutlery trays, dish dryers and garbage dumps, trays- are available in 20 Sodimac stores in Santiago, Valparaiso and recently in the store of Mall Mirador de Concepcion, reaching 30,000 units sold throughout the country.

“Dreams do not stop, future expectations are to achieve a position in Sodimac South America and develop new products to bring to the market, said Carolina Olivari.

Development of the Bioeconomy

The project won the R&D Packaging and Transfer Contest of Corfo and allowed the development of a marketable technological prototype with distinguishing features for co-funding amount of nearly 100 million pesos by the State, corresponding to 60 percent of the total cost.

Thanks to this funding, the manufacturing of products was optimized and their acceptance in the market was evaluated with promising results obtained, which is a result that Corfo expects to be replicated in more scientific projects.

“Certainly, there is a problem, and not only in Chile, but in all innovation systems, that is, it is difficult to transfer scientific research into the market. It’s the so called valley of death syndrome that this team has had to overcome to enter the business world with a finished product that is not only an excellent scientific paper”, said Juan Mardones, Executive Director of the Biobio Productive Development Committee.

“In UDT, we have found that it is possible to bring R&D to the daily lives of people and innovate nationwide”, said Alvaro Maldonado, Head of Biomaterials Department of UDT.

Source: Comité de Desarrollo Productivo Regional Biobío