Pola Chemical Industries, Inc. of the Pola Orbis group and Hitachi Zosen Cooperation have joined hands to produce sustainable packaging products and containers for cosmetics as well as eco-friendly cosmetic ingredients using the plant-derived "Eucommia Elastomer" polymer. Both the companies have come together with the aim of manufacturing products that are eco-friendly and have a low environmental impact. With the announcement coming on Mar 16, 2020, both the partners decided to start the production in March itself.
"Eucommia Elastomer," with a molecular weight of over 1 million dalton, is a plant-derived trans-polyisoprene biopolymer. It is extracted from the herbal tree Eucommia ulmoides, which is cultivated in China. The biopolymer has certain properties that make it apt for use as a packaging material and serve the purpose of using environmentally friendly products. Eucommia elastomer, when mixed with plant-derived biodegradable plastic (PLA), increases its impact-resistance remarkably. It also has waterproofing properties, comparable to that of high-density polyethylene with high flexibility. All these properties make "Eucommia Elastomer" a useful functional material for the production of strong biodegradable containers.
Hitachi Zosen has been manufacturing products from Eucommia ulmoides since 1986 and is using its own technology to produce Eucommia elastomer in an eco-friendly manner in its Maizuru facilities. Both Pola Chemical Industries and Hitachi Zosen aim at commercializing products with low environmental impact through the use of the plant-derived polymer. Thus, this collaboration will allow both the companies to achieve sustainable development goals, which include the use of environmental-friendly containers that finally return to the environment and the utilisation of natural products in cosmetic ingredients with a high sense of skin, further reducing plastic pollution and CO2 emissions.
Hitachi Zosen's biopolymer has also been used as a functional material for other applications. In 2017, Hitachi worked with the golf equipment maker, Kasco Corporation. Kasco identified Eucommia elastomer's impact resistance properties and decided to work with Hitachi Zosen to develop golf balls from the material. Hitachi Zosen provided the new functional material while the golf balls were manufactured and sold under the brand name of Biospin by Kasco Corporation
Founded in 1981, Hitachi Zosen describes itself as a company that is dedicated to achieving sustainable development goals, further creating a circular economy. With the same motive, the company has been finding solutions to replace synthetic polymers with biopolymers, which cause less harm to the environment. The company has also worked with a national research and development corporation known as New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and Japanese Science and Technology Agency (JST) through an industry-academia collaboration with Osaka University, to discover and develop new functional materials.
Pola Chemical Industries, established in 1940, has been working to produce beauty products that include personal care products, make-up cosmetics, and other products. It is also involved in the manufacture and research of packaging materials, and also provides cosmetic quality assurance services.