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CASE STUDY

New waterproof coating keeps boxes recyclable Researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) QUT’s innovation arm - qutbluebox - has been working closely with - Albert Tietz and Adjunct Associate Professor Les Edye - have the researchers for two years, providing more than $250,000 in proofdeveloped a lignin-based waterproof coating to replace the of-concept funding to develop and scale the coating for industry. The traditional wax coating used on cardboard organisation has secured a further $200,000 boxes. from private equity firm Black Sheep Capital Professor Edye explained that lignin is a to optimise the coating’s formula and fund naturally occurring by-product from pulped industrial-scale trials, according to its CEO, wood and grasses. Using lignin extracted Michael Finney. “We’ve already successfully from a commercially grown and processed coated the lignin-based formulation on food grass, he said the researchers created a packaging and prefabricated honeycomb sustainable, waterproof coating. walls used in the construction industry,” “Traditional wax coatings are made Finney said. “We’re now trialling it on fruit from petrochemicals and, once it’s on boxes for the banana industry. the paper or cardboard, that paper or “Critically, the Black Sheep investment cardboard can no longer be recycled,” will help us fast-track the waterproof Professor Edye said, noting that around coating’s industrial-scale trialling.” If the © iStockphoto.com/Emanuel Alvarez Sanchez 400,000 tonnes of wax-coated cardboard current trial is successful, the researchers are added to Australian landfill every year. anticipate the product will be on the market in mid-2015. Black Sheep “We’ve proven that our lignin coating is cost comparable, is 100% Capital Director Daniel Gavel said the coating could be applied “across recyclable, provides a high level of waterproofing and strengthens several marketing sectors - from paper and cardboard to building the boxes to a higher degree than wax - not bad for a product made materials” and the company is confident the product will “deliver a from a renewable resource.” high-value solution to the marketplace”.

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Sustainability Matters Dec2014/Jan2015  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Dec2014/Jan2015  

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