More eco-friendly toys in the future
The road to the circular economyFilippo Gallizia, CEO of Geomagworld, talks about how the idea of developing a material like 'Xi' came from a strategic vision developed within the company. "We could not fail to consider the impact of our products on the environment, an issue that affects everyone, not just our boys and girls. From this consideration, we started working on the production process and materials. Due to factors related to our specific sector, we realised that we had to move in the direction of the circular economy, which is not just an ideological model, but a true economic competitive model. We therefore looked for a technical partner who would be able to accompany us on this product development path, and we are happy to say that we have fully achieved the goals we had set ourselves thanks to the collaboration with SUPSI'.
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An innovative materialXi is the result of the fusion of two materials: recycled polypropylene, sourced from Geomagworld's established suppliers, and wood flour, sourced from the waste of local carpentry and forestry maintenance operations. The blending of these two elements has resulted in Xi, and to find out what makes it an innovative material, we can ask Andrea Castrovinci, Head of the Polymer Materials Engineering Laboratory at MEMTi.
“"Polymeric materials with wood flour additives have been on the market for many years. However, the combination of these two components requires the use of compatibilisers, which are chemical additives. It is important to emphasise that substances such as compatibilisers are not in line with the aim of XI, i.e. to use recycled or waste materials. Consequently, it was imperative to develop a new and innovative formula to obtain a material with specific mechanical properties, but without certain chemical compounds. This process required a lot of materials engineering work: it was a challenge that took more than a year and a half of hard work, but one that we can say was won.
The results on environmental impact? They are very satisfactoryTo quantify the reductions in the environmental impact of the production, processing and procurement of Xi, it was necessary to compare it with the material previously used by Geomagworld. Alessandro Fontana, lecturer-researcher at ISTePS, presents the results, which are definitely encouraging: "We recorded a 50 per cent reduction in climate change impacts (measured in kg of CO2 equivalents), a 35 per cent reduction in water consumption and an impressive 80 per cent reduction in the use of non-renewable materials.. This last figure is particularly relevant from a circular economy perspective, it is a result that has shown how the project has achieved its goal of producing a material based on the circular economy'.
Xi is therefore a more environmentally friendly and circular economy-oriented material than the one currently used by Geomagworld. Once certified, it will be progressively integrated into the production chain. Given the characteristics of the product, which is free of toxic chemicals, we can venture to think of other fields of use besides the toy industry. For example, the gastronomy sector for the creation of a series of supports in contact with food such as plates, trays, glasses, etc. Or the furniture sector where the focus on sustainable and innovative materials is increasing.