Ricoh has created a plant derived plastic alternative called PLAiR

28 Jul 2021

The future of packaging is sugar, starch and air.

PLAiR is a foamed PLA sheet with flexibility and strength, primarily made of PLA (polylactic acid) produced from plant-derived starch and sugar which undergoes a foaming process utilising Ricoh’s “CO2 fine foam technology.” When burnt, PLA does not increase the net amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (carbon neutral) and degrades into water and CO2 under controlled environments such as soil or compost (compostable). Because of its ecological benefits, PLAiR has been anticipated as an alternative to conventional fossil-derived plastic. Ricoh’s supercritical CO2 technology produces uniform bubbles only tens of microns in diameter. Through the kneading process, fillers (foam nucleating agents) are evenly distributed in PLA, and the foaming takes place with the fillers as nuclei. This allowed our experts to create a foamed PLA sheet, known as PLAiR.

Ricoh’s foamed PLA sheet has adjustable foam expansion rate and is striving to offer wide range of applications such as cushioning, packing materials and various container types. Since November 2020, Ricoh has begun sample offering and currently partially using PLAiR as cushioning for its own full-color multifunction printers.

Ricoh Company, Ltd. will exhibit its new material at the online exhibition NET ZERO Leaders Summit (Japan Business Conference 2021) (Organizers: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)) from July 28, 2021.

Ricoh is committed to making a zero-carbon, circular economy, where everyone feels secure in using any material around them. We will continue the development of this new material PLAiR.

To learn please visit our Ricoh Global PLAiR page