Technological watch

Luminy® PLA water bottle with embossed label facilitates recycled PLA production

Ji-Hoon Kim and Thomas Philipon signing agreement about the embossed label Luminy® PLA only water bottle. © TotalEnergies CorbionTogether with TotalEnergies Corbion, Korean water producer Sansu is developing an embossed label water bottle made of Luminy® PLA bioplastics to speed adoption of recycled PLA as feedstock. This innovation is set to revolutionize recycled PLA production processes, marking a significant leap towards a more sustainable future.

Since 2019, Sansu and TotalEnergies Corbion have been engaging in Post-Consumer-Recycling (PCR) of PLA. Traditionally, recycling PCR PLA has been a cumbersome process involving the removal of labels and caps, followed by crushing, cleaning, and shipping in the used PLA in the form of flakes back to TotalEnergies Corbion’s Thailand plant for de-polymerization into polylactic acid monomers and subsequent re-polymerization into recycled PLA. Recognizing the inefficiencies of this process, Sansu and TotalEnergies Corbion have reached an agreement to produce a 100% PLA bottle with an embossed label, which significantly expedites the processing of PCR PLA bottles – avoiding labels and caps removal processes.

Recent advancements in recycling technology have enabled the seamless transformation of used PLA into new recycled PLA (RPLA) with properties equivalent to virgin Luminy® PLA, including food contact approval.

TotalEnergies Corbion specializes in producing PLA with 20% and 30% allocated recycled content, supplying global customers like Sansu. Sansu’s commitment to adopting this “bottle-to-bottle” closed-loop cycle underscores its dedication to sustainability by incorporating advanced recycled content into its water bottles.

The partnership between Sansu and TotalEnergies Corbion represents a joint effort to advance the adoption of Luminy® PLA bioplastics and reduce carbon emissions from plastic usage.

Thomas Philipon, CEO of TotalEnergies Corbion, emphasizes the importance of such partnerships in driving sustainability initiatives, aligning with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17 on Partnerships for the Goals. He stated: “This partnership is another example of how TotalEnergies engages with partners in the value chain to advance the adoption of Luminy® PLA bioplastics and contribute to lowering carbon emissions from plastic usage. Furthermore, this collaboration is a clear example of design for recycling which can also be applied to PLA. This initiative is in line with the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation being finalized in the EU and promoting design for recycling criteria.”

The agreement signed by Ji-Hoon Kim, CEOs of Sansu, and Thomas Philipon, CEO of TotalEnergies Corbion marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of a more sustainable future. Together, they are pioneering innovative solutions that prioritize environmental responsibility and contribute to the establishment of a circular economy.

Publication date: 02/04/2024

Author: Marion Kupfer

Bio-based News


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.