mBlack, a 100% bio based material derived entirely from renewable resources
Its biobased nature aligns seamlessly with the demand for eco-friendly alternatives, positioning the company at the forefront of the material innovation in beauty packaging.
More and more, we are getting familiar with biochar, a carbon-rich material with a high carbon content, a stable structure and large specific surface area. This whole set of properties showcases a high scalability potential and a direct impact across several industries setting their goals towards improved sustainability. Within this context, mBlack™ serves as an excellent illustration of an inventive material capable of effectively contributing to the betterment of both businesses and the environment.
The interesting story behind the development of this material originates in northern Italy, specifically from the province of Bergamo, where Minelli Group, a company specialized in the manufacturing of premium wood components, has its headquarters.
Due to the extensive CNC milling operations occurring in the manufacturing processes, around 150 tonnes of wood scraps are generated per month. This secondary waste material has been ingeniously used for years by the company to power its own heating systems. Nevertheless, thanks to the great expertise of different branches of the company, new ways of exploiting and recovering this secondary raw material have been explored and led to the development of materials based on this 100% organic compound, under the name mBlack.
mBlack™ – a 100% bio based material:
mBlack’s origins and properties
In this production context, the Minelli Materials division was recently born with the idea of developing a family of proprietary, sustainable, wood-based or derived materials. mBlack refers to a range of compounds made up of a polymeric matrix (variable depending on applications and mechanical, workability requirements) loaded with biochar.
This biochar is obtained through the thermochemical conversion (pyrolysis) of the residual organic wood waste coming from the company itself, a process that is helping to close the loop on waste production. Embedded in these custom-developed polymeric compounds, biochar acts as a carbon sink by containing a very high percentage of carbon of vegetal origin, therefore absorbed from the air by plants during the photosynthesis processes.
Fields of applications
Engineered specifically for targeting the cosmetic packaging industry, where huge amounts of black, rigid, non renewable plastic components are typically used and wasted, Minelli’s mBlack has been successfully integrated in the design of refillable jars, lipsticks, and compacts, combined with other natural materials such as wood and cork.
As the material can be custom tailored according to manufacturing processing or mechanical performance requirements needed by clients, fields of application range from packaging in the cosmetic and luxury sector up to consumer products, both at small and large scale. mPackting, the brand of Minelli Systems managing the supply and customization of mBlack compounds has engaged in obtaining a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) that will ensure that the environmental impact of mBlack is minimized at every stage of its lifecycle. This commitment in reducing emissions and resource consumption is vital for sustainable manufacturing.
Product series designed with mBlack have been already tested and are already available in different colors and shapes, such as cylindrical, conic, curvy, or also sinusoid. Custom projects involving specific shapes, formulations and scale are also possible thanks to the support of Minelli Systems, whose expertise and dedication towards innovation can be considered as a leading reference for successful product development.
Returning nutrients to the soil
The amount of biochar contained in each compound varies from 2% (with the mere function of a coloring pigment replacing carbon black) up to 30%. The first development concerns a series of biocompounds that use blends of PLA, PHB and PHA, which results therefore in completely biodegradable materials for even compostable packaging applications.
mBlack is also currently undergoing a process to confirm that it can be safely composted, returning nutrients to the soil and contributing to healthier ecosystems. The most important thing is that mBlack is 100% plant-based and at the end of its life it won’t lead to the formation and dispersion of microplastics.
At the forefront of the material innovation
Over time, the skills developed in the production of single wooden components have also extended to the ability of managing different materials and technologies to deliver multi-component finished products to several customers, serving different sectors including that of cosmetic packaging.
mBlack can be considered a 100% bio based material. Derived entirely from renewable resources, it reflects a shift away from fossil fuels, contributing to a more sustainable future. This biobased nature aligns seamlessly with the demand for eco-friendly alternatives, positioning mPackting at the forefront of the material innovation in beauty packaging.