Commercialising MFC Products: Compliance to Ethical Standards and Legislation

D. Skuse, D. Hewson, J. Phipps, J.A. Shatkin
FiberLean Technologies Limited,
United Kingdom

Keywords: mineral, microfibrillated cellulose, nanocellulose, composite, applications, full-scale production

Summary:

FiberLeanĀ® MFC is a mineral/ micro-fibrillated cellulose (MFC) composite material co-ground from cellulose wood pulp in the presence of mineral particles with no other chemical additives. The benefits of using MFC to improve material properties are well established and the route to responsible commercialisation is through compliance to ethical standards and legislation. The mineral/ MFC composite is made from substances that are generally regarded as safe. Processing changes the physical state of the starting material, so companies have an ethical obligation to demonstrate safety. This means showing no product or by product, produced by any given process, has the potential to cause harm to anyone manufacturing, using or disposing of the product. The process of demonstrating the safety of mineral/ MFC composites is ongoing and involves consultation with regulatory lawyers, specialists and conducting experimental research. Here we present a time line to date of the work done to ensure mineral/ MFC composite products meet the necessary ethical and legislative standards set throughout the world. Studies carried out to date have shown the co-grinding process, the products and by products produced are safe for their intended uses. The processed material has been fully characterised alongside existing cellulosic products and naturally occurring equivalents for comparison. The results show mineral/ MFC compositea are physically and chemically comparable to natural equivalents. The experimental work has also included migration studies which compared nanomaterial migration from paper sheets made with and without mineral/ MFC composite. Results show fewer nanomaterials migrated from packaging sheets made with mineral/ MFC composite than from conventional sheets made with a standard furnish. Test results show migration of nanomaterial from sheets made with 5% mineral/ MFC composite was 36% less, sheets coated with mineral/ MFC composite (FLoT) was 35% less, and paper sheets made from 100% mineral/ MFC composite was 44% less.