Chestnut Natural Capital
Reducing forestry plastic pollution
Formulating biodegradable plastics suitable for tree-protection products
Tree planting, which is fundamental to the forestry industry, can also help mitigate the impacts of climate change. However, the methods currently used to protect saplings can result in unnecessary plastic pollution. A new start-up, Chestnut Natural Capital, aims to develop a 3D printed tree guard system that functions for up to 5 years before biodegrading in the natural environment.
The company worked with CPI to develop novel biopolymer blend formulations to produce a cable tie, used to secure a cylindrical tree sampling guard to a wooden stake. A cable tie prototype was designed and 3D printed using formulations developed at CPI. Selection for blend formulation was based on the suitability for manufacturing, the performance of the cable tie prototype and the rate of water ingress (as a proxy for the rate of biodegradation).
This work was carried out as part of CPI’s Project IMPACT (Innovative Materials via Precision Additive Coating Technologies), which was part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
An input is a unique capability, service or method of support that was provided, such as equipment or expertise.
- ERDF funding via Project IMPACT
- Innovate UK grant
- State-of-the-art facilities
- Expertise in biodegradable plastic formulation and product development
An output is the result of the work, such as an experimental finding, an actual product or a pilot demonstrator.
- Technical review and desk research
- Novel biopolymer formulations developed
- Tests conducted to assess formulation performance, rate of biodegradation and suitability for 3D printing
- Identification of most suitable formulations
An outcome arises from implementing the outputs, for example, a profit, an investment, providing jobs or delivering societal benefits. Outcomes continue once an innovation has been implemented and deliver benefit every year.
- Suitable novel biopolymer formulations identified
- 3D printed cable tie prototypes designed and produced
- Innovate UK-funded Smart Grant secured for a consortium project to further develop a tree guard solution