There is a growing appreciation that resource management needs to be improved nationally, regionally and globally, and the waste and pollution needs to be reduced. Surplus natural renewable resources have great potential to be tapped as a source for biodegradable products that could replace many of the existing hazardous chemicals, but this implies a need for a radical technology shift to be adopted by the chemical industry. Green chemistry aims to initiate a paradigm shift in the chemical industry from being based on fossil resources to renewable raw materials for manufacture of “green" chemicals.
Furthermore, phenolic- and urea-formaldehyde resins can be replaced with the water-based epoxy resins in combination with itaconic acid derivatives having no detrimental effects for human health and environment avoiding the emission due to formaldehyde residues during polymerization.
Accordingly to EU and USA Environmental Protection Agencies strongly recommend the use of alternative monomers to styrene, the extensive and conventional unsaturated polyester resins can be considerably lowered for preparing crosslinked polymer matrix resins making for glass fiber reinforced composites. The aim of the project, to use renewable and no-food biomasses for the production of itaconic acid-based unsaturated polyesters and monomers, is addressed to develop styrene-free and formaldehydes-free composites, biodegradable coatings and inks.
A part of the reduced emission of styrene and formaldehyde of IA-based derivatives and polymers, in its innovation strategy '2020' drafted in 2010, the European Commission showed that the Life cycle assessment on the bioplastics are also able to generate a CO2 savings ranging from 30 to 70 percent compared to conventional plastics. This is in agreement with the decision of the EU Commission strategy which contains reduction targets such as 20 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.