For a future without drilling!

We’d like a clean conscience and clean teeth: Instead of conventional plastic made of petroleum, we use plant-based bioplastics for all our products. These renewable raw materials enable us to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the fatal consequences of fossil fuel extraction, such as fracking or tanker accidents.

From the field – to the mill – to you

Sustainable manufacturing processes are very important to us. Since sugar cane based plastic is the main component of our products, we would love to quickly explain how it’s actually made – from the plant to the finished product. Because unfortunately, using this type of plastic is still kind of unusual, which made the development process an exciting challenge for us as well.

The sugar cane

Sugarcane is one of the sweet grasses. The stems have a width of 20 to 45 mm and they reach a height of 3 to 6 meters. Sugar cane plants grow in subtropical and tropical climates and thrive at temperatures between 25 and 30°C, preferably in hilly cropland.

The photosynthesis of sugar cane

Like all plants, sugar cane "breathes" CO₂ from the atmosphere. In the process, it converts carbon dioxide and water into oxygen. This forms the ozone layer around our earth. Each ton of our sugarcane plastic thus absorbs up to 2.5 tons of CO₂ from the atmosphere, while the extraction of petroleum for conventional plastic only ads CO₂.

The growing area

Our sugar cane comes from Brazil, the largest producer in the world. The cultivated areas account for about 8 of the 283 million hectares of its arable land. Since production is declining steadily and as a result of agro-ecological zoning policies, there is no sign of expansion into areas of high biodiversity, such as the Amazon rainforest.

The cultivation and harvest

Sugar cane is planted using young plant liners. The first harvest can take place 9 to 24 months after planting. After that, the stumps bud out again and after another 12 months, harvesting can be done once again. In Brazil, five harvests are usual until the plant has to be replaced by new liners.

Further processing into bioethanol

After the harvest the sugar cane is chopped in the mill, pressed and processed into crystal sugar. The molasses, a sugar-containing juice, is the basis for our bioplastics. In the production plant in Rio Grande del Sul it is fermented by adding yeast and then refined by distillation to a 99% pure alcohol (bioethanol).

The recycling of leftovers

Many residues can be used as animal feed or for paper production. Part of the bagasse (fibre remnants) is burned to produce thermal energy for production and distillation as well as electrical energy for the machines. As a result, sugar cane mills are energy self-sufficient and can even sell surplus electricity.

Bio-ethanol becomes bio-plastic

Now we continue at the molecular level. The bio-ethanol is first vaporized to the gas ethene and then further processed to bio-polyethylene by chain polymerization. To explain it without using too many chemical technical terms: The gas is transformed into a solid substance, in the form of granules.

Shipping and further processing

The bioplastics granulate is transported by ship to the ports nearest to the following destination. In order to compensate for the resulting CO2 emissions, we support Plant-for-the-Planet with their afforestation project. Once the granulate arrives at the port, it is transported by trucks to our production partners.

Production and packaging

In the last step, the bio-polyethylene granulate is finally formed by injection moulding into the respective products, like the brush heads, travel caps or dental floss spools. The finished product is then packed into cartons made of FSC®-certified cardboard and transported to our warehouse in Hamburg.

Our Philosophy: Less is better

Before we at TIO produce, or design anything at all, we will always ask ourselves if said object is really necessary and make sure that it fits our idea of reduced consumption.
1

Create only essential products

We develop those products that everyone needs and do not create new and additional needs.

2

Reduce material usage

Every TIO product is based on a sound analysis of material reduction in terms of design and packaging.

3

Ensure recyclability

Whether it’s parts of the TIO products or newly developed packaging concepts – as much as possible should be reusable as part of the existing and future recycling systems.

4

Minimize transport routes

We try to cooperate with the best, nearby partners and avoid unnecessarily long transport routes as well as offering climate-neutral shipping.

Frequent Questions on Sustainability

The manufacturing of environmentally friendly products is quite complex and anyone who looks into it naturally has questions that we are happy to answer.

Do TIO materials rival food production?

According to a WWF study, about one third of the world’s food is lost every year on its way from the field to the plate. In figures, this means approximately 1.3 billion tons per year. The annual production of bioplastics currently amounts to approximately 2.5 million tonnes, which represents 0.2% of food waste. Unfortunately, we are facing a global distribution problem here. So less bioplastics does not mean less hunger. We do not therefore see direct competition with food, but rather a distribution problem. Even if this distribution problem is solved, we are certain that the ecological advantage of bioplastics in the ecosystem is worth the land under cultivation. If one tenth of the area under cultivation for these foods were to be separated off and used for the cultivation of raw materials for biobased plastics, all petroleum-based plastics needed worldwide could be replaced.

What about disposal?

Unfortunately, bioplastics are not yet accepted in Germany’s industrial composting system, although they are partially biodegradable. Detailed information on the disposal of the individual components of our products can be found on the respective product pages.

What is the CO₂ footprint of your products?

In the future we are still in the process of having complete LCA’s (Life Cycle Analyses) carried out on our products. A complete analysis for each product is very complex due to many intermediate steps. Therefore, we have had these analyses carried out only by the materials we use for the time being.

Sugarcane: The bio-based PE polymer resin leads to an average removal of CO2 from the atmosphere of -2.15 kg CO2/kg. Compared to petrochemical PE, which has a GWP100 effect of +1.83 kg CO2kg PE, the GWP100 net advantage of the bio-based HDPE (slurry) is -3.98 kg CO2/kg bio-based PE in the base case.

BioNylon (bristles and dental floss): has a value of 4.0 kg CO2/kg compared to > 9 CO2/kg PA 6

This means that the material we use alone saves us a significant amount of CO2. Through our cooperation with the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, we support their reforestation projects and thus remove CO2 from the atmosphere, which is released by production and transport routes. In addition, minimal packaging and maximum reusability help to conserve resources and save CO2.

What is the global warming potential?

The global warming potential is a measure of the comparability of different greenhouse gases. Since one of the major causes of climate change is the CO2 emissions during energy conversion, a CO2 equivalent is given for gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and various refrigerants. This figure thus indicates the extent to which a mass of this gas, compared to the same mass of CO2, contributes to global warming.