The Beads Initiative
Kids Non-Profit Organization provides road safety education and safety reflectors produced in bio-plastic to children in developing countries with a high rate of traffic accidents.
Each child is given a box with reflecting beads for making bracelets for themselves and their family members. By combining theoretical education with handiwork we reach straight into the heart of these children.
KNPOs first beads were made of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) covered with 3M’s High Gloss top film. This solution was very satisfying at first glance but rapidly turned into a non-reflective bead. After having been used only a few weeks they lost most of their reflective characteristics.
We also became aware of the fact that KNPO cannot transport and distribute tons of TPU to Africa, or other continents, polluting nature if beads should be lost.
So we decided to restart the process from scratch with new materials and new partners willing to help us find a sustainable solution for humans, animal life and our planet, yet keeping the reflective characteristics.
The new KNPO beads are therefore made from polylactic acid (PLA): a bio-plastic derived from natural resources and sourced from Corbion Purac. Today, PLA bio-plastics are made from renewable, bio-based materials like sugarcane, corn, sugar beets and cassava, and offer a significant reduction in carbon footprint compared to oil-based plastics.
PLA is currently being used in a variety of applications like packaging and food service ware, and is increasingly becoming the material of choice for more demanding applications in automotive, electronics and textiles. This makes it a great material for our beads, being both durable enough and biodegradable.
Environmental and Social Impact
The end-of-life options for PLA include reusing, recycling, renewable energy recovery (incineration), biodegradation, anaerobic digestion and feedstock recovery. By closing the loop in this way, we can use resources more efficiently – securing the return of a valuable material stream and reducing waste.
Bio-plastics for a new generation
Today our beads are 100% bio-based, non-toxic, and fully biodegradable under composting conditions and non-GMO. For more information on PLA bioplastics, please visit the website of our partner Corbion Purac, please click here.