The clingfilm which can also be used for foodstuffs with a high fatty acid content and with acidic foods, is easy to tear off and contains renewable resources of agricultural origin.
Novamont continues the development with its Second Generation Mater-Bi® products: at the K fair (the international trade fair for plastics and rubber), taking place in Düsseldorf from 27 October to 3 November 2010, Novamont will be unveiling its first industrial clingfilm that is biodegradable and compostable and contains renewable resources.
The stretchy clingfilm can be used for any kind of foodstuffs, even food that has a high fat content (oils, sauces, butter, etc.) or that is acidic. After use it can be disposed of as organic waste as the material has been certified as compostable in accordance with standard EN13432 and is compatible with various kinds of composting plant technology.
The product was developed by Novamont together with its partners and has the same technical characteristics of strength and stretch as traditional products developed for domestic use without using any plasticisers or additives that could transfer into food. The development took quite a long time, as the technical profile of such products is complex, taking into consideration various benchmarks which had to be achieved. First of all, of course, the optical appearance and transparency, which has to be similar to the one offered by the conventionally used materials.
Novamont’s cling film is specially formulated to be easy to tear off without needing a serrated cutting edge, making it safer and more convenient. An intrinsic characteristic of the material is its high permeability to water vapour, helping to evaporate the condensation that forms particularly with warm food or in the fridge. This makes it ideal for preserving and protecting foodstuffs.
Another important aspect of this product is the balanced mechanical properties at very low gauge, as such films are mainly used in the gauge of 10 to 12 µ, with extremely high puncture resistance and excellent elongation values.
Moreover the product has a perfectly tuned water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) which is offering many products to be longer kept fresh in the fridge.
Mater-Bi® is the main product developed by Novamont. While providing the same strength and performance as traditional plastics, it is made of renewable resources of agricultural origin. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of energy and non-renewable resources, thus completing a virtuous circle: the raw materials of agricultural origin return to the earth through processes of biodegradation and composting, without releasing pollutants.
FKuR and Synbra realise the opportunities of the new PLA generation: GMO free and heat resistant. After first concluding highly promising development work FKuR has started systematic tests with Synbra´s second generation PLA produced from non-genetically modified carbohydrates. The PLA polymerization takes place in Synbra´s new plant in Etten-Leur with a capacity of 5000 t/a. The lactide feedstock is produced in Purac´s fermentation process.
The development partners expect a further strong market push since many brand-owners and retailers in Western Europe are keen to use GMO-free materials. In addition, FKUR and Synbra are targeting at high temperature applications to date not accessible for bioplastics. By blending almost 100% pure PLLA with PDLA at high temperatures, a stereocomplex PLA (sc-PLA) can be formed with properties that excel the ones of the individual homopolymers. The melting temperature of the complex is around 220°C which is 50°C higher than that of conventional PLA. Consequently, FKUR in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety, and Energy Technology UMSICHT intends to develop a new generation of high performance bio compounds.
"FKUR Kunststoff GmbH has outstanding knowledge in modifying bio-based raw materials and developing unique PLA blends and we are pleased to supply FKUR as a launching customer with our sc-PLA grades" Jan Noordegraaf, Managing Director of Synbra, pointed out.
"Synbra´s GMO free resins pave the way to new markets and the technical capabilities of the stereo complex offer us incomparable opportunities to design high engineered bio-compounds." Edmund Dolfen, Managing Director of FKUR Kunststoff GmbH, added.
In recognition of the purity and the feed stocks used, Synbra´s high purity PLA, as well as its BioFoam®, has been Cradle to Cradle SM certified by EPEA in Hamburg, and is the worlds first and thus far only PLA to be certified.
FKuR Kunststoff GmbH produces and markets special, customized biopolymers under
the brand names Bio-Flex® (polylactic acid/copolyester compound), Biograde® (celluloseester compound) and Fibrolon® (natural fibre reinforced polymers).
Synbra Technology bv in Etten-Leur, The Netherlands, is the in-house polymerisation and R&D facility ´Technology & Innovation´ and the centre of excellence in materials and product development in the Synbra Group. Synbra has a leading position in Europe regarding Expandable Polystyrene (EPS) for Sustainable Insulation Systems and Industrial Products & Solutions for a wide diversity of markets. Synbra Holding achieves a turnover of € 300 Million with about 1400 employees in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Portugal. A recent example of the Synbra group´s innovations is BioFoam®.
Clear Lam Packaging, Inc. Develops New Plastic Made From Plants For Stonyfield Farm Multipack Yogurt Product Lines
"StonyfieldFarm has invested significantly in finding innovative new packaging alternatives that reduce our dependency on oil and other finite resources, and we’re thrilled that Clear Lam was able to offer an industry-leading packaging solution to help support their sustainable packaging initiatives," said James Sanfilippo, President and CEO of Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.
According to a study conducted by the Boston-based Tellus Institute, over 95 percent of the environmental cost of packaging is in the production of the package, including the energy used and toxins created in the manufacturing process.
When compared to traditional petroleum-based packaging, the renewable raw materials are produced with as little as half the energy (1) and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 48 percent in the manufacturing process. (2)
Produced on yogurt cup packaging equipment by Stonyfield, the formed cups are stronger than those made from the polystyrene plastic the plant-based materials replaces, providing better impact resistance.
The materials are made mostly from Ingeo™ PLA produced by NatureWorks LLC. Stonyfield uses an offset program to produce a sustainably grown amount of corn equal to the amount used for the cups. Each cup features a "Made from Plants" stamp on the bottom.
For the past seven years, Clear Lam has invested heavily in research and development to commercialize new packaging technologies that minimize the impact on the environment. These efforts include three product lines developed for Clear Lam’s Project EarthClear™ program: packaging made from Renewable Raw Materials, packaging made from Recycled Content and Lightweighting Materials. Clear Lam is one of the world’s largest extruders and thermoformers of plant-based Ingeo™ PLA.
1, 2 Peer Review Original Research: Vink, Kolstad,and Davies, "The Eco-Profile for Current Ingeo Polylactide Production", Industrial Biotechnology, Vol. 6, No. 4, August 2010, pp 212-224
Ingeo™ is a registered trademark of NatureWorks LLC
EarthClear™ is a trademark of Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.
Cardia Bioplastics has received European and USA food contact certification for injection moulded products made from its Cardia Biohybrid™ materials. This follows the food contact approval received for its multilayer flexible film products in 2009.
Cardia BiohybridTM food contact rigid packaging products are certified compliant to Europe's Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 and USA's FDA CFR 21 for materials and articles intended to come into contact with food.
The breakthrough significantly expands Cardia Bioplastics market opportunities in food packaging applications. Cardia Bioplastics customers can now offer every day food packaging items, such as containers, closures, tubes, tubs and bottles, using Cardia BiohybridTM technology.
Cardia already has rigid food packaging products development agreements with several companies and is awaiting commercial outcomes. Cardia Bioplastics Managing Director Dr Frank Glatz said achieving European and USA food contact certification for injection moulded products is an important milestone for Cardia Bioplastics.
"Our ability to offer both rigid and flexible film packaging products, with high performance, strong environmental profile, food contact compliance and cost effectiveness, makes Cardia BiohybridTM technology a compelling package for the global food industry," said Frank Glatz.
Reduce oil consumption and carbon footprint
Cardia BiohybridTM proprietary technology combines renewable thermoplastics with polyolefin material to reduce dependence on finite oil resources and to reduce carbon footprint. Cardia Bioplastics is expanding its extensive patent portfolio with new lodgements to protect this innovative technology.
"This development enables customers to move confidently into more sustainable packaging solutions. Cardia BiohybridTM injection moulded products and multilayer films offer food marketers packaging solutions with a real competitive edge for their products," said Frank Glatz.
"Cardia Bioplastics now has technologies covering the packaging market comprehensively. The range starts with commodity packaging and extends to the high end food packaging industry. Our sustainable packaging applications now include flexible film, injection moulding, blow moulding, foam, and extrusion and coating applications.
"We also offer customers the choice of Cardia Bioplastics internationally certified Compostable technology for their packaging or plastic products," he said.
Cardia Bioplastics now seeks international commercial partner to advance world first technology
Melbourne packaging technology company Cardia Bioplastics Limited (ASX: CNN) has developed a world first biodegradable plastic bag created from a blend of CO2
(carbon dioxide) emissions and starch.
Chairman Pat Volpe said the company has successfully completed a first production run of the revolutionary carrier bags, known as CO2STM - or, carbon dioxide plus a starch based renewable resource.
"This is the first time CO2 emissions have been transformed in this way, and the development has the potential to revolutionise the production of bioplastics around the globe," he said.
Pollutant CO2 emissions are captured prior to being released into the atmosphere.
This pollutant is then transformed into a polypropylene carbonate (PPC) polymer and blended with a renewable resource (starch), using the company's new technology, to produce the Cardia Bioplastics CO2STM resin. This product is then used to produce a completely biodegradable carrier bag.
Pat Volpe said this revolutionary development promises to offer packaging alternatives globally, with the company now in discussion with several parties interested in the technology.
"Our new patent pending blending technology used to manufacture CO2STM compostable product will complement the existing Cardia Bioplastics portfolio." Pat Volpe said.
"We are delighted to be at the cutting edge of green technology by developing a new generation of bioplastics films for carrier bags and other products that is able to transform a problematic waste pollutant into an environmentally friendly alternative product," he said.
Cardia Bioplastics now plans to perfect the new CO2STM technology by increasing the PPC content and the renewable resource component so that up to 60% less virgin oil will be used, when compared to currently marketed biodegradable oil based products.
Cardia Bioplastics will also aim to achieve international compostability accreditation standards for CO2STM. Pat Volpe said manufacturing can easily be scaled up to meet commercial volumes with the aim to provide CO2STM bags at prices below current compostable carrier bags.
"We are now ready to commercialise this innovative technology and are searching for a suitable international partner with oil or gas wells, or refineries producing CO2 emissions. We are getting close in our negotiations and the market will be informed when current discussions materialise into a support agreement," he said.
Metabolix, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX) and Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today announced that their joint venture Telles has launched Mirel™ F3002, a thermoforming grade for use in food contact applications. This extends Mirel’s product range in the food service and food packaging market sector.
Mirel F3002 thermoforming grade is now available for use in non-alcoholic food contact applications. The conditions of use range from frozen food storage to boiling water up to 212°F, including microwave reheating. Mirel’s bioplastic thermoforming grade is suitable for a wide range of thermoformed food service and packaging applications including cold and hot cups, cup lids, yogurt containers, tubs and trays for meats and vegetables, condiment cups and other single-serve and disposable food packaging. The material is suitable for storage as well as food service.
“Food contact applications represent a tremendous opportunity for Mirel and this food compliant thermoforming grade opens up a number of packaging applications for our bioplastics,” said Bob Engle, General Manager of Telles. “Mirel’s physical performance properties—the range of modulus, heat and water resistance—are comparable to petroleum-based plastics, but Mirel is biobased and biodegradable. These unique properties enable a wide range of alternative disposal options for the food industry, including composting and anaerobic digestion, that can help to divert waste that would otherwise be sent to landfills. These disposal options also help to
create valuable secondary market products such as compost and biogas.”
According to Plastics Today, the U.S. thermoforming market was approximately five billion pounds in 2008, growing at 4.3 percent per year. Telles estimates that about 70 percent of this demand is in food contact applications.
Mirel bioplastics will be on display at the Metabolix booth (# 5D10-6A) at the K Show 2010, taking place from October 27 - November 3 in Dusseldorf, Germany.
About Mirel Bioplastics
Mirel is a family of bioplastic materials that have physical properties comparable to petroleumbased resins, yet are biobased and biodegradable in natural soil and water environments, in home composting systems, and in industrial composting facilities where such facilities are available. The rate and extent of Mirel’s biodegradability will depend on the size and shape of the articles made from it. However, like nearly all bioplastics and organic matter, Mirel is not designed to biodegrade in conventional landfills.
Commercial grades of Mirel are available for injection molding, thermoforming, sheet extrusion, and film applications. Telles is the joint venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland that is commercializing Mirel bioplastics. For more information please visit www.mirelplastics.com.
Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation-driven bioscience company focused on providing sustainable solutions for the world’s needs for plastics, chemicals and energy. The Company is taking a systems approach, from gene to end product, integrating sophisticated biotechnology with advanced industrial practice. Metabolix is now developing and commercializing Mirel™, a family of high performance bioplastics which are biobased and biodegradable alternatives to many petroleum based plastics. Metabolix is also developing a proprietary platform technology for co-producing plastics, chemicals and energy, from crops such as switchgrass, oilseeds and sugarcane.
For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com. (MBLX-G)
Every day, the 29,000 people of Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) turn crops into renewable products that meet the demands of a growing world. At more than 240 processing plants, we convert corn, oilseeds, wheat and cocoa into products for food, animal feed, chemical and energy uses. We operate the world’s premier crop origination and transportation network, connecting crops and markets in more than 60 countries. Our global headquarters is in Decatur, Illinois, and our net sales for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, were $62 billion. For more information about our company and our products, visit www.adm.com
Toray Plastics (America), Inc., the only United States manufacturer of precision-performance polyester and polypropylene films, presents new Ecodear® advanced compostable bio-based films made with renewable resources. Manufactured with polylactic acid (PLA) resin, the new, thin bi-axially-oriented Ecodear films include a metallized heat-sealable film that delivers good moisture and oxygen barrier protection and a clear film for use as an inner seal layer or a printweb. New Ecodear films meet ASTM D6400 standard specifications for compostable plastics. Food packaging applications include frozen foods, snacks, cookies, cereal and nutrition bars, and confectionery items. Packaging for nonfood items includes personal care items, fashion accessories, promotional items, toys, office supplies, and other retail goods. Toray has been researching and developing bio-based films since 2007 and will present examples of the new Ecodear films in its booth, #2935, at Pack Expo in Chicago, October 31 through November 3, 2010.
“Interest in compostable films made from renewable resources continues to grow,” says Franco Chicarella, Product Development Manager, Torayfan® Polypropylene Film Division, Toray Plastics (America), Inc. “Toray is well-known for its traditional high-performance thin barrier films that support product development, product enhancement, and sustainability goals, such as source reduction and light weighting. Now, with the addition of our new Ecodear bio-based films, customers have even more innovative options available to help them with their sustainability programs,” he explains. Chicarella adds that Toray is committed to creating a portfolio of bio-based films and continues to research and develop other renewable resources.
Toray Plastics (America), Inc., is a leading manufacturer of polyester and polypropylene films for flexible and rigid packaging, lidding, graphic, industrial, optical, and electronic applications. The company is a subsidiary of Toray Industries, Inc., the world leader in synthetic fibers and textiles, carbon fibers, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and high-performance films, which has annual sales exceeding US$16 billion.
Biopolymers are the more eco-friendly material, but farming and energy-intense chemical processing means they are dirtier to produce than petroleum-derived plastics, according to study in Environmental Science & Technology.
An analysis of plant and petroleum-derived plastics by University of Pittsburgh researchers suggests that biopolymers are not necessarily better for the environment than their petroleum-based relatives, according to a report in Environmental Science & Technology. The Pitt team found that while biopolymers are the more eco-friendly material, traditional plastics can be less environmentally taxing to produce.
Biopolymers trumped the other plastics for biodegradability, low toxicity, and use of renewable resources. Nonetheless, the farming and chemical processing needed to produce them can devour energy and dump fertilizers and pesticides into the environment, wrote lead authorMichaelangelo Tabone (ENG, A&S ’10), who conducted the analysis as an undergraduate student in the lab of Amy Landis, a professor of civil and environmental engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Tabone and Landis worked with James Cregg, an undergraduate chemistry student in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences; and Eric Beckman, codirector of Pitt’s Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation and the George M. Bevier Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School. The project was supported by the National Science Foundation.
The researchers examined 12 plastics—seven petroleum-based polymers, four biopolymers, and one hybrid. The team first performed a life-cycle assessment (LCA) on each polymer’s preproduction stage to gauge the environmental and health effects of the energy, raw materials, and chemicals used to create one ounce of plastic pellets. They then checked each plastic in its finished form against principles of green design, including biodegradability, energy efficiency, wastefulness, and toxicity.
Biopolymers were among the more prolific polluters on the path to production, the LCA revealed. The team attributed this to agricultural fertilizers and pesticides, extensive land use for farming, and the intense chemical processing needed to convert plants into plastic. All four biopolymers were the largest contributors to ozone depletion. The two tested forms of sugar-derived polymer—standard polylactic acid (PLA-G) and the type manufactured by Minnesota-based NatureWorks (PLA-NW), the most common sugar-based plastic in the United States—exhibited the maximum contribution to eutrophication, which occurs when overfertilized bodies of water can no longer support life. One type of the corn-based polyhydroyalkanoate, PHA-G, topped the acidification category. In addition, biopolymers exceeded most of the petroleum-based polymers for ecotoxicity and carcinogen emissions.
Results of life-cycle assessment with biopolymers listed as PLA-NW, PLA-G, PHA-G, and PHA-S. Hybrid is B-PET. Table from Environmental Science & Technology.
Once in use, however, biopolymers bested traditional polymers for ecofriendliness. For example, the sugar-based plastic from NatureWorks jumped from the sixth position under the LCA to become the material most in keeping with the standards of green design. On the other hand, the ubiquitous plastic polypropylene (PP)—widely used in packaging—was the cleanest polymer to produce, but sank to ninth place as a sustainable material.
Interestingly, the researchers found that the petroleum-plant hybrid biopolyethylene terephthalate, or B-PET, combines the ills of agriculture with the structural stubbornness of standard plastic to be harmful to produce (12th) and use (8th).
Landis is continuing the project by subjecting the polymers to a full LCA, which will also examine the materials’ environmental impact throughout their use and eventual disposal.
Solvay Advanced Polymers and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co are to collaborate on the development of a series of renewably-sourced high temperature speciality polymers using a new monomer from Mitsubishi. The work is initially focused on bio-based polyamides which will have a heat deflection temperature of approximately 270 degC for glass-filled compounds. At this level the companies say the new polymer will have greater thermal performance than many current bio-based polyamides and polyesters.
These polyamides, based on sebacic acid derived from castor oil, are expected to be among the highest temperature bio-based polyamides in the industry and will complement Solvay's high-temperature Amodel polyphthalamide. Among the properties of the new material will be low moisture retention, and a high crystallisation rate, wear resistance, and toughness. Key potential uses include reflow soldering applications, high-temperature automotive parts, and sliding applications such as gears.
Solvay and MGC are currently working on an optimised manufacturing process for the new polymer. Meanwhile, MGC has filed patents covering its development work in material composition, production, and applications.
The two companies have a long-standing history of co-operation, with MGC having supplied Solvay for 25 years with MXDA monomer for the production of Ixef polyarylamide.
While compostable plastics such as polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) and starch-based blends are becoming prevalent in the consumer packaging and food service sectors, the durable plastics market is anticipating other new materials made from renewable-based feedstock.
Several renewable chemical companies are targeting the $1.3 trillion (€933bn) global polymers market with chemical building blocks such as succinic acid, acrylic acid, levulinic acid, sorbitol, ethylene, ethylene glycol (EG), butanediol (BDO), adipic acid (ADA), furantium, propanediol and glycerin, among others. There are several properties for durable plastics that cannot be met by compostables, says Jim Lunt, managing director of US consulting firm Jim Lunt & Associates. He notes that bioplastics use represents just 1% of the 230m tonnes of plastics consumed worldwide.
"There is increasing demand for bio-based, semi-durable and durable products for household goods that is driving increasing activities in making the building blocks for existing plastics and some new materials from renewable resources," says Lunt. "Braskem's sugar-based polyethylene [PE] is just the first step. If oil prices stabilize around $90/bbl, which is where people believe [they] should be, then all these technologies for bioplastics have potential."
Global demand for bioplastics is expected to increase fourfold to 900,000 tonnes in 2013, according to US market research firm Freedonia Group. Germany-based trade association European Bioplastics group estimates that global bioplastics production will reach 1.5m tonnes by 2011 from the estimated 300,000 tonnes this year, while global capacity is expected to reach 2.3m tonnes by 2013.
"Conventional oil-based plastics remain cheaper for the time being, but bioplastics will be applied in more and more sectors and industries within the next few years," says Kristy-Barbara Lange, head spokeswoman for European Bioplastics. "Huge potential lies within the fields of consumer electronics and automotive. If certain challenges are met - such as availability of material - prices of bioplastic products will presumably adjust to a comparable level with conventional plastics."
GREEN PE START-UP
Brazilian polymers company Braskem started its new 200,000 tonne/year green PE plant late last month at the Triunfo petrochemical complex in Rio Grande do Sul. The company plans to build another facility, although the exact location is still being evaluated, said Braskem CEO Bernardo Gradin during the plant's inauguration. Braskem sources say the capacity of the second PE plant will be around 350,000 tonnes/year.
More than 80% of the production from the newly inaugurated plant has already been committed to clients in Europe, the US and Asia, according to Braskem. Customers for the green PE include US consumer goods companies Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Johnson & Johnson, Japanese cosmetics firm Shiseido, Japan-based automaker Toyota and Swiss packaging group Tetra Pak.
P&G will use the green PE in a pilot project for its branded hair care products Pantene Pro-V, and cosmetics Cover Girl and Max Factor, which will all officially be marketed next year. The brands' packaging will not have special labels indicating the use of the green PE, says Len Sauers, P&G's vice president of global sustainability.
Braskem's green PE price will carry a price premium as high as 66%, said Gradin. In spite of the premium, Gradin said demand has held up because it is competing against other renewable-based polymers and not against cheaper traditional PE.
Sauers acknowledges the premium attached to the green PE, but expects it to be reduced and eventually for the product to be at cost parity with petroleum-based PE when more of the plastics are used and scale is created.
US consulting firm Argeni estimates that Braskem's green PE will command a double-digit percentage premium over traditional PE.
"This is a dream come true in the highly competitive super commodity plastics market unless the premium cannot cover the manufacturing cost differential over conventional PE," says George Rodriguez, director of Argeni. "Green PE customers seem convinced that the premium is worth it. It will take time to determine what is actually achievable in terms of true versus theoretical costs."
BUILDING NEW MARKETS
The need for lower cost petrochemical-based polymers alternatives has become the focal point for the development of renewable-based monomer building blocks.
While the green factor is an added bonus, renewable-based chemicals, especially plastics, must be cost-competitive or even priced lower than traditional plastics in order to survive in the market, most renewable chemical companies noted at the Biobased Chemicals East Summit held in Boston, Massachusetts, US, in September.
US bio-ADA developers Verdezyne and Rennovia are targeting the nylon 6,6 market, which accounts for 85% of ADA demand in North America. Polyurethanes (PUs) account for 5% of ADA demand (see ICIS Chemical Business, September 27-October 3, 2010, page 22).
Petrochemical-derived PBS demand worldwide is currently around 3,000 tonnes/year, said Jim Millis, chief technology officer at US-based DNP Green Technology, in a presentation at the Biobased Chemicals East Summit. "PBS demand is expected to grow to 50,000 tonnes/year if the current monomer of succinic acid is replaced with bio-based product," he added.
DNP is marketing PBS with more than 51% bio-based succinic acid content produced by its newly acquired Chinese subsidiary Sinoven Biopolymer. Applications for the modified bio-PBS include food service coffee lids, cups, dishes, plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers, disposable razors, writing instruments and cosmetic packaging.
Netherlands-based specialty chemical company DSM is planning to produce bio-PBS derivatives from fermentation-based succinic acid through a newly formed 50:50 joint venture (JV) called Reverdia with French starch derivatives producer Roquette.
DSM is already selling bio-based engineering plastics under the trade name EcoPaXX, which contains 70% castor oil-based materials; and bio-composite resin Palapreg ECO, which contains 55% renewable-based materials, said Robert Kirschbaum, DSM's vice president, Open Innovation, at the Summit.
Within five years, EcoPaXX is expected to be 100% renewable-based, said Kirschbaum. He also pointed out DSM's venturing investments in PHAs through China-based Tianjin Green BioSciences; in levulinic ketals-based polymers through US start-up company Segetis; and in carbon dioxide-based aliphatic polycarbonates through US-based Novomer.
Novomer bio-polycarbonate polyols can currently address the global $8bn, 3.5m tonne/year composite resins market, said Peter Shepard, vice president of business development at Novomer, at the Summit. "Future growth opportunities also include foams and elastomers, with a global market valued at $6bn."
DEGRADING COMPOSTABLE PRICE
While many in the durable plastics market are waiting for full-fledged commercialization of these new renewable-based polymers, the compostable plastic industry is focusing its attention on lowering prices after going through years of development.
US-based PLA producer NatureWorks says its Ingeo resin is typically within 10% price parity with petrochemical-based plastics. "While NatureWorks and Ingeo have reached exceptional economies of scale, supply chain partners are still working through their own economies of scale and this for the moment is adding to price differentials. We do see this changing," says NatureWorks spokesman Steve Davies.
"Most brand owners find that they can overcome costs by passing on minor increases to their customers," notes Debra Darby, director of marketing and communications at US PHA producer Telles, a JV between Metabolix and agribusiness major Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), both US.
"While we find that bioplastic costs remain the biggest challenge facing brand owners, in some cases, brands can still absorb the cost increase as a part of a program to increase appeal of their products," adds Darby.
Another major challenge for novel polymers such as PLA and PHA is the difficulty in disrupting an already well-established petroleum-based plastics market.
"As the first new-to-the-world polymer in decades, Ingeo is competing with petroleum-based plastics that have long been optimized for performance in specific end-uses," says Davies. "That situation is beginning to change, with new tailored grades of Ingeo being introduced such as for durable applications and for nonwovens."
Food packaging and food service ware applications are the largest applications for both PLA and PHA plastics. Consulting firms Lunt and Argeni estimate that PLA prices range between 80 cents/lb ($1,764/tonne, €1,264/tonne) and $3/lb, while PHA prices are estimated at $2-$2.75/lb, depending on application.
Coinciding with the opportunity of K 2010, bioplastics manufacturer FKuR Kunststoff GmbH has extended its product range to include more innovative products. These will be presented at the show in hall 6, booth B66.
Utilisation in shrink film applications:
Predominantly based on renewable resources, Bio-Flex® F 4110 can be processed into film on conventional LDPE extruders. The properties required for shrink films can be adjusted by using this grade in combination with other Bio-Flex® F types in a multilayer structure. ”Due to the innovative combination of raw materials and multilayer structures, films made from this material show excellent shrink qualities and tightening strength “ says Patrick Zimmermann, director Sales and Marketing. Bio-Flex® F 4110 is a compostable raw material corresponding to EN 13432 with a renewable resource content greater than 60%.
Suitable for thermoforming and injection moulding:
Based on PLA and PBS, Bio-Flex® S 5630 is a compound with a high renewable resource content. The bio raw materials used in this compound are 100 % biodegradable. Bio-Flex® S 5630excels due to the careful balance of elasticity and stiffness. Moreover, products made from Bio-Flex® S5630 feature a high quality and pleasant feel "Besides the high quality surface finish, considering it is a PLA compound, this material offers an excellent heat distortion temperature of 105 °C measured to Vicat A” says Carmen Michels, director Technology and Production. This grade is particularly suitable for cast film extrusion and subsequent thermoforming, as well as for injection moulding and extrusion blow moulding.
These compounds, developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer UMSICHT, extend FKuR Kunstoff GmbH‘s sustainable product portfolio. “With these novel resins we are extending our range of products consistently for use in film applications and for high flow injection mouldable materials”, explains Edmund Dolfen, Managing Director of FKuR Kunststoff GmbH.
FKuR Kunststoff GmbH produces and markets special customized biopolymers under the brand names Bio-Flex® (polylactic acid/copolyester compound), Biograde® (cellulose ester compound) and Fibrolon® (natural fibre reinforced polymers). The close cooperation of the company with the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT assures outstanding know-how and quality standards.
Cardia Bioplastics and RNZ Green Bio (RGB) sign Heads of Agreement to establish a new Malaysian entity, Cardia Bioplastics Malaysia Manufacturing (CBMM), to manufacture finished bioplastics products. The agreement was signed at the National Utilities Summit 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The relationship between Cardia Bioplastics and RNZ Green Bio was announced by the Malaysian Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, YB Dato Sri Peter Chin Fah Kui, at the Malaysian National Utilities Summit 2010 in Kuala Lumpur. The Minister acknowledged the new venture between the two companies as one of the pioneers of bioplastics manufacturing in Malaysia.
In addition, the Minister endorsed Cardia Bioplastics efforts in promoting compostable bioplastics packaging that uses less oil with a lower carbon foot print and is environmentally responsible.
Cardia Bioplastics Chairman, Pat Volpe, said "We are launching in Malaysia with our partner RGB. Malaysia is recognised as one of the world's largest manufacturing hubs for plastics packaging. There are enormous opportunities for CBMM to manufacture bioplastics products for both the local and export market in this growing industry."
Cardia Bioplastics proprietary technology is accredited worldwide and will be licensed to CBMM. RGB will provide the initial working capital on terms and conditions to be formalized in a shareholder agreement.
RNZ Green Bio Chairman, Mr IR Rozali Ahmad, said "Our company has been extensively searching for the right partner that has a patent position, international accreditation along with an established infrastructure for manufacturing, distribution and marketing of bioplastics products. Cardia Bioplastics fits the bill and I am impressed with the quality of management and technical expertise in Cardia."
About Cardia Bioplastics
Cardia Bioplastics Limited (ASX CODE: CNN), through its 100% owned subsidiary Cardia Bioplastics Australia Pty Ltd, develops, manufactures and markets sustainable resins and finished products derived from renewable resources for the global packaging and plastic products industries. The company holds a strong patent portfolio and its growth is fuelled by the global trend towards sustainable packaging. Established in Australia in 2002 as Biograde, the company Headquarters and Global Applications Development Centre is in Melbourne, Australia. The Product Development Centre and manufacturing plant is in Nanjing, China. There are Cardia Bioplastics offices in the Americas, Europe, Malaysia and China, and a network of leading distributors across Australia, the Americas, Asia and Europe. Visit www.cardiabioplastics.com
Cardia Bioplastics was the exclusive supplier of biodegradable packaging to the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, and was awarded the Australian Chamber of Commerce "Australia-China Business Excellence Award" in 2008, and won the 2009 "Clean Equity Monaco Conference Award" for Excellence in the field of Environmental Technology Commercialisation. Cardia Bioplastics also received a recognition plaque from the Malaysian Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water as recognition for its efforts in the bioplastics industry.
About RNZ Green Bio
RNZ Green Bio (RGB) is a Malaysian-based company that was registered and incorporated in Malaysia in March 2010. RGB's major shareholder is RNZ Integrated (M) Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian private company involved in the oil & gas industry. RNZ is looking to expand its business opportunities into the growing bioplastics industry. RGB's management is experienced in business operation in the Malaysian manufacturing industry.
BASF will focus on its products Ecoflex® and Ecovio® as biodegradable and compostable plastics for agricultural use. As a consequence, business with the additive Envirocare® for oxo-biodegradable plastics was terminated effective July 1, 2010. Envirocare was part of the Ciba AG range and is used to manufacture polyethylene mulch films for agricultural use.
BASF has supplied biodegradable plastics for the manufacture of mulch films and other applications for many years in the form of Ecoflex and Ecovio. A 60,000 metric ton capacity expansion of the Ecoflex plant in Ludwigshafen is planned for the end of 2010 to meet rising market demand. “BASF has opted for biodegradable plastics that are fully biodegradable and compostable in accordance with standards such as European norm EN 13432,” said Jürgen Keck, head of global business for biodegradable plastics at BASF in Ludwigshafen. “These standards are important from our point of view. They demand certain environmental features that our products can offer.”
Under defined conditions, biodegradable plastics decompose fully to water, carbon dioxide and biomass. In the debate about bioplastic, biodegradability and compostability offer very specific benefits not only for agricultural use but also for food packaging and organic waste bags.
Research by the Carbon Trust reveals that sales of Carbon Reduction Labelled products, such as Walkers Crisps and Quaker Oats, have reached £2billion.
Research carried out for the Carbon Trust by the Centre for Retail Research also showed that 9 out of 10 households* in the UK bought a carbon labelled product in the last year and predicted sales of carbon labelled products to double in two years**.
The Carbon Reduction Label has reached the landmark figure of £2 billion in just three years. The Label is now displayed on 85 products in total, including PepsiCo brands Walkers Crisps and Quaker Oats.
Walkers crisp packets were the first ever products to display the Carbon Reduction Label in 2007, and to retain the label - following significant carbon reductions - in 2009. The Label follows the PAS 2050 carbon footprinting methodology, which measures the carbon emissions of a product at every step of the supply chain, leading to valuable energy and cost saving opportunities for businesses.
The Carbon Trust developed PAS 2050, the world's first standard for product carbon footprinting, with Defra and BSI British Standards in 2007. Once they have achieved the standard, businesses can use the Carbon Reduction Label to publicise the carbon footprints of their products, and make a public commitment to reducing them.
Richard Evans, President, PepsiCo UK & Ireland said:
"The carbon reduction logo is a public commitment to reducing our carbon footprint year on year and ensures that we work hard to find innovative ways of making efficiencies at every step of our supply chain. We are proud to be leading the way on sustainability, which began by working with the Carbon Trust to understand the carbon footprint of our products, and led to Walkers crisps being the first product worldwide to feature the carbon label on pack."
Euan Murray, Head of Footprinting at the Carbon Trust, said:
"The £2 billion sales figure is a major milestone, and we are proud to see that the Carbon Reduction Label has achieved such momentum in only three years. Forward-thinking businesses are recognising the multiple benefits of carbon footprinting and labelling - from cutting inefficiency and waste from their supply chains, to being transparent about the carbon emissions of their products, and committing to reduce them."
* The Carbon Trust calculation is based in part on data reported by Nielsen through its Homescan Service for defined products carrying the Carbon Reduction Label for the 52-week period ending 4th September 2010 for the Great Britain total grocery market.
** Centre for Retail Research, October 2010
PepsiCo UK is investigating the viability of new compostable packaging made from renewable resources rather than plastic.
The new solutions may be based on starch (from potatoes), lactic acid (from corn) or cellulose (from trees). And each of these materials offer different properties in terms of look, feel, sound and protective barrier.
Cellulose films such as NatureFlex™ from Innovia Films provide a range of beneficial properties that differentiate them from other packaging materials. Cellulose film is effectively a form of transparent paper.
Its environmental properties include:
- Derived from managed forestry sources
- Suitable for a range of waste management processes including industrial and home composting
- Energy recovery through anaerobic digestion
- High gas and aroma barrier for product freshness
- Moisture barrier performance to maintain crispness
- Metallised versions improve the barrier to light and further enhance product shelf-life
- Low 'crackle' and noise
"Innovia Films as leader in speciality packaging, labelling and overwrap films is enjoying increased interest and sales in NatureFlex which is based on cellulose from trees. We are working with leading companies like PepsiCo helping to bring the sustainability agenda from concept to products on the shelf."
Alexander van 't Riet, Global Sales and Marketing Director, Innovia Films.
About Innovia Films
Innovia Films Ltd is a major producer of Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene (BOPP) and cellulose (Cellophane™) films with production sites in the UK, USA, Belgium and Australia. It holds a leading global position in the markets for labels and security films, coated packaging, overwrap and biodegradable and compostable films.
As part of its commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, PepsiCo UK is exploring alternative packaging for Walkers crisps and snacks, such as compostable crisp packets.
The ?Enjoy the World? bio-cups for hot and cold drinks are 100 per cent compostable and have been developed in conjunction with sister company Van der Windt in the Netherlands. The raw materials used to manufacture the cups, including all inks and coatings, are fully biodegradable as certified in accordance with the DIN CERTCO composting standards.
The new range, distinguishable by the seedling logo and design, forms part of a comprehensive 15,000-strong product range available from Van der Windt UK, which specialises in servicing the horticultural,
agricultural and retail sectors, as well as food markets.
Enjoy the World bio-cups are supplied in two varieties ? a hot drinks version with a PLA coating on one side and a cold drinks version, which has a PLA coating applied on both sides of the cup. The range is
available in four sizes, including 150cc and 200cc, available with neutral printing from stock, as well as 180cc and 300cc, which can be made to order.
A customer?s unique design can also be applied for orders larger than 100,000pcs reflecting Van der Windt?s dedication to unrivalled customer service.
Richard Selby, general manager at Van der Windt UK, said: ?A greater trend towards environmental responsibility has prompted greater use of bio-cups in canteens and restaurants, which can now benefit from a fully compostable ?green? product that is durable, robust and ideal for industrial decomposition.
?Many products on the market claim to be biodegradable, however it is often the case that the inks and coatings used on such products are environmentally damaging, therefore not fully compostable. In order to
maximise their efforts in reducing their carbon footprint, customers should verify the source of the cups with their suppliers to ensure that they are fully certified.?
This is the latest addition to the already extensive selection of products supplied by Van der Windt UK, all chosen to reflect the company?s customer-focused approach dedicated to high quality service
delivered efficiently and at market-leading value. Van der Windt UK enjoys close links with sister Clondalkin Group companies Wentus and LPF Flexibles, giving it access to an wide range of flexible packaging
Van der Windt UK, based in Sleaford, Lincolnshire, is part of the Van der Windt Group which has extensive facilities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Ireland. The group serves 6,000 customers across
Europe with a 15,000-strong product range for the agriculture, horticulture, retail, food-service, hotel, restaurant and catering, cleaning and hospital, and food and non-food industry markets. The Van
der Windt Group is owned by Clondalkin Group, which is an international producer of high value added packaging products and services.
Each year, Stonyfield Farm sells 200 million of its “YoBaby” and “YoKids” individual, 4-ounce yogurt cups (they’re sold in multipacks of four). This makes up 27 percent, by weight, of all its products sold each year. But these little containers had become a big problem for this forward-thinking company, from both waste and health perspectives. The company started using polystyrene for the YoBaby packaging in 2003, and since then, consumer complaints, based on the material’s links to human health problems, were piling up. Plus, it wasn’t getting any easier to find recycling facilities that would accept the material. So last month, Stonyfield began transitioning to a material composed mostly of polylactic acid (PLA), which is corn-based.
This is a major transition for a company of Stonyfield’s size, especially given its cache among sustainability-focused firms. But it’s also not a perfect solution. For one thing, the PLA is produced by NatureWorks, a subsidiary of the agri-giant Cargill, and a company one might be surprised to find linked to the yogurt-maker, which prides itself on using organic ingredients and supporting sustainable agricultural practices. Also, the PLA cups are no more recyclable than the polystyrene they are replacing—in fact, there are only two facilities that recycle the PLA, and only one in the U.S
Still, as Nancy Hirshberg, Stonyfield’s vice president of natural resources, told Triple Pundit, while PLA isn’t a perfect solution, it’s a better one than continuing to use polystyrene. Because the new packaging is comprised of 93 percent PLA, it’s mostly corn. And regardless of whether that corn is from genetically modified seed, it’s still not the oil used in polystyrene. In fact, Stonyfield figures that 48 percent fewer greenhouse gases will be emitted each year by transitioning from polystyrene to PLA for the yogurt cups.
And while you’re not going to find any municipal systems that will take that empty PLA cup away in the blue bins, Stonyfield says it is a priority for the company to launch a pilot program to take back the packaging from consumers and send it to the U.S. recycling facility (in Wisconsin), where it will actually be recycled back into PLA, and not downcycled into other products, which is the fate of petroleum-based plastics (such as the polypropylene used in other Stonyfield packaging). And speaking of that other packaging, she says Stonyfield is always researching alternatives to petroleum-based plastics for all its products, but for now, the PLA will only replace its polystyrene containers.
But the bigger impact that this decision may have on makers of consumer packaged goods, in general, is to inch the industry a bit closer to bio-based plastics. However, it’ll be a long and bumpy road before PLA is truly sustainable packaging, and building out a proper take-back and recycling infrastructure for this material will take many years. In the meantime, most YoBabies will end up in the YoLandfill.
That said, Stonyfield doesn’t plan on settling. It considers the corn feedstock to be merely transitional, and intends on pursuing bio-plastic based on agricultural waste and other sources, such as switch grass, as soon as they become “commercially feasible.” In the meantime, it’s also purchasing a type of credit designed to balance the impact of the conventional farming practices behind the PLA. To do so, it’s purchasing Working Landscapes Certificates from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Green Harvest Technology (GHT). The idea is that these groups will use these certificates, which are modeled after renewable energy credits, to push for sustainable agricultural production for emerging biomaterials sectors, including the bioplastics industry. Hirshberg says Stonyfield is initially purchasing 1.7 million pounds of PLA, which is derived from 490 acres of corn. They’re buying the certificates for $74 per acre, and the lion’s share goes directly to the farmers involved in the program, to help them transition to sustainable practices.
And as for that other 7 percent of material used in the new packaging? Four percent is titanium dioxode, used to color the plastic. But Stonyfield hit a brick wall when it requested a list of the remaining 3 percent. “[The vendor] said, ‘hey, it’s FDA-approved,’ but that’s all,” says Hirshberg. So the company tried another tack, providing the packaging vendor a list of 2600 chemicals (including carcinogens, endocrine inhibitors, etc.) that they did not want anywhere near their yogurt. The list cleared, and they moved forward, she says.
The full list of products that are transitioning to the PLA packaging includes YoBaby, YoToddler, YoKids, B-Healthy, B-Well, Probiotic & O’Soy. And the prices for these products will remain the same.
Source: pakbec.blogspot.com and http://www.triplepundit.com
Cereplast to Deliver Feature Presentation on the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Bioplastics at the 2010 Biopolymers Symposium
Cereplast, Inc. (NASDAQ:CERP), a leading manufacturer of proprietary bio-based, compostable and sustainable plastics, announced today that its Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Robert Findlen, will deliver a featured presentation at IntertechPira's 2010 Biopolymers Symposium to be held on October 11 through 13, 2010 at The Westin Tabor Center in Denver, Colorado. The presentation topic will cover the economic and environmental benefits of bioplastics versus traditional, petroleum-based plastics.
Cereplast is also a main sponsor of the fifth annual Biopolymers Symposium, which brings together leaders in the biopolymer industry to discuss the variety of moving parts affecting the global market in terms of policy, regulation, labeling, end of life management and product performance.
"We are proud to sponsor the 2010 Biopolymers Symposium as we remain strongly committed to supporting the industry's collaborative effort to forge development and growth forward in the bioplastics space," said Frederic Scheer, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, Inc. "As demand for bio-plastics as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics continues to grow exponentially, Cereplast continues to design and produce economically and ecologically responsible products from renewable resources."
Cereplast, Inc. actively manufactures proprietary bioplastic resins for use in products including tableware, cutlery, toys, healthcare and hygiene products, bottles and containers, bags, packaging, gift cards, printed displays, straws, pipes, conduits, and many other applications. The Company's advance technologies include: Cereplast Compostables(R), which substitutes petroleum-based plastics in single-use disposables and packaging; and Cereplast Sustainables(TM), which replaces up to 70% of the petroleum content in conventional plastics used in a range of markets, including automotive, consumer goods, consumer electronics, medical, packaging, and construction.
During the conference presentation, Robert Findlen will describe the various Cereplast technology platforms being commercialized and developed which include PLA, Starch, Polyolefins and new polymers such as PHA, PHBV, Succinic Acid, among others. Cereplast is on track to reach the goals the Company outlined earlier this year "and we are vigorously structuring our sales and technical team to respond efficiently to surging consumer and industrial demand for economically and ecologically sound, 'green' products," said Robert Findlen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Cereplast.
About Cereplast, Inc.
Cereplast, Inc. (NASDAQ: CERP) designs and manufactures proprietary bio-based, sustainable plastics which are used as substitutes for petroleum-based plastics in all major converting processes - such as injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding and extrusions - at a pricing structure that is competitive with petroleum-based plastics. On the cutting-edge of bio-based plastic material development, Cereplast now offers resins to meet a variety of customer demands. Cereplast Compostables(R) Resins are ideally suited for single use applications where high bio-based content and compostability are advantageous, especially in the food service industry. Cereplast Sustainables(R) Resins combine high bio-based content with the durability and endurance of traditional plastic, making them ideal for applications in industries such as automotive, consumer electronics and packaging.
Using a new Ingeo blend formulation, Polenghi LAS has developed Europe’s first extrusion-blow-molded biobased bottle, Polenghi LAS and NatureWorks LLC, manufacturer of Ingeo bioplastic, reported today. Ingeo bioplastic is made from renewable plant material, not oil.
By switching from polyolefin resin to Ingeo bioplastic for packaging 10 million bottles its new Bio organic lemon juice, Polenghi will conserve 1,000 barrels of oil and reduce CO2 emissions by 126 tons compared to an equivalent oil-based plastic squeeze bottle. Polenghi’s achievement demonstrates the first European commercial introduction of a proven, low-environmental impact and renewably sourced bioplastic substitute for polyolefin resins in extrusion-blow-molding applications. This bioplastic also offers stable pricing compared to the volatility experienced in the petroleum market.
Polyethylene and polypropylene are the polyolefins typically used in the extrusion-blow-molding process to produce the “soft” plastic packaging often used for food and personal care squeeze bottles. The resin manufacturing process to produce Ingeo bioplastic emits 38 percent less CO2 and consumes 45 percent less energy than the resin manufacturing process for an equivalent weight low-density polyethylene. The resin manufacturing process to produce Ingeo bioplastic emits 31.6 percent less CO2 and consumes 42 percent less energy than the resin manufacturing process for polypropylene.
“We are extremely proud of the technical achievements that led to the development of this low-carbon-footprint Eco bottle, the first of its kind in Europe,” said Marco Polenghi, sales director of Polenghi LAS. “This bottle and shrink-sleeve label, both made from renewably sourced Ingeo™ bioplastic, presents us with the opportunity to differentiate our Bio organic lemon juice.”
“Over the past two years, we’ve seen the expansion of Ingeo applications into such manufacturing processes as injection molding and higher-heat thermoforming,” said Marc Verbruggen, president and chief executive officer of NatureWorks. “With its innovative Ingeo blend, Polenghi now offers a lower carbon emission/lower energy alternative to polyolefins in extrusion-blow-molding applications.”
Polenghi Bio, organic lemon juice packed in the Eco bottle, is now available in Italy and will soon be stocked in stores throughout Europe. www.polenghigroup.it . The NatureWorks LookBook contains information about other new biobased products and the NatureWorks website www.natureworksllc.com offers a wealth of information on Ingeo biopolymer made from renewable plant material, not oil.
About NatureWorks LLC
NatureWorks LLC is a company dedicated to meeting the world’s needs today without compromising the earth’s ability to meet the needs of tomorrow. NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available, low-carbon footprint Ingeo biopolymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based plastics and fibers. For more information, visit www.natureworksllc.com.
Polenghi is a family group involved in food and juices manufacturing with 4 facilities in Europe since 1976. Eco-friendly oriented producing 150kw/h of energy by solar panel and using the bottles 100% from renewable sources (Ingeo). Exporting in 50 countries in the world, Polenghi is a European leader of lemon juice.
Snack maker Frito Lay has reverted to the original non-biodegradable material for five of its six SunChips brand bags after consumer feedback indicated its new 100 per cent plant-based polylactic acid (PLA) packaging was too noisy.
Sales results also declined for the crisp brand in the 18 months since the introduction of the environmentally friendly bag, which was said to biodegrade in as little as 14 weeks, while conventional chip packets typically take over 100 years.
The novel crisp bag was chosen by product innovation experts from the market research organization Mintel during this summer’s IFT food expo in Chicago as one of the most innovative new products of the past year.
And, according to Mintel’s research, 43 per cent of consumers had said they were likely to buy the SunChips product because of its strong eco-friendly positioning.
Nevertheless, nearly 40,000 people signed up to a Facebook group criticizing the packaging material, plant-based polylactic acid (PLA), for being too loud.
This is not the first time a social network has spoken up about their dislike of a product and companies are beginning to realize that they need to listen.
PepsiCo - FritoLay’s parent company - had a similar experience with its Tropicana juice packaging, which drew such heavy criticism via Twitter that the company withdrew the new design just weeks after it was introduced.
The manufacturer said that the new bags will continue to be used for the original flavour of SunChips and that the five other flavours will be back to the old packaging by the end of this month. The switch started mid-September.
PLA packaging restrictions
Corn-based plastics are made by fermenting corn sugar to produce lactic acid. This substance is then used to form PLA.
Up until recently, the adoption of PLA had been restricted to the packaging of chilled food and beverages due to its tendency to deform at 55°C and above. But polymer additive suppliers such as DuPont have been developing products with the aim of toughening PLA packaging materials as well as improving their processibility and flexibility in rigid structures.
Furthermore, US based researchers recently claimed a breakthrough that could boost the heat resistance of PLA sufficiently, allowing it to be used in hundreds of new packaging applications.
The team from the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and private company Lapol said they have created a modifying system that could see PLA used in hot-filled applications across the food and beverage industry.
The fact that the bioplastic has a lower heat tolerance than some petroleum-based plastics excludes it from being used for some applications, explained the group consisting of ARS chemist William Orts, along with Allison Flynn and Lennard Torres from the Santa-Barbara-based plastics company.
To raise the temperature at which PLA may distort - known as its ‘heat deflection temperature’ – the scientists developed a temperature deflection modifying mechanism that boosts its heat resistance properties. The modifier is said to be more than 90 per cent corn based and fully biodegradable.
Movers and shakers
NatureWorks, part of Cargill, is one the main movers behind corn PLA based packaging.
Companies like US-based Naturally Iowa have been using PLA for packaging products like organic milk.
And European retailers including Delhaize in Belgium, Auchan in France, Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer, and Tesco in the UK, along with Coop in Switzerland and the Europe-wide chain Aldi have also been employing PLA for various food packaging.
Last september 24, in the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, Braskem inaugurated, the world’s largest ethylene-from-ethanol plant, permitting the production of 200,000 tons of green polyethylene per year. As a result, the company will be providing the world with resin made from renewable sources, and taking another step towards its goal of becoming the world leader in sustainable chemistry with diversified and competitive raw material sources. The project, which absorbed investments of almost R$500 million, was based on the company’s own technology.
"The completion of this project is a landmark for Braskem, the realization of a dream shared with our clients, who can now acquire an even more sustainable product," declared the company’s CEO, Bernardo Gradin. Green plastics are exceptionally eco-friendly, since the process used to produce each ton of polyethylene from the primary raw material removes 2.5 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. "Braskem’s green plastics are made from CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere through sugarcane photosynthesis. It is also the most competitive of all plastics made from renewable sources. And this has been widely acknowledged by the market, which recorded demand three times greater than the plant’s capacity," added Gradin.
Since last year, Braskem has established several partnerships to supply green polyethylene to domestic and international clients who have adopted sustainable development as a pillar of their market strategy. This pioneering group of companies includes Tetra Pak, Toyota Tsusho, Shiseido, Natura, Acinplas, Johnson&Johnson, Procter&Gamble and Petropack. The most common applications of plastics from renewable sources are personal care and cleaning products, food packaging, toys and home appliances.
The deadline for the construction of the green ethylene plant was reduced to 16 months, under budget and with no accidents resulting in workers having to take time off. Due to its extreme importance, Braskem challenged its team to complete the project as rapidly as possible and with the highest safety standards. "The decision to bring the purchase of critical equipment forward, the efforts of the logistics area to speed up its delivery, and the perfect harmony between the technology, basic engineering, detailing and production teams played a crucial role in achieving this goal," explained Manoel Carnaúba, VP of the Basic Petrochemicals Unit.
Construction and assembly were handled by Construtora Norberto Odebrecht. Genpro, the same firm that worked on the Paulínia polypropylene plant, contributed its engineering expertise, OPI was responsible for international supply and Braskem supplied the technology and the basic and conceptual project, in addition to managing the alliance.
More than 2,200 workers were involved in the construction, more than 700 of whom living in Triunfo and the vicinity. Of this total, 174 had completed the Programa Acreditar (Believing Program), which had provided almost 250 Triunfo residents with eight months of training in electrics, structural assembly, plumbing, carpentry and welding.
The green polyethylene project will consume around 462 million liters of ethanol per year, which will initially come from the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Paraná. With the start-up of the green ethylene plant, Braskem will be consuming 570 million liters of ethanol in its Rio Grande do Sul units, almost as much as the entire state (600 million liters). Of this total, the ETBE plant will absorb 150 million liters.
Ethanol will be supplied though contracts with major Brazilian producers. Relations with these suppliers will be governed by a Code of Conduct that establishes sustainability criteria through compliance with environmental guidelines, especially those related to the São Paulo State Environmental Protocol, labor legislation and regulations on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Most of the ethanol will be transported by rail and waterway, with only a small portion arriving by road.
Pursuing its goal of becoming the world leader in sustainable chemistry, Braskem has stepped up its research into the development of other polymers, especially green polypropylene. The company has recently established a partnership with Laboratório Nacional de Biociências (LNBio), in Campinas, upstate São Paulo, for the installation of a laboratory to be used by the company’s biotechnology research team.
Braskem is also considering implementing a new green ethylene unit, due to market interest. "Investments in polymers have underlined Braskem’s confidence in the country’s growth and its potential for leading the development of products made from renewable sources, thanks to its competitive advantages," Gradin concluded.
Australian global sustainable packaging developer Cardia Bioplastics Limited (ASX: CNN) has signed an international supply and licensing agreement, on confidential terms, with a United States packaging supplier
Cardia will manufacture and supply a range of its sustainable packaging products under a joint branding license. Based on the forward projections of the American packaging company, Cardia is expected to realise revenue of at least AUD$1.8 million per annum.
Cardia Managing Director, Dr Glatz said the agreement was signed following performance testing of the Cardia Compostable product technology, which met stringent USA compostability standard ASTM6400. The Supply and License Agreement also provides for product co-branding, and this co-branding will further enhance Cardia Bioplastics' profile amongst American consumers.
"It is Cardia's first substantial contract in the large American packaging market and comes within weeks of signing several supply agreements in both China and Australia," he said.
Dr Frank Glatz said the US contract was underpinned by strengthening demand for bioplastics in North America, with business and consumers demanding ‘greener' alternatives in all kinds of packaging products.
He said several cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, had legislated to ban the use of non-compostable carrier bags and several state governments, including California, Texas and Minnesota were also expected to follow suit.
"US President Barack Obama has also announced a new green plan to use less oil and is committed to seeking more renewable and sustainable options," Dr Glatz said.
"The Cardia Bioplastics range of renewable BiohybridTM and certified compostable products using Cardia's proprietary technology has created significant interest in the USA."
Cardia has established local technical support and the logistical infrastructure to ensure effective supply capability into the USA from Cardia's modern manufacturing plant in Nanjing, China.
"We are ready to expand into the USA and this supply agreement is further endorsement that our Bioplastics products are now being internationally sourced by customers." Dr Glatz said.
Arkema Chooses Teknor Apex as Preferred Supplier of Additive Masterbatches Based on Its Modifiers for PLA Biopolymer
Arkema Inc. has selected the Bioplastics Division of Teknor Apex Company as a preferred supplier of masterbatches incorporating the company’s Biostrength® additives for polylactic acid (PLA) biopolymer, Teknor Apex announced today.
Arkema’s Biostrength® additives product line currently includes a clear impact modifier; an impact modifier for opaque injection molding applications; a melt strength enhancer for improving the processability of foams, films, fibers, and thin-sheet extrusion and thermoforming; and a metal release agent that reduces sticking on extrusion and molding equipment. Teknor Apex will supply masterbatches based on these additives under its Terraloy™ bioplastics brand name.
“Arkema is partnering with Teknor Apex as a way to meet the needs of customers for a reliable source of pellet masterbatches for PLA based on our Biostrength additives, which are produced in powder form,” said Peggy S. Sharp, Arkema’s business director of packaging and medical markets. “We chose Teknor Apex as a preferred supplier based on their reputation for speed and responsiveness in working with customers.”
“The masterbatches based on Arkema additives are a natural addition to our Terraloy bioplastics product portfolio, which already includes diverse compounds based on blends of bioplastic polymers, thermoplastic starch, and other additives,” said Edwin Tam, manager of new strategic initiatives. “These masterbatches improve the performance of PLA, enable them to meet more stringent requirements, and broaden their application potential.”
THE SUSTAINABILITY ADDITIVES GROUP OF ARKEMA INC. offers a wide range of products to the plastics industry, including Biostrength® impact modifiers, Vikoflex® epoxidized soybean oils and various organic peroxides. The mission of the group is to help customers make more efficient use of energy and materials, develop new products that harness the capabilities of renewable resources, manage or create less waste, and extend the life of existing products.