Natural Plastics

News about the bioplastics industry

Braskem invests in robotics for research in the field of biotechnology

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To support its research in metabolic engineering, Braskem has acquired a High Throughput Screening (HTS) system from the U.S. company Hamilton, a world leader in the field of robotics. This robot is Hamilton's most modern in use in South America and the first ever in Brazil to be used for this application.


The robot will be used in projects involving the genetic manipulation of microorganisms known as synthetic biology for the development of new renewable polymers. The HTS system will allow researchers' work to be multiplied by 100 to 1,000 times in the same period of time.


To learn more details about the robot's operations, four Braskem researchers will receive special training in the United States. Hamilton also created a technical support team in Brazil especially to provide support for the HTS system.


"The HTS system is yet another tool that will enable Braskem as well as Brazil to accelerate their development of competencies in biotechnology and position themselves as key players in the bioeconomy. Braskem has achieved results in synthetic biology and advanced biopolymers on par with those of the most renowned companies in these fields," said Avram Slovic, manager of Braskem's Biotechnology Program.

European Bioplastics announces 8th European Bioplastics Conference

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“Bioplastics are part of a biobased future in Europe. This year’s „European Bioplastics Conference“ will demonstrate and showcase the industry’s enormous potential”, comments European Bioplastics Chairman Andy Sweetman. „Making bioplastics increasingly tangible for business contacts and the end consumer – that is our challenge now that bioplastics are
stepping out of the niche and mass products can be experienced by everybody”.

The 8th European Bioplastics Conference is the pre-eminent international industry event in
Europe offering a unique information platform for industry trends and innovations in material and application development. With the view on individual needs and interests, participants can expect a diversified conference format with up to date presentations and interactive features, aimed at stimulating the engagement of the participants.

Excellent networking opportunities and a comprehensive product exhibition: The 8th Conference will introduce a new online partnering tool and special meeting areas in order to facilitate networking. The online partnering service will be activated for all registered participants a few months prior to the conference.

In 2012, over 400 experts from around the globe came together at the 7th conference and
impressively showcased the conference’s tremendous effectiveness in networking and information exchange.

For this year‘s event, registration opens in April 2013. The call for papers will be published

European Bioplastics

Z Trim Reports First Sales of Industrial Grade Bio-Fiber Gum

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Z Trim Holdings, Inc., a biotechnology company providing value-added ingredients to a variety of industries, today announced its first sales of industrial grade Bio-Fiber Gum for use in the multi-billion dollar petroleum coke industry.


The customer is a global leader in calcined petroleum coke innovation and production. Produced from the same raw material sources that the Company uses to produce its Z Trim ingredients, Bio-Fiber Gum is a soluble fiber with adhesive, binding and emulsifying properties suitable for industrial uses. Z Trim, jointly with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, filed a provisional patent for Bio-Fiber Gum in 2012.


"This is a tremendous accomplishment for our technology team," said Z Trim CEO, Steve Cohen . "We opened our industrial division in mid-2012 and the reception has already been very positive. This first sale strengthens our belief in the viability and efficacy of our new line of products. We believe our Bio-Fiber Gum delivers high functionality across a wide range of industrial applications, while helping clients reduce the environmental impact of their operations."


"For years we have sought to improve revenues by finding new applications for the by-products of the Z Trim manufacturing process," said Brian Chaiken , Z Trim CFO. "The economics, efficiency and sustainability of our operations improve when we are able to use and sell close to 100% of our raw material. Further, having a provisional patent for our Bio-Fiber Gum protects our product in the near term."


ADCELLPACK project advances the use of cellulose-based materials in food packaging

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image By developing cellulose packaging material to be used in atmosphere packaging techniques, the European ADCELLPACK consortium is aiming to create an alternative to the use of oil-based packaging materials in food packaging, especially for cheese. The need for the development work arises from the increasing amounts of non-renewable oil-based packaging waste.


Centros Comerciales Carrefour, Distribuciones Juan Luna, Papelera de Brandia, Elastopoli Oy, Skymark and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, with ITENE as coordinator, will develop a new renewable solution that will maintain the freshness of a product and assure its food contact safety.


Life-style changes and the need for product differentiation have put pressure on the quality and sales appeal of food packaging. This has increased the amount of packaging material. At the moment, most food packaging material is of non-renewable, oil-based origin. According to EUROSTAT, domestic plastic packaging waste in Europe amounts to more than 15 million tonnes, of which 40% is disposed of and not recovered or recycled.


In order to increase the amount of bio-based food packaging materials, the European ADCELLPACK consortium is developing a thermoplastic wood-fibre-based packaging material for trays used primarily in packages of sliced cheese.


The new material will be designed to suit Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). The MAP technique is widely used for the preservation of fresh foods because it offers the product an increased shelf life. In this packaging technique, atmospheric air inside the package is replaced with the desired gas mixture. Common MAP packaging structures are based on non-renewable multilayer materials which are difficult to recycle.


The use of bio-based materials is a promising alternative in the packaging industry for reducing the environmental impact and the use of non-renewable resources. Materials based on cellulose can be an outstanding alternative to substitute materials currently used in MAP.


A fully sustainable solution will be developed that will maintain the freshness of the product and assure its food contact safety. The solution will provide actual or improved shelf life through the use of cellulosic materials and biodegradable polymers, with simplified production. There will be broad opportunity for use of the solution in several food products nowadays packaged using MAP.


ADCELLPACK is a two-year project that started at the beginning of November 2012. The budget is 1.4 million euros, and the project is financed by the EU (FP7-SME-2012 Research for the benefit of specific groups).


The consortium is based on a group of four SMEs – Distribuciones Juan Luna, S.L.U. (Spain), Papelera de Brandia, S.A. (Spain), Elastopoli Oy (Finland), and Skymark Packaging International Limited (UK); one large enterprise – Centros Comerciales Carrefour (Spain); and two relevant research centres – VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and ITENE Packaging, Transport and Logistics Research Center (Spain), the latter as coordinator of this initiative. All have expertise in paper production, bioplastics processing, conversion of packaging materials, and cheese production.


The research has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA-Research Executive Agency under grant agreement number 315688. 



New Reports Show Increased Bottled Water Recycling and Smaller Environmental Footprint

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imageThe International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today announced that new data from the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR) and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) show the bottled water industry continuing to reduce its environmental footprint through significant increases in recycling and the use of less plastic in single-serve PET bottled water containers.


According to NAPCOR, now at almost 39 percent, the recycling rate for single-serve PET plastic bottled water containers has more than doubled in the last seven years.  And, BMC found that over the last 11 years the average weight of a 16.9 ounce (half-liter) single-serve  PET plastic bottled water container has dropped by almost 47.8 percent, to 9.9 grams.

According to a January 2013 internal NAPCOR study, the national recycling rate for PET plastic bottled water containers jumped dramatically in 2011 to 38.6 percent, representing an increase of nearly 20 percent over the previous year’s rate of 32.25 percent.  In its study, NAPCOR states that in 2011 (the most recent available data) there were approximately 1.3 billion pounds of PET plastic water bottle containers available for recycling in the United States, of which 500 million pounds was reclaimed for recycling.  And, PET plastic bottled water containers are the most frequently recycled PET beverage container in curbside recycling programs.


Additionally, data released by BMC on January 31, 2013 shows that between 2000 and 2011, the average weight of a 16.9-ounce (half-liter) PET plastic bottled water container has declined 47.8 percent. This has resulted in a savings of 3.3 billion pounds of PET resin since 2000.


The significant increase in the recycling rate of PET plastic bottled water containers, coupled with the continuing decrease in container weight, underscores the consistent drive of the bottled water industry to improve recycling programs and reduce its overall environmental footprint.


“The bottled water industry utilizes a variety of measures to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Chris Hogan, IBWA’s vice president of communications.  “All bottled water containers are 100 percent recyclable.  And, when you do the math, it turns out that of all the plastics produced in the U.S., PET plastic bottled water packaging makes up only 0.92 percent; less than one percent.  Moreover, plastic bottled water containers make up only one-third of one percent of the U.S. waste stream, according to the EPA.”

Cereplast Announces Algaeplast(TM), Inc

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Cereplast to Channel All Its Breakthrough Algae Activity in a New Subsidiary.


Cereplast, Inc. (OTCQB:CERP) (the "Company"), a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable bioplastics, today announced the incorporation of a new wholly owned subsidiary, Algaeplast™, Inc. Algaeplast' s focus will be the development and manufacture of algae-based bioplastics. Cereplast has been a pioneer in algae-based plastics, helping to bring the first products made from Cereplast Algae Bioplastics™ grades to market in 2011, and with the recent commercialization of Biopropylene® 109D in December of 2012.


Cereplast introduced the concept in late 2009, with a target of reaching a bioplastic made from 50% algae bio-content. Algaeplast's ultimate goal is to bring to market new polymers made from 100% algae content. Recently, the Company commercialized small quantities of Biopropylene 109D, a compound with 20% post-industrial algae biomatter. The research and development team is currently developing a grade with a higher percentage of algae bio-content. Based on customer interest, the Company has determined that the demand for bioplastics made from algae is significant, and therefore has created Algaeplast, which will focus on this new sector. Algaeplast has been created to develop a new monomer and polymers made from algae.


Mr. Frederic Scheer, Chairman and CEO of Cereplast, stated, "With recent developments made in the algae-to-oil process, the company believes it will reach its goal within less than 5 years, either solely or in partnership with other significant players in the field."

Recently, Cereplast announced that it uses a post-industrial process that significantly reduces the odor that is normally inherent to algae biomatter, eliminating customer concerns about working with the material. Additionally, the Company uses algae biomass byproducts from algae biofuels and nutritionals that do not rely on the commercialization of biofuel production. These advancements fostered the commercialization of the Cereplast Algae Bioplastics product line earlier than expected.


Mr. Scheer added, "We began developing algae-based bioplastics in 2008, have made several breakthroughs since, and are very close to reaching our original goal of 50% algae bio-content. We continue to receive a lot of interest in this material for a variety of applications and are committed to further developing this new category of plastic. We foresee significant revenue potential. The next frontier for Algaeplast is to generate new polymers that are made with 100% algae bio-content, and based on our current level of knowledge, we anticipate reaching that goal within the next five years. The first milestone will be to increase the level of algae bio-content from 20% post-industrial algae biomatter to 50%, and this next step is imminent. Achieving these goals will require additional research, development and partnerships, and we have a very clear understanding of what needs to be done to reach this goal. As such, we felt that it was important to segregate this activity from the development of our starch-based bioplastic grades, and create Algaeplast."