Big Bioplastic News

These are some of the bioplastic news that have been piling up in my draft box for the last several months. I am actually working on a bioplastic article for ICIS Chemical Business’ November 21 green chemicals issue so these are worth looking over especially as I am focusing more on the consumer side of the market.

Hopefully, several brand owners who have recently announced the use of bioplastic in their product packaging will take pity on me and talk to me soon (my deadline is looming!).

For a little macroeconomics background on bioplastic, BCC Research estimated the global biodegradable polymers market to reach 932m lbs this year and to further increase to 2.5bn lbs by 2016 at a compound annual growth rate of 22% for the 5-year period. The market reached 771m lbs in 2010. The packaging segment accounted for 70% of the  market in terms of total volume in 2010. This sector reportedly will reach 656m lbs this year and should increase to 1.7bn lbs in 2016.


Consumer news:

  • AT&T started using sugarcane-based PE for its branded accessory packaging mostly device cases and power accessories as of October 2.

  • Coca-Cola introduced PlantBottle packaging to Africa as it opens a new facility that will manufacture the company’s Valpre Spring Water manufacturing plant in Heidelberg, southeast of Johannesburg. Coca-Cola also rolled out its PlantBottle packaging in the UK starting September. Coca-Cola suggested on this NNFCC article that the company’s next generation renewable packaging could be released by 2014.

  • Nestle is using more bioplastic materials in its product portfolio. Nestle is currently involved in over 30 projects to introduce bioplastics in its product packaging portfolio worldwide. Third generation bioplastics made from non-food source is also in the pipeline but scale availability will be unlikely until at least 2015. In August, Nestle also launched bioplastic caps for its milk brands Ninho and Molico in Brazil.The bioplastic caps were developed in partnership with Tetra Pak and Braskem.
  • Danone’s Activia and Danonhinho Fermented milk brands hit the shelves in August and September, respectively, in containers using Braskem’s sugarcane-based polyethylene plastic.
  • Toyota Motor is now using bio-PET in the seat trim, floor carpets, and other interior surfaces of its redesigned Sai hybrid car in Japan. Toyota has also been using bio-PET in the trunk lining of its Lexus CT 200h, which was launched in January 2011.
  • Fuji Xerox has been developing biomass-based plastics to replace petroleum-based plastic parts in copy machines and printers. The biomass plastic consists of 30% or more polylactic acid (PLA) by weight. This plastic has obtained the “BiomassPla logo” of the Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPA) and is already being used in some of Fuji Xerox products.

Chemical News:

  • Henkel has collaborated with Tecnaro in the development of new renewable-based polyamide additives that upgrade the performance of bioplastics. The additives based on dimer fatty acids are said to be capable of reducing processing temperature and improving impact resistance and fiber-matrix adhesion of bioplastics formulation.
  • Dow Plastic Additives has introduced PARALOID BPM-520, a new impact modifier that improves the impact resistance of opaque, injection-molded polylactic acid (PLA) articles with minimal effect on heat distortion temperature and stiffness.PARALOIDTM BPM-520 is produced by Dow in Jurong, Singapore and is available for sale in Asia, Europe and South America.
  • Brazilian chemical company Braskem and European bioplastic compounder FKuR are collaborating on development and commercialization of tailor-made sugarcane-based polyethylene (PE) compounds in Europe.
  • Germany-based Rhein Chemie has launched new additives for biobased polyesters trademarked BioAdimide for durable applications. BioAdimide™ additives are specially suited to improve the hydrolysis resistance of bio-based polyester, specifically polylactide (PLA).
  • BASF has developed latex for carpet backing adhesives to be made with a minimum of 10% renewable materials.Trademarked STYROFAN ECO 4810, the latex reportedly achieves key product performance levels targeted by both residential and commercial carpet manufacturers.
  • Teijin has developed film and sheet versions of its BIOFRONT highly heat-resistant polylactic acid bioplastic, which is available as fiber and resin. BIOFRONT reportedly has a melting point of at least 210ºC, has good hydrolytic stability and achieves semi-crystallization in just 20-25% of the time required by conventional bioplastic, making it an excellent choice for molded plastic, clothing and interior materials.
  • Laurel Biocomposites has developed Bio-Res, a patent-pending filler/additive made from distillers grain for the plastic molding market. Bio-Res is available in a powder or pellet form and mixes easily with polyethylene, polypropylene, PLA and PHA. Laurel Biocomposites will begin manufacturing the material in November through a 1m lb/year pilot facility. The company plans to build a 48m lb/year facility in Laurel, Nebraska, by 2012.
  • Italian plastic converter Andolfi has partnered with Telles, the bioplastic joint venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) to launch a compostable bag product line based Mirel bioplastic.  The compostable bags will be for retail shops, supermarkets and for use inorganic waste collection.
  • Trellis Earth Products has filed two new patents for bioplastics technology with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The first patent covers improved method of bioplastics formulation and technology for the Company’s starch/hybrid blend, enabling the production of a food safe, waterproof, injection moldable and thermoformable blend at approximately 70% biomass. The second patent covers implementation of next generation technology blend for a bioplastic that uses byproducts such as wheat chaff and soybean hulls as feedstock.
  • EcoLogic‘s Eco-One additives for enhancing biodegradation of plastics are now being used by La Primera de Cuyo, a leading manufacturer of flexible packaging in Argentina, in a new line of polyethylene plastic bags. In accordance with ASTM D5511, EcoLogic said the plastic bags will undergo significant biodegradation in biologically active landfills.
  • Minerals Technologies has launched a new product line of engineered mineral additives designed for bioplastic-based consumer disposables such as packaging, food and beverage service ware, gift cards, signage, films and bags. EMforce® Bio improves the impact resistance and ductility of biopolymers. UltraTalc® 609 and MicroTuff® AGD 609 are nucleating agents for semi-crystalline biopolymers that increase stiffness and melt strength of bioplastics containing PLA and PHA.

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