Vol. 2 ISSN 1862-5258

Special editorial Focus:

Bottles, Labels, Caps | 10

02 | 2007

bioplastics magazine

Bioplastics vs. agricultural land | 36

Logos, Part 4 | 38


dear readers

Some 15 years ago, when the PET bottle really started to take off, the

arguments in its favour were obvious. Compared to glass, the plastic

bottles are lightweight, unbreakable and easy to carry because of their

neck-ring. PET also has certain environmental advantages too - the

lower weight reduces diesel consumption during transport, and PET

melts at a temperature significantly lower than glass, so using less

energy when bottles are initially produced and recycled.

And now one more point can be added to the list of arguments in favour

of plastic bottles. PLA, as an alternative plastic, is made from renewable

resources - mainly starch derived from corn, sugar cane, sugar beet

or even sweet potatoes. Not only is PLA made from products that can

be relatively easily grown and therefore readily renewable, but after its

initial use it can be recycled, composted under certain conditions, or

cleanly incinerated with energy recovery.

A number of beverage and dairy companies are evaluating the use of

this rather new material, or already use PLA for bottle applications.

The special editorial focus in this issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE is on

bottle applications, including the use of bio-sourced and biodegradable

labels and caps. We talked to five of the early pioneers that now use

PLA for their bottles, and asked them about their motivation, their

experiences and their future plans. All five still consider the decision

to go for PLA as the right one.

Those interested to learn more about PLA for bottles,

bioplastic labels and caps, or who wish to discuss

barrier issues, end of life options and many more

detailed aspects than are covered in this issue, are

cordially invited to the 1st PLA Bottle Conference

organised by bioplastics MAGAZINE. We are running the

two-day conference on the 12th and 13th of September in

Hamburg, Germany. Please visit our website for details.

Special editorial Focus:

Bottles, Labels, Caps | 10

02 | 2007

Vol. 2 ISSN 1862-5258

And in this, our fourth issue, you’ll also find more of the

latest bioplastics news, updates on materials, processing,

events and much more – and not only about bottles!

Michael Thielen


bioplastics MAGAZINE

Bioplastics vs. agricultural land | 36

Logos, Part 4 | 38

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2


June 02|2007

Editorial 03

News 05

Suppliers Guide 43

Events 45


Shrink sleeves 24

Non-wovens made from PLA 26

Mulch films made from PLA blends 28


What’s happening in the New World? 30

From Science & Research

Novel nanostructured polylactides 32

Protein-based plastics 34


Bioplastics vs. agricultural land 36

Logos Part 4: The Scandinavian „apples“ 38

Glossary 40


PLA hot topic at PETnology Forum 42


Five PLA bottle pioneers 10

Biodegradable caps 18


Blowing your own PLA bottles 20

Interview: PLA blow moulding 22


Publisher / Editorial

Dr. Michael Thielen

Samuel Brangenberg


Mark Speckenbach, Jörg Neufert

Head Office

Polymedia Publisher GmbH

Hackesstr. 99

41066 Mönchengladbach


phone: +49 (0)2161 664864

fax: +49 (0)2161 631045

Media Adviser

Elke Schulte, Katrin Stein

phone: +49(0)2359-2996-0

fax: +49(0)2359-2996-10


Tölkes Druck + Medien GmbH

Höffgeshofweg 12

47807 Krefeld


Print run: 5,000 copies

bioplastics magazine

ISSN 1862-5258

bioplastics magazine is published

4 times in 2007 and 6 times a year

from 2008.

This publication is sent to qualified

subscribers (149 Euro for 6 issues).

bioplastics MAGAZINE is read

in 80 countries.

Not to be reproduced in any form

without permission from the publisher

The fact that product names may not

be identified in our editorial as trade

marks is not an indication that such

names are not registered trade marks.

bioplastics MAGAZINE tries to use

British spelling. However, in articles

based on information from the USA,

American spelling may also be used.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2






pearl-lustre effect

Biopearls R.O.J. Jongboom Holding B.V. from

Zetten, The Netherlands is a company specialized

on tailormade bioplastics injection moulding compounds.

Remy Jongboom, Direktor of Biopearls

now introduced bioplastics bottles with a pearllustre

effect. The bottles are stretch blow moulded

from preforms made of a material that is based on


“In a cooperation with the Technical University

of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, we could test the

processing of a new formulation of Biopearlscompounds,“

says Remy. “We extruded some sort

of tapes and found out, that, when stretched, the

mechanical properties of the tapes were significantly


In cooperation with a company that makes preforms

and PET bottles Remy Jongboom manufactured

the first preforms and 0.5 Litre bottles with

the new Biopearls compound. These bottles had

such a good quality and beautiful appearance that

not long after the first customers asked Biopearls

B.V. for the supply of his new pearl-lustre effect

bottles. The material is a blend of PLA and other

bioplastics materials that is not as brittle as pure

PLA, so that the bottles feature a certain soft touch

effect. The majority of the mix is based on renewable

resources, as Remy puts it. “And not only is the

bottle made of this Biopearls compound, the cap is

injection moulded from a similar material with a

slightly different elasticity for a good seal.“

Ideal applications are the cosmetics and healthcare

sector, as Remy points out, especially for

those neat little bottles you find in hotel rooms.

Other customer requests target applications such

as paraffin oil (lamp oil).

Metabolix and

AMD announce brand

name Mirel TM

and publish an amazing Internet survey

Metabolix, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and Archer

Daniels Midland (ADM) headquartered in Decatour, Illinois, USA,

announced that they have named their Joint venture Telles TM , after

the Roman goddess of the Earth. Telles is now building its

first commercial scale plant for the production of PHA in Clinton,

Iowa, USA. This plant is expected to start up in 2008 and will

produce the corn-based polyhydroxyalkanoate at an annual rate

of about 50,000 tons.

The family of high performance natural plastics that are biobased,

sustainable and completely biodegradable, as the company

states, will be marketed and sold under the brand name

Mirel Natural Plastics.

Internet survey

In April of 2007 the US online market research firm InsightExpress

conducted a USA-wide online survey for Telles: Here are

some of the results in brief, detailed results and their interpretation

can be found at

1. 72% of respondents do not know that plastic is made out of

crude oil/petroleum.

2. On average, respondents estimated 38% of plastic material

is recycled (the reality is less than 6%, according to the EPA

(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)).

3. Nearly 40% (38.1%) of respondents said plastic will biodegrade

under ground, in home compost, in landfills, or in the

ocean (plastic will not biodegrade in any of these environments).

4. After learning that plastic is made from oil and never biodegrades,

half (50.1%) of respondents stated they would be

likely or very likely to pay 5-10% more for a natural, biodegradable

plastic. Only 24% were unlikely/very unlikely to pay

this much more.

“Everyone knows about the reliance on oil and the impact that

petroleum use has on climate change,“ said Jim Barber, President

and CEO of Metabolix. “Similarly, people see a lot of plastic

waste in the form of litter. But the fact that so many people are

unaware that plastic is made from oil and that it will persist in

the environment for thousands of years, shows the need for education

about the impact of plastic on the environment and the

various alternatives made from renewable resources.“

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

PLA bottle is used for

a Noble cause

Demonstrating its fresh thinking, Blue Lake Citrus

Products, LLC, Winter Haven, Florida, USA, has become

the first company to offer all-natural and organic juice beverages

in bottles made from NatureWorks TM PLA . Explains

Blue Lake president Wade J. Groetsch, the company selected

the bio-based resin from NatureWorks for the material’s

eco-friendly advantages. “We are always researching

new ways to reduce packaging waste and energy in the

production of packaging products such as our new bottle,”

he says.

Since last September, Blue Lake has offered its lines of

Noble All Natural and Noble Organics premium juices in a

clear, 32-oz PLA bottle molded by Consolidated Container

Corp. using an existing, custom mold. Dubbed the “E bottle”

by Blue Lake, the package provides a clarity comparable to

the company’s previous polyethylene terephthalate bottle,

as well as a sufficient oxygen barrier for the products’ 60-

day shelf life. Noble juices are cold-packed, so PLA’s lower

melt index is not an issue during filling. “However, we do

have to control the temperature of the transportation and

warehousing of bottles,” Groetsch relates.

Based on its 2006 sales, Blue Lake estimates that the

switch to PLA will save the fossil-fuel equivalent of burning

114,000 gal of gasoline and will save greenhouse-gas

emissions equivalent to driving a car more than 2.7 million

miles in the U.S.

This news was previously published in Packaging Digest,

Feb. 2007, © Reed Business Information

DuPont introduces

PLA modifier

FDA-compliant for food packaging

DuPont Packaging has announced expansion of

its DuPont Biomax ® Strong family of polymer additives

to include an FDA compliant grade for food

contact applications. Biomax Strong polymer additives

improve the performance of PLA packaging.

New Biomax Strong 120 is a polymer additive that

toughens PLA packaging materials while maintaining

compliance with food contact requirements in

the United States (FDA), and in Europe. A similar

additive was introduced in August 2006 for non-food

applications. Both grades of Biomax Strong provide

improved toughness performance with minimal reduction

in package clarity.

“Offering a food contact compliant grade of Biomax

Strong gives DuPont a way to help food marketers

take better advantage of an environmentally

preferred solution in packages such as clamshells

used in fresh produce sections,” said Shanna Moore,

global market manager for DuPont Packaging.

“We are firmly committed to developing sustainable

solutions, including solutions that improve the

performance of other sustainable offerings in the

market,” Moore said. “By improving the performance

of bio-based and biodegradable products, Biomax

Strong can help the packaging industry deliver

high performance at a competitive price.”

DuPont – one of the first companies to publicly

establish environmental goals 16 years ago – has

broadened its sustainability commitments beyond

internal footprint reduction to include market-driven

targets for both revenue and research and development

investment. The goals are tied directly to

business growth, specifically to the development of

safer and environmentally improved new products

for key global markets.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Plantic raised

£20 million of

new funds

Development project for barrier

resins for plastic bottle applications

Plantic Technologies Limited, from Altona,

Victoria, Australia, a producer of starchbased

packaging, is pleased to announce that

it has raised £20 million of new funds on May

23 on London’s Alternative Investment Market

(AIM). Plantic will trade under the symbol


“The new funds will enable us to expand

our range of unique biodegradable plastics.

Our vision is for consumers everywhere to use

Plantic-based products that play a significant

role in reducing the world’s waste problem,”

said Grant Dow, Managing Director and CEO

of Plantic.

Plantic’s proprietary technology is based on

the use of high amylose corn starch sourced

from renewable resources that are not genetically


Having developed the core formulations and

initial applications, Plantic aims further to

develop, commercialise and distribute Plantic

® by creating additional applications across

a variety of industry sectors. To that end, the

company has partnered with a number of

plastics and packaging companies jointly to

develop, commercialise and/or market a new

range of applications through its partners’

established manufacturing and distribution


Among others Plantic has a development

agreement with Visy Industries Pty Ltd in

Australia to develop barrier resins for rigid

injection stretch blow moulded containers

and bottles. The aim will be to use Plantic as

a barrier layer within multi-layer containers

(e.g. bottles and jars) for goods that require

protection from oxygen ingress or carbonation

loss, as in the case of carbonated beverages.

This would allow existing PET bottles

which require a barrier layer to be recycled

without the need first to recover the barrier

material which in itself is not recyclable.

“Bioplastics in Packaging“

Exhibition at Interpack 2008

Large group exhibition and stage programme announced

Bioplastics and biopackaging will be presented in a large group exhibition

at interpack 2008, to be held from 24-30 April 2008 at the Düsseldorf

Exhibition Centre. With a planned total exhibition area of 1,000 m 2 , the

exhibition space will be more than triple the size of the interpack 2005

„Innovationparc Bioplastics in Packaging“. The organising trade association

European Bioplastics is expecting more than 30 exhibiting companies

and 10,000 trade visitors to attend.

The event represents a global platform to showcase the progress of

the bioplastics industry. European Bioplastics is offering companies

from the entire value chain the opportunity to demonstrate their state of

the art technology development. This includes raw materials, products,

processes and machinery.

The attractiveness for exhibitors, trade visitors and media will be further

enhanced by an interesting supporting programme including podium

discussions and presentations. European Bioplastics will invite

politicians and industry and media representatives to discuss bioplastics

in the context of the sustainable development, climate change and

resource debate. Biobased and biodegradable plastics have shown a

boom-like development in compostable packaging and other applications

in recent years.

bioplastic study

A worldwide

comprehensive bioplastics study

More than 40 plastics by 30 manufacturers

Intensive material testing and data research

Comparative presentation of the technical

characteristics and processing properties of tested

biodegradable materials

Additional summary on the current international

market situation for thermoplastic bio polymers

In cooperation with the Institute for

Recycling - Wolfsburg, Germany

… is the new information and market platform for the

bioplastics industry

… provides an overview over current bioplastic news

and events

… offers comprehensive background information on

the benefits of bioplastics

… comprises an industry directory and market


More information at

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2


Potential of bioplastics – an Internet survey

The German Internet portal “plasticker – the home of plastics“ asks visitors on a monthly basis for their opinion

on different topical questions around plastics and the plastics industry. However this online poll is carried out in the

German language only.

In May 2007 the question was about the expected potential of bioplastics:

“How will demand for and production of bioplastics develop in the coming 10 years?”

A) They will substitute most of

today‘s commodity plastics


B) They will play a major role in

many application areas


C) They will remain niche



D) The hype, and with it the

materials, will disappear


0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

Here are the results:

The general attitude was one of cautious confidence. A

clear majority of those responding to the survey believe

that in the foreseeable future bioplastics “will play a major

role in many applications“. However only 6 percent believe

that bioplastics have the potential to replace today‘s mass

commodity plastics.

Another significant group, accounting for about 35 percent

of the replies, believes that bioplastics will not move

significantly from their current position as a niche product.

Those who think that bioplastics have no real future were

in a clear minority, at only 3 percent.

The online survey not only asked for the visitor‘s opinion,

but also wanted to know which sector of the industry they

were engaged in. Analysing the responses from this aspect

also produced some very interesting results.

In a nutshell* 74 percent of the raw materials sector

(which is made up of traders and distributors, manufacturers

and compounders, and plastics recyclers) expect a

significant increase in the share of the market taken by

bioplastics. 13 percent even went so far as to say that they

would ultimately hold a dominant position in the market.

This is probably because raw materials traders and manufacturers,

who are sitting at the beginning of the value

chain, have for longer been closely concerned with the

subject than, say, most converters. They have also been

forced to pay more attention to the subject of petroleum


Amongst the suppliers of machinery about 50 percent expect

bioplastics to play a major role and 50 percent think

they will remain a niche product. Almost nobody thought

that bioplastics would disappear, neither would they replace

most of today‘s commodities.

The biggest group, i.e the plastics processors and converters,

making up 37 percent of all participants, is the most

sceptical. The responses were: A:0% / B:43% / C:55% / D:2%.

This could be put down to the fact that most of them have

had no practical experience with bioplastics and have not

been so closely concerned with the subject. Nevertheless

only 2 percent of them said that they saw no long-term future

for bioplastics

As this online poll was only carried out in the German language,

bioplastics MAGAZINE plans to expand the survey and

ask all our readers and visitors to

from around the world to respond to the same questions in

the English language. From the beginning of June until the

end of August you can give us your opinion on this question


bioplastics MAGAZINE will publish the results of this global

survey in the next issue.

* all detailed results of the recent German poll can be reviewed at (in German and English language).

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Standard products can be found anywhere,

but only at K can you find real innovations

– unique in variety and quality. 3,000

exhibitors from 50 countries provide a professional

pool of innovation, from which

you can create tailor-made solutions for

your business. Be inspired – and turn your

ideas into good business propositions,

face-to-face with the best in the industry.


International Trade Fair

No. 1 for Plastics and

Rubber Worldwide

Düsseldorf, Germany

24 – 31 Oct. 2007









Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

Postfach 1010 06

40001 Düsseldorf


Tel. +49(0)211/45 60-01

Fax +49(0)211/45 60-6 68



PLA bottle


BIOTA Brands of America, Inc. /

Planet Friendly Products

Telluride, Colorado, USA

David M. Zutler, Founder and CEO

Belu Mineral Water, London, UK

Reed Paget, Co-founder

and Managing Director

Ihr Platz GmbH + Co. KG, Osnabrück, Germany

Bernd Merzenich, former Consultant

now: Managing Director of

german bioplastics GmbH & Co. KG

Plus One Water, Inc., Montreal, Canada

Michael Keeffe, CEO

Naturally Iowa, LLC, Clarinda, Iowa, USA

William Horner, President


significant number of companies have launched beverages

in PLA bottles in recent years. bioplastics

MAGAZINE spoke to the responsible people at five of

the early pioneers in this field about their motivation, their

experience and their future plans.


Being asked how they came to the idea of using PLA as a

bottle material, David Zutler of BIOTA said, that as early as

1996 he was already looking for a better material. In May

of 2002 he read an article in the local Telluride newspaper

how plastic bottles were helping to destroy the environment

of our planet. Just shortly after Cargill and Dow opened

their production plant for PLA in Blair, Nebraska, USA, he

and Planet Friendly TM Products, a bioplastics consultancy

firm also founded by him, contacted Cargill Dow (now NatureWorks

LLC) and with the support of Cargill Dow, Husky

and SIG Corpoplast they started the rollout of the World‘s

First PLA preforms, bottles, and labels with the intention of

“helping change the world as far as plastics is concerned,“

as David puts it.

A similar idea drove Bill Horner of Naturally Iowa, when

his company established the guidelines for creating a new

all natural or even all organic dairy company. In October of

2005 they saw a major shift in consumer demand for organic

products. “We decided to make a shift in our business plan

as well, and with regard to packaging we wanted to set ourselves

apart from all the others,“ says Bill, “and the only real

breakthrough in plastics packaging that we could see was

PLA“. Two years earlier they had contacted Cargill Dow, just

an hour and a half down the road, and enjoyed the benefit

of earlier experience gained with the help of BIOTA bottles.

Naturally Iowa uses Norland blow moulding equipment for

their in-house production of the bottles.

London (UK) based Belu Mineral Water is an environmental

initiative which contributes 100% of its net profits to clean

water projects. Working with the charity WaterAid, every bottle

of Belu water purchased in the UK provides someone in

India or Africa with clean water for one month. About five

years ago Belu contacted the Rocky Mountain Institute, an

environmental organisation in the USA. “I discussed with

them how to make a low impact bottle to create a more sus-

10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2


tainable product,“ says Reed Paget of Belu, “and they suggested

we use a sort of biopolymer“. As PLA was not ready

for commercial use in those days, Belu started the launch of

Belu Mineral Water with glass bottles. After the successful

launch of BIOTA, Belu finally introduced in May 2006 the Belu

PLA bottle, using preforms purchased from Planet Friendly

Products. The bottles are blown on SIG Corpoplast stretch

blow moulding machines and filled at Brecon Mineral Water

in a factory located near Llandeilo in South Wales.

To set up a socially responsible water company was the

idea with which Michael Keeffe of +1Water in Canada approached

co-founders Paul and David Smith a few years

ago. “We wanted to contribute 20% of our profits towards

water development organisations like WaterCan and Ryan‘s

Well Foundation in Canada and Operation Hunger in South

Africa,“ says Michael. These non profit organisations help

provide communities in need with access to safe, clean water.

“Unlike most people living in North America and Europe,

there are over one billion people in the world that do not

have access to safe drinking water,“ he adds. Within a few

months they found out about PLA and decided it would provide

the environmentally responsible component to round

out the socially responsible dimension of the product. With

the technical support of NatureWorks, Krones and Ben Benedict

at Iroquois Water +1Water was able to launch their PLA

+1 bio-bottle last January. +1 bottles natural spring water

from a family owned spring called “Bell Falls“ in Quebec.

Iroquois Water, use Krones equipment, to blow and fill the

bottles for +1Water.

Bernd Merzenich (today head of german bioplastics) has

acted as a consultant to different companies with regard

to the production and marketing of organic food for about

25 years. In recent years he has also been keen to use bioplastics

as a packaging material for organic produce. When

working for the German drugstore chain “Ihr Platz“, establishing

a new range of organic food products and natural

cosmetics, he came across the BIOTA bottles. He found

exciting the idea of using PLA as a packaging material for

a pilot project of wellness beverages with a strong appeal

to health and environment, which Ihr Platz was planning to

introduce. When Hycail (today with Tate&Lyle) could not con-

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 11


tinue their initial support Bernd started to cooperate with

NatureWorks, “from whom we received considerable support

towards sourcing and processing the material.“ The

Luxembourg based company Plastipak supplied the preforms,

made on Husky equipment, to the German mineral

water company Quellenhof who blow-moulded and filled the

bottles for Ihr Platz .

Planet friendly cap

Summing up the first part of our conversation, we can say

that all of the parties interviewed consider their decision regarding

the use of PLA as a material for their bottles as the

right one. David Zutler: “Absolutely the right decision. Petroleum

based plastics are one of the world‘s biggest problems.

Just look at some of the developing countries where

no recycling is in place for PET bottles and where they openly

burn their overloaded landfills.“ Bill Horner: “100 percent

the right decision. We are planning further products to be

packaged in PLA.“ Reed Paget: “Almost any analysis shows

that PLA is the most sustainable option.“ Michael Keeffe:

“At this point in time we are convinced it was the right decision.

We have outlets across three of the Canadian provinces

here, and we are about to expand to the west coast of Canada.“

And even though Ihr Platz recently discontinued selling

the Vitamore wellness drinks, Bernd Merzenich considers

the use of PLA as the right decision. Bernd: “It was good to

make a statement in favour of bioplastics and to be the first

on the German market. However, a drugstore chain is not

a food store and beverages in bottles with, at the moment,

limited barrier properties need a faster turnover.“

Labels and caps

How important are labels and caps from renewable resources

for the companies that sell PLA bottled products?

While the Vitamore and +1Water labels are made of paper

and therefore made from a renewable - and biodegradable

- source, BIOTA, Belu and Naturally Iowa are already using

PLA labels. +1Water is eventually planning to switch to PLA


When it comes to caps, it‘s the other way round. Ihr Platz

introduced the world‘s first compostable cap, made of

MaterBi which is partly sourced from renewable raw materials.

BIOTA is planning to roll out what David calls a planetfriendly

cap, made of 100% renewables and 100% compostable.

The resin composition is mainly based on PLA. This cap

will be available to other bottlers too, as David points out.

Reed says that “Belu will use a bioplastics cap as soon as

we can find one that will work with our product“. Naturally

Iowa is also interested in caps and “we‘ve been working with

a company in Japan who‘s developing a PLA-blend that will

work on closures,“ says Bill. He is confident of having one

next year. +1Water will move to biobased caps, as soon as

they are there,“ Michael points out.

12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

12 - 13 September 2007

1st PLA-Bottle-Conference

possibilities | limitations | prospects

powered by

PLA (Polylactide), a compostable plastic made from renewable

resources such as corn, is a highly topical subject right now,

especially in the light of increasing crude oil prices. The stretch blow

moulded PLA bottles used by Biota or Natural Iowa (USA), Belu (UK),

Vitamore (Germany) and +1water (Canada), as well as reports in

the trade press, have aroused significant interest from the PET and

beverage industry.

Would you like to find out more about the possibilities, limitations and

future prospects of PLA for bottle applications?

That‘s exactly why bioplastics MAGAZINE is organising the 1st PLA

Bottle Conference on the 12 th and 13 th of September 2007 in the Grand

Elysee Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. This 1½ day conference offers a

comprehensive overview of today‘s opportunities and challenges.

Experts from companies such as Purac, Uhde Inventa-Fischer,

Natureworks, Netstal, SIG Corpoplast, Wiedmer, Treofan, Sidaplax,

SIG Plasmax, Doehler, Polyone, Ihr Platz, Coca-Cola, Interseroh, and

more, will share their knowledge and …

…on the afternoon of Thursday September 13th delegates will visit SIG

Corpoplast, the manufacturer of the stretch blow moulding equipment

that is used to produce for example the Biota and the Belu bottles.

€ 850.00


Supported by

There will be sessions covering:

• Raw materials, from corn to PLA

• PLA preform manufacture

• Stretch blow moulding of PLA

• Caps, labels, shrink-sleeves made

from biodegradable plastics

• Barrier solutions for PLA bottles

• Temperature stability of PLA

• Additives, from processing

agents to colorants

• Reports „from the market“

• End of life options, recycling, energy

recovery, composting

More information and registration:


Planet Friendly TM bottle

The cost issue

“The higher price of PLA is acceptable to us and should be

acceptable to everyone because the planet is worth it,“ says

David Zutler. And he thinks that the majority of consumers

“who care“ think so too. Eventually, David is convinced, when

the economy of scale kicks in, the price of PLA will drop.

Reed Paget too believes that in the long run, the price of

PLA will come down while petrochemical plastics will become

more expensive. The environmental sustainability is

the starting point for Belu and Reed too thinks that some

consumers would accept a slightly higher price. “However,

we try to be cost effective as much as we can,“ he says.

“I really think the price is dominant and I would like to say

the environmental advantages would outweigh the price“,

says Bill Horner. On the other hand he considers that the

price of PLA today already is almost competitive with PET.

“The price for PET is going higher and higher, and although

we had a fight on the corn prices that was just temporary.

On a long term view the prices for starch are much more

stable“, he adds.

Michael Keeffe doesn‘t feel that the price is a super-critical

factor for the consumer. “As soon as it becomes clear

that it is an environmentally friendly bottle, that seals the

decision for most people,“ Michael explains. „We hope that

the increasing demand for sugar, for example for making

bio-ethanol, does not push the price of PLA up through the

roof, but as of now the price for us is workable“.

“We are talking about environmentally and health conscious

consumers who are willing to accept a premium price

for corresponding items,“ says Bernd Merzenich. “But you

really need a very clear communication strategy with these

products,“ he adds. “You need to be transparent and critical,

and clearly explain what is bio with these materials.“

Barrier properties and heat resistance

As how important do our interview partners consider enhanced

barrier properties and the heat resistance of PLA?

None of them is currently packaging products that need

a container with elevated temperature resistance. However,

all confirm that for certain applications such as hot-filled

juices etc. enhanced thermal properties will be needed.

When it comes to barrier, the picture looks different. Reed

Paget thinks that, as for other plastic materials, PLA also

needs an enhanced barrier. Michael Keeffe confirms this

thought, for their current product, flat water, improved barrier

properties will provide greater production and distribution

options. “For the long term viability of PLA for other

products, such as carbonated beverages or fruit juice, we

will also need a barrier against CO 2

and Oxygen“.

Bernd Merzenich: “PLA definitely needs to be improved

regarding its barrier properties and heat stability. For still

water the presently available level of material and technology

is OK, on the premise that the turnover at the point of

sale is sufficiently fast. But for more sophisticated uses in

the beverage and food industry we need material improvements

by developing new bioplastic compounds on the basis

of PLA, as well as by using additives, coatings or the like,

such as, for instance, the SIG Plasmax plasma coating process

or a bioplastic barrier resin for multilayer applications,

which has been announced by Plantic.“

Naturally Iowa, cold filling their products, are very satisfied

with the quality of the PLA they get from NatureWorks today.

Their milk is a short shelflife product and is sold through the

cold chain, so that up to now better barrier or temperature

properties have not been needed.

David Zutler however, is already active in this field. Together

with strategic partners Danimer, and the Australian

packaging and recycling group Visy, BIOTA is developing a

Planet Friendly bottle, that is made of PLA plus an additive

which enhances the elasticity properties, and will help provide

some additional properties as well. “Our goal is to have

such a bottle within the next six months, and in addition to

that, to have a bottle material with barrier properties even for

use with CSD (carbonated soft drinks) and resistant to water

vapour, heat, and O 2

ingress within a year,“ says David.

14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2


End-of-life options

There has to be a way for consumers, and recyclers to

easily tell the difference between biobased products and

petroleum based products. “All our bottles say Planet

Friendly. When the consumer, and recycler, see those

words, they know what they are,“ says David. “My number

one end-of-life option is what I would call reclaiming,“ he

adds. „Reuse or recycle to bottles or into other products

such as garden pots etc. And my second favourite is energy

recovery. PLA burns cleanly and can help augment the use

of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal, etc.) in power plants, helping

to generate greenhouse neutral energy and alleviate the

devastating problem of burning plastics in landfills.“

Reuse and recycle are also the preferred end-of-life options

for Reed Paget, making up the top four together with

composting/energy recovery, and with landfill as the last option.

Belu is currently working on life cycle assessments and

even home composting seems to be a viable option instead

of shipping the waste across town to a waste facility. “I did it

myself in my backyard,“ says Reed, “and if you know how to

do it, it works.“

“Our +1 bio-bottle is clearly stamped both with the number

seven recycling logo as well as the word ‚compostable‘ informing

consumers that they have disposal options, says

Michael Keeffe. +1Water is working (with a number of recyclers)

on a pilot project with a company called “Turtle Island

Recycling“ in Ontario focused on both bioplastics recycling

and composting. And when, after reuse or recycling, PLA

ends up in an incineration plant, because it‘s not petrochemical

based it is also more environmentally friendly as well.

Today, Naturally Iowa‘s percentage of the market is rather

small, so that the bottles end up in a landfill where they

degrade. But Bill Horner says that first attempts are being

made to set up industrial composting facilities.

Bernd Merzenich says: “To be pragmatic, just now I only

see incineration with energy recovery as meaningful. From

an LCA point of view I would favour thermal disposal, because

it generates CO 2

neutral energy. Last but not least,

looking at the present hype regarding biofuels, the aspect

of eco-friendly energy recovery from bioplastics should be

stressed: Bioplastics create a much higher added value

from agricultural raw materials than biofuels and can generate

a similar output of CO 2

neutral energy when incinerated

at their end of life.“ As soon as barrier properties and

heat resistance are improved, biodegradability as an option

will anyway become much less an issue, Bernd adds. “Personally

I don‘t believe in biodegradability unless it has practical

reasons,“ he says. “For instance when you pack fruit

and vegetables you can compost the waste together with the

packaging, or when bioplastic shopping bags are available

they can be used to collect and compost organic waste.“

Future prospects

BIOTA will remain a bottled water company, but Planet

Friendly is going to work with different manufacturers to

promote PLA and other bio-based packaging. “I would

rather help other manufacturers with the different additives

and different material properties that are being developed,“

David says.

Belu as well as +1Water have further projects on the drawing

board. However, “they are not too far down the road as of

yet“, Reed Paget points out.

“So far we just produce the 0.5 gallon milk bottles,“ says

Bill Horner, “but starting in June we are going to be bottling

milk in 10 and 12 oz. and possibly even 8 oz ‚grab-and-go‘

containers, and in the fall we start with a probiotic drinkable

yoghurt with an extended life that we are really excited

about,“ he proudly adds. All of the products will be packaged

in PLA, the single serve units with a PLA shrink sleeve.

Bernd Merzenich thinks that for many companies in Germany

it is a drawback to start using PLA as long as there is

only one supplier. First of all, if a company wants to introduce

PLA, they can‘t get the material, and secondly, no one

wants to rely on a single source. And David Zutler says that

governments should support companies that want to build

up production capacities.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 15


Final remarks

David Zutlers says: “The big beverage companies in the world will not

convert to PLA bottles unless they are required to do so.“ They may be

pushed to do so because of economic advantages, or by law. “And governments

should consider, when the barrier and heat deflection problems that

we are working on have been solved, making the use of PLA or other biobased

packaging a requirement.“

Reed Paget wants to stress that all the companies involved today are really

pioneers that have taken a significant financial risk and that deserve to

be acknowledged and thanked. “Waste in our modern lifestyle is a growing

and significant issue, as is energy consumption,“ he says, “and biopolymers

are offering a way to maintain a fairly modern lifestyle with the prospect of

not leaving a legacy of pollution which the planet cannot sustain.“

Michael Keeffe is very excited about the potential for PLA particularly

given growing consumer demands for more environmentally sustainable

and socially responsible products. Our PLA water bottle is both of these,

a healthier choice for the environment and a healthier choice for the consumer

while helping others get clean water too:

Bill Horner is very happy “that we made the decision early on and have

stuck with it through all the research and development rollercoaster that

we‘ve been through. But it‘s been worth it all.“ Not only is Bill very pleased

with what they have achieved so far, they are also willing to share the lessons

they have learned with other dairy companies around the world.

Bernd Merzenich, with a very focused view on the German beverage

packaging situation, thinks it essential that government accepts PLA as

an ecologically favourable packaging material so that PLA bottles are exempted

from the mandatory deposit fee laid down in the German Packaging

Ordinance. “If this can be achieved, it will really be a breakthrough for PLA

because we then enter into a new environmental quality. That will make

PLA attractive for a mass market,“ he says.

The very final words in this talk with major bioplastics users are from

our cover-girl Janina (11). She says: “In school we learned that crude oil

is a limited resource and that alternative energies such as wind or solar

power can save oil. I didn‘t know that plastics were made from oil and I like

the idea that plastics can be made from plants.“ And her little sister Lena

(6) adds: “Michael Thielen said, microorganisms that live in the compost

heap eat the bioplastics. But I can‘t even imagine what microorganisms

look like!“

16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Biodegradable Plastics

in Packaging Applications

Early bird offer – book before

July 13, 2007 and save 10%!

see reverse for more details

Thursday, September 13

Friday, September 14


Doubletree Hotel Chicago

O’Hare Airport – Rosemont

Chicago, IL, US

Commercially viable bioplastics for sustainable packaging applications

Two day IntertechPira conference plus half day pre-conference workshop

With presentations

from leading companies:


BIOTA/Planet Friendly Products

Blue Lake Citrus Products

Ciba Expert Services



Environmental Packaging


EPI Environmental Products

Excellent Packaging & Supply

Gilbreth Packaging

G.S. Polymer Consultants

Innovia Films

Kraft Foods Global


Michigan State University



NNZ – The Packaging Network

Naturally Iowa


Plantic Technologies

Whole Foods Market

Wild Oats Natural

Including presentations from:

Media Partner:


Don’t miss the

pre-conference workshop on

Wednesday, September 12,


New Markets

for Bioplastics


Biodegradable caps

Last year, in combination with the “Vitamore“

PLA bottle sold by the German drugstore chain

“Ihr Platz“, the Swiss company Wiedmer AG from

Näfels in the Canton of Glarus introduced the world‘s first

biodegradable closure for beverage bottles. Wiedmer AG

focuses on tooling and mould-making parts as well as the

production of injection moulded parts.

The BioCap ® is a 3.6 gram standard PCO-28 cap with

tamper-evident ring. The material is a compostable

Mater-Bi polymer from Novamont, Italy. The geometry of

the cap and the elastic Mater-Bi material allow the production

of a perfectly leak-proof bottle.

With oxygen permeability very much in mind Wiedmer

asked the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering

and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany, to carry out permeation

tests. All BioCaps exhibited an oxygen permeation

rate of 0.035-0.039 (cm3/d bar) - a comparable HDPE

cap showed 0.027 to 0.032 (cm3/d bar). The tests were

performed in line with DIN Standard 53380, part 3.

Initially Wiedmer manufactured the caps on a two-cavity

prototype mould. They were totally satisfied with the

results and the very good processability of the MaterBi

material. Detlef Wellner, Marketing and Sales Director

at Wiedmer would like to stress that Wiedmer is grateful

to Novamont of their support in finding the right MaterBi

recipe, the mould design (shrinkage behaviour) and the

processing parameters. Wiedmer have now built a 16-cavity

production mould, that is currently on test. Wiedmer

manufactures the BioCaps on a Netstal injection moulding

machine. “And the caps were not exclusively developed

for the Vitamore bottle“ says Detlef Wellner, “anyone looking

for a compostable closure for PLA bottles can have


Wiedmer AG puts great emphasis on protecting the environment.

One example of ongoing production process

improvements is the successful reduction of the amount

of waste thanks to the recycling of injection mouldings.

In the manufacture of plastic closures the use of a hot

runner system has reduced waste to practically zero. The

consequence is that the energy required for manufacturing,

and the emissions produced, have been considerably

reduced. In addition, all injection moulding production

takes place within a closed loop system, including heat

recovery. This heat is then re-used for heating the entire

company site. Environmental protection, which has been

actively integrated into the optimisation of Wiedmer‘s operating

procedures by their employees, offers potential for

further cost reductions.

18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Internationales Symposium

»Werkstoffe aus Nachwachsenden


Internationaler Kongress

zu Pflanzenöl-Kraftstoffen

Europäische Kooperationsbörse

Fachtagung Biogas


Blowing Your Own

Reprinted in part with permission of Water Conditioning

& Purification Magazine, © September

2006. Any reuse or republication, in part or whole,

must be with the written consent of the Publisher.

Publicom, Inc., Tucson, Arizona USA

Article contributed by

Bruce Kucera,

Vice President of Norland

International Inc.,

Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

PLA Bottles

For the time being, PLA as a raw material

for bottle applications is suitable rather for

niche markets and certain filling goods than

for the big CSD (carbonated soft drinks) etc. But

even for such niche markets, supplied by small to

medium-sized bottling companies on-site manufacturing

of PLA or PET bottles has advantages.

Why take a do-it-yourself approach? Because it


Manufacturing your own bottles on site can yield

a dramatic cost-per-bottle savings, primarily by

cutting out the shipping costs. Current petroleum

pricing negatively impacts transportation costs,

of course. In some cases, bottlers can save up to

50 percent on their bottles by making their own,

Actual savings varies business by business, based

on distance from suppliers, and other considerations.

On-site manufacturing also helps alleviate inventory

problems. When bottlers make their own,

they minimize the required warehouse space. Additionally,

they eliminate concerns about the timing

of vendor deliveries. Preform purchase and

shipping issues, of course, remain the same.

Blow molding machines specifically designed

for use by the small- to medium-sized bottling

companies are now available. No longer are the

bigger operations the only ones who can benefit

from making their own bottles.

20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2


PLA Bottle-making

The technology of PLA-preform making was described in bioplastics

MAGAZINE issue 02/2006. Here, we address the issues

involved in designing a blow molder capable of manufacturing

bottles from PLA preforms. We also look at the added benefits

to the bottlers who use PLA bottles in the business.

There is little difference between PLA and PET bottles in

terms of appearance and performance. In most cases, what

you can do with PET, you can do with PLA, including shape,

size, color and other design features. Customers will not know

the bottle is made of PLA unless you tell them. The difference

is found in material characteristics. Hence, the requirement

for PLA-specific blow molders, which must address special issues.

Traditional PET blow molders cannot handle PLA successfully.

The primary issue is one of material temperature, which

includes both preheating of the preforms before entering the

stretch-molding process, and subsequent cooling down of

blown bottles.

PLA preforms must be heated to approximately 75°C before

entering the stretch-molding process, as opposed to 100°C for

PET. At the higher temperature, PLA starts to shrink, so the

typical PET blow molder is problematic with PLA.

While PLA preforms heat up easily, the material is difficult

to cool down; bottle deformation results when they are not

adequately cooled before they exit the molds. Therefore, the

freshly blown bottles must be cooled down quickly before they

leave their molds. Consequently, special cooling techniques,

therefore, must be designed and built into each mold.

Additionally, precision process control over all heating lamps

and blowing sequences is a must. Fluctuation of a degree or

two either way leads to finished bottle quality issues. PLA‘s

temperature sensitivity also requires enhanced airflow to ensure

even heating in the heat tunnels. When multiple heat tunnels

are involved, it is critical to precisely compensate for potentially

different heat lamps and airflow so that bottles from

each tunnel are consistently heated for optimal performance

in the molds. This ensures a consistently high quality finished


Precision control over air pressure and flows are equally

critical. This technology helps move PLA material down from

the preform‘s neck area to the bottom to make sure desired

thickness is achieved in the bottle from bottom to top.

Marketing benefits

From a marketing perspective, there are several

key advantages for bottlers to convert to

PLA bottles.

The first is product differentiation. Let‘s face it.

In the case of bottled water for example, there‘s

not much difference between one bottle of water

and another. Brand name, methods of water

purification, and price are points of differentiation.

PLA becomes another point to help bottlers

distinguish their product from their competition,

particularly those still using PET bottles.

The bottled water market often targets a demographic

that prides itself in healthy lifestyles.

Typically, this also includes environmental concern

and a proclivity for "eco-friendly“ products.

PLA offers a tangible environmentally friendly argument

for its use. There‘s publicity to be gained

and media attention to be earned by announcing

a switch to PLA and by promoting product as using

eco-friendly materials.

Following are points about PLA that capture

attention of the market, and result in legitimate

environmental benefits:

1. The production process of NatureWorks PLA

uses 68 percent less fossil fuel resources than

traditional PET plastics. NatureWorks has found

that producing 1,000 bottles from PLA resin requires

33 percent less fossil fuel resources and

emits 42 percent less greenhouse gases than

making 1,000 bottles from PET. (LCA Consultants


2. PLA is the world‘s first greenhouse-gasneutral


Bottlers considering switching from PET preforms

to PLA must be aware that preform selection

and bottle design are critical to producing

high-quality bottles. Make sure your blowmolding

machine supplier approves your perform

supplier and bottle design for optimal performance.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 21


Frank Haesendonckx, Product Manager at SIG Corpoplast

answers a few questions about high speed stretch blowmoulding

of PLA-bottles.

bioplastics MAGAZINE (bM): Can PLA be blowmoulded on standard


Frank Haesendonckx: Even though the processing of PLA preforms

and bottles can be implemented on “standard“ machines,

several aspects have to be taken into account to produce bottles

which meet the economical and industrial requirements.

bM: For example?


PLA blow


The first PLA-bottle in the USA,

introduced by Biota from Ouray,

Colorado and the first one in Europe

from Belu, London, UK are stretch

blowmoulded on BLOMAX

machines from SIG Corpoplast,

Hamburg, Germany.

Frank Haesendonckx: For example the preform geometry: The

behaviour of PLA is different from PET when stretching on a stretch

blow moulding machine. It is therefore essential to adjust the preform

geometry accordingly. We offer our Bottles&Shapes TM - expertise

to help customers design the optimal preform.

bM: What else has to be considered?

Frank Haesendonckx: For optimal preheating in the infrared

oven, the absorption behaviour of PLA requires additional “Carbon-

Black“ additives which are also used in PET. The industry already

provides biodegradable additives for this purpose. The transparency

of the bottle is not or only inconspicuously influenced. Low heating

temperatures are sufficient for PLA preheating. The heating profile

in the oven must be adjusted to the preform geometry and the material


bM: And what about the actual blowing process?

Frank Haesendonckx: The preblow-pressure for PLA stretch

blowing corresponds to the pressure required for PET. The starting

point for pre-blowing as well as the stretching rate must be adjusted

for PLA.

bM: We often hear about limited mechanical and thermal properties

of PLA bottles?

Frank Haesendonckx: The mechanical properties of PLA, which

still do not meet those of PET, can be compensated for via skilful

bottle design. For example, the stackability can be improved by an

optimized bottle geometry. The thermal properties of PLA can still

not be compared to PET. The bottle shrinkage which already starts

at 45°C can partially be improved by deploying a so-called “relax“


bM: How do you see the future of PLA as a bottle material?

Frank Haesendonckx: PLA will be an increasingly interesting material

for stretch blow moulding due to the rising oil price in the

medium and long term. However, further improvements with regard

to raw material as well as thermal and mechanical properties are


The main areas of application are still waters, products with short

shelf life and products which are not hot filled.

Further applications are provided if the barrier properties can be

enhanced. A complete separation between material and product

is guaranteed via use of SIG’s PLASMAX inner coating technology

which enables packaging of sensitive beverages or food in PLA and

ensures product quality.

bM: Thank you very much

22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4


EcoWorks ®


St. Paul, MN 55110 USA

© Cortec Corporation 2006



Biodegradable EcoWorks

Replacement for Plastic and Polyethylene

Up to 70% Bio-based With

Annually Renewable Resources

From thick rigid plastic cards to fl exible protective wrap,

EcoWorks ® 70 by Cortec ® Research Chemists offers universal,

biodegradable replacement to traditional plastic

and polyethylene films. This patent pending breakthrough

meets ASTM D6400 and DIN V 54 900. EcoWorks ® 70

does not contain polyethylene or starch but relies heavily

on renewable, bio-based polyester from corn. 100%

biodegradable, it turns into water and carbon dioxide in

commercial composting.

ioPlastic.indd 1

8/2/06 8:44:40 AM


Sustainable Shrink -

Solutions for the Shrink

Sleeve Label Market

Article contributed by

Plastics Suppliers,

Inc., Columbus, OH, USA

Apple juice bottle

sleeved with 50µ EarthFirst PLA

TDO shrink sleeve film; printed

by Folienprint, Germany

Today’s label market is facing challenges as well as

great opportunities. With a push on being “green” as

well as offering sustainable options, wouldn’t it be nice

to have an alternative shrink sleeve label that is compostable,

made from an annually renewable resource and reduces your

environmental footprint? To achieve that goal, EarthFirst ® PLA

TDO shrink sleeve label film is the solution. EarthFirst films

are as good and often times better than petrochemical-based

films when it comes to an economical environmental solution.

EarthFirst is a biopolymer film made from PLA resin. Biopolymers

are not new to the plastics’ industry. When they

were first introduced, the cost to manufacture them was prohibitive.

In the last five years, the cost has come down, making

it a viable film to manufacture. One of the most common

biopolymers used today is NatureWorks ® Polymer, made from

# 2 field corn.

The biopolymer shrink film, EarthFirst PLA TDO, has been

on the market since October of 2005. Plastic Suppliers, Inc

is the first company to manufacture this sustainable shrink

film alternative changing the shrink sleeve label market. With

impressive mechanical and thermal properties, EarthFirst

shrink films are available as a viable replacement for most

petrochemical-based shrink sleeve films.

EarthFirst has many attributes that make it attractive to

the shrink sleeve label market. EarthFirst has a natural dyne

level of 38, is clear and rigid, and has direct food contact compliance.

It shrinks at a lower temperature than for instance

PET and is capable of shrinking up to 75 percent In addition,

EarthFirst shrink sleeve film can be stored up to 40° Celsius.

Therefore this film is extremely stable and can perform on all

types of shrink label tunnels regardless if steam or hot air is

used. All of these features and a great upside; it’s made from

corn, an annually renewable resource.

Plastic Suppliers, Inc. is committed to a strong environmental

leadership role in protecting our planet. The world is going

“green” and the trend toward biopolymers and environmentally

friendly films continues to expand. Nationally, Plastic

Suppliers and its’ European subsidiary Sidaplax play active

24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

oles as members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition

(SPC), European Bioplastics, Belgian Biopackaging

and UK compostable group. EarthFirst has been

certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute and

DinCertco stating it is a compostable film under the

ASTM 6400 and EN 13432 standards. Plastic Suppliers

is committed to understanding the impact of such

products upon the environment and will continue to

seek out opportunities to participate in environmental

research and associations to create an understanding

of how biopolymers may be used in the future. There

are many different biopolymers out in the marketplace

today that are produced by various manufacturing

means. The revolutionary EarthFirst TDO is the only

film targeting the shrink sleeve label market. It is paving

the way in this high profile industry.

Soda drink bottle sleeved by

PackStar, USA for Plastic Suppliers

Inc. with a 50µ EarthFirst PLA TDO

shrink sleeve film.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 25




Biodegradable non-wovens

made from PLA

DS Technical Nonwovens, a Belgian company based

in Flanders, offers Hortaflex ® , a biodegradable

non-woven with or without the inclusion of (grass)

seeds. The non-woven is used as agro, geo or horticultural

fibre fleece. It can be used as protection against erosion of

slopes, battering, and as landscape protection. DS Technical

is currently looking for customers interested in further

developing the possibilities of this new biomaterial.

Soil and root protection

The new product is a fully biodegradable non-woven made

of PLA fibres and is an answer to various EU regulations (e.g.

Kyoto, REACH, reduced use of herbicides, etc.). Originally it

was developed for the carpet and technical textiles industry.

The production process has been developed in-house.

The non-wovens can be offered with different properties:

mass per unit area (from 120g/m² up to 1.5 kg /m²), needlepunched

or not; structured and calendered. Also tenacity,

elongation or other mechanical properties can be varied.

Other options are the introduction of additives, lamination,

etc. The recently-developed biodegradable non-woven has

been used as a base for the new product, and the process

has been adapted to include (grass) seeds. First tests show

that the results when growing grass were better than when

using carpets with a cellulose base, which is a promising

sign for other applications. First ideas for possible applications

of this product are as a substitute for non-biodegradable

products such as the plastics materials that are used to

avoid weeds, etc. It offers a good alternative to the existing

mulch-mats - certainly where weight becomes important

(e.g. roof gardens). On the other hand other applications

also appear possible (e.g. the building sector). As a result

the company is looking for new applications for this nonwoven,

which it would be pleased to develop in collaboration

with customers.

26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Bio-plastics for


• Made from wheat, corn and

potatoe starch

• Compostable

• Biodegradable


Wiedmer AG · Am Linthli 2 · 8752 Näfels · Switzerland

Phone: ++41 (0)55 618 44 99 · Fax: ++41 (0)55 618 44 98 · ·

Incorporating the 2nd global

Bioplastics Awards

Recognising innovation in bioplastics

Don’t let your company miss out. Email for full details and entry pack.

Book before 20th July to

receive a Super Early Bird

Discount of €250 plus

a further €100 off!

Performance Through Innovation

With growing emphasis on sustainable manufacturing,

bioplastics certainly have a role to play in the future of

the plastics industry. But there are always questions.

What materials are available? How do they really

perform? What are the real environmental and

financial costs? What are the end-of-life options?

How can bioplastics fit into existing waste

management programmes?

5-6 December 2007 - Frankfurt, Germany

The Bioplastics conference is the place to find

out the answers to these and all other questions.

The programme is assembled by plastics industry

professionals for buyers, processors and users of

plastics, and will be launched in full later this year.

However, if you book your place now, you can

take advantage of a saving of €350.

The worlds longest running independant Bioplastics

conference - now in its 9th year

To register -

Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 4811 (International)

0845 056 5069 (UK Only)



Article contributed by

Patrick Zimmermann,

FkuR Kunststoff GmbH,

Willich, Germany


mulch films

made from

PLA blends

FKuR Kunststoff GmbH of Willich, in cooperation with

the Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, has developed and

brought to market the first compostable mulch film

based on a PLA blend. The PLA blends used are a mixture of

PLA (polylactide) and further biodegradable polymers plus additives.

Industrial production and application testing of the PLA

mulch films have been carried out by Oerlemans Plastics B.V.

of Genderen in the Netherlands. In comparison to other biodegradable

films this novel bio mulch film has the significant

advantage of degrading more slowly and being less sensitive to

climatic variations.

In 2004 FKuR had already initiated the first tests for biodegradable

mulch films. The degradation behaviour of the film

under “open-air conditions“ was assayed in laboratory tests.

Since 2005 the industrial application of the film has been carried

out together with Oerlemans Plastics. A crucial factor that

persuaded Oerlemans Plastics to go for the FKuR PLA mulch

film was, amongst others, the problem-free processing of the

film on conventional extruders, as used in the production of

LDPE films. In the run-up to industrial production the application

of the Bio-Flex ® mulch film was successfully tested on

various crops by several European research institutes and experimental


Since 2005 the compostable PLA mulch films have been

tested worldwide on a variety of crops in several climates.

The crop yield with this biofilm is comparable to conventional

mulch films made from PE. The PLA mulch films are laid out

using conventional laying machines without any difficulty. An

important advantage in comparison to other biofilms based on,

for example starch, lies in the considerably slower degradation

of the film and its resistance to climatic variations. A further

advantage of the application of bio mulch films for agriculture

is that the film can be easily ploughed in after harvesting, and

continues to degrade in the soil. The application of Bio-Flex

mulch films reduces the amount of work and the costs of disposal.

The granules and the film are fully compostable according to

EN 13432. Additionally they are certified in accordance with to

DIN Certco, OK Compost, NFU 52001 and Ecocert.

28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

zenith international publishing |

the innovation publishers for the food and drink industries worldwide

Save 25%

Order today

Global reach, regional focus, local knowledge

By ordering today, you will receive instant online access and save 25% when subscribing for 2 years

Ye, I would lie o ucie o Zeih Ieiol Pulihig ile.

Sucipio olie lo

1. Selec ucipio opio...

Magazine & website

1 year subscription 2 year subscription

Europe No.

Rest of

World No.

Europe No.

Rest of

World No.

beverage innovation & £110 £130 £165 £195

cooler innovation & £95 £110 £145 £165

the cooler directory (available from April 2007) £155 £165 £232 £247

dairy innovation & £120 £135 £180 £195

dairy innovation only £95 £110 £145 £165

bottledwaterworld & £95 £110 £145 £165

Asia Pacific Bottled Water & £70 £80 £105 £120

Grand total:

2 ye oe

Sve 25%

3. Peol deil...



Job title









2. Pyme opio...

1. Cheque.

2. e e f m N Wm B,

B S B, O Bx 1680, B, BA1 3TJ, S C 60 02 05, Sf / BC C NWB GB 2

S A N 23725338 BAN N GB08 NWB 6002 0523 7253 38

E A N 550/00/62180134 BAN N GB14 NWB 6072 0362 1801 34

S $ A N 140/00/62180142 BAN N GB36 NWB 6073 0162 1801 42

3. Cedi Cd Amx MC V

C Nm Ex D S C*

4. Delivey deil (f ff fm v)



Job title



* The last 3 digits on the reverse signature strip of your card (4 digits on Amex)



4. Ivoice me Ivoice my compy VAT Nm (f E)


I hereby authorise you to debit my Credit Card in £ sterling as above.

F fm m , Juli Pflum +44 (0) 1225 327852 m olie

• f v m m fm m v X097


How o ode you ucipio...

S :

O : +44(0)1225 327852

Fx : +44(0)1225 327891

Subscriptions Department, Zenith International Publishing Ltd,

7 Kingsmead Square, Bath, BA1 2AB, UK


What’s happening in the

Article contributed by Steven Mojo,

Executive Director of the

Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI),

New York, NY, USA

It is truly a new world in North America, as the

pace of organics diversion continues to increase.

Discussions around the issues of sustainability,

increasing use of renewable resources

and greenhouse gas reductions are coming to the


Retailer Concerns about Packaging

In late 2005, Wal-Mart announced its sustainability

drive focused on three aggressive goals:

1. “To Be Supplied 100% By Renewable Energy”:

2. ”To Create Zero Waste”:

3. ”To Sell Products That Sustain Our Resources

& Environment”:

As part of this effort, Wal-Mart has developed a

“scorecard” for packaging and is asking suppliers

to document the use of recyclable and compostable

packaging (via ASTM D6400) and to verify the

use of renewable feedstocks (using ASTM D6866).

This scorecard came on-line in March 2007 and

manufacturers will be feeding it data throughout

this year.

Wal-Mart’s efforts, like Sainsbury’s in the UK,

call attention to the growing array of new materials

available to packagers around the globe. At the

same time, packagers are starting to inquire about

BPI certification and the benefits of the BPI Compostable

Logo. Also, manufacturers are striving to

increase the percentage of renewably based materials,

in order to help reduce their environmental

footprint and earn credits from Wal-Mart.

The BPI and its members are immersed in the

issues of renewable resources, compostability and

biodegradability for almost a decade. As such, they

are in a position to help Wal-Mart and others understand

the importance of using ASTM Test Methods

and Specifications for verifying claims.

This project is a “work in progress”. It will continue

to evolve as technology and properties improve

and importantly will impact suppliers, consumers

and everyone in between.

30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

New World?

New Legislation in California

California continues to set the pace in the area of

compostables. Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger

signed labeling legislation which restricts the

use of the terms “biodegradable”, “compostable”

and “degradable” on plastic food containers to

only those products that meet ASTM D6400. This

legislation is similar to the one passed in 2004 for

labelling on plastic bags. Both of the new laws

are designed to address the abuse and misuse of

these terms and the resulting confusion.

New Ordinances in San Francisco

In 2006, San Francisco passed ordinance No

295-06 which bans the use of polystyrene food

service packaging and mandates the use of compostable

or recyclable alternatives, if their additional

costs are within 15% of non-compostable

or non-recyclable alternatives. This ordinance

is designed to help minimize the waste going to

landfills from these operations. Also, this ordinance

takes advantage of the City’s well developed

recycling and composting infrastructure for

businesses and households.

On March 27, 2007, San Francisco passed an

ordinance mandating the use of compostable

plastic bags or recyclable kraft paper bags by

large food chains and pharmacies. Given the city’s

widespread organic collection system, the compostable

bags can serve two purposes. First they

will bring home the groceries and then will have

a second life as a liner for residential “kitchen

catchers”. The new law takes effect by the end of

this year.

Food Scrap Diversion Programs Grow

More communities, especially in Eastern Canada

and on the West Coast are implementing food

scrap diversion efforts. Portland (Oregon) and

Seattle (Washington), join the ranks of San Francisco

and Oakland, (California) in implementing

commercial collection programs and in some

communities’ residential ones as well. In the

Canadian province of Ontario organics diversion

efforts are beginning to “skyrocket” according to

one BPI member.

These are driven by the dual goals of continuing

to increase the overall diversion rate from landfills

as well as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

from landfills. For example, in the US, landfills

are the single largest of anthropomorphic

methane releases into the atmosphere, according

to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Further

the same study shows that landfills are the

number 4 contributor of global warming gases. introduced

The BPI and BioCycle magazine from Emmaus

(Pennsylvania) are joint sponsors of a

new website dedicated to increasing the awareness

of composting in the US. The new site

“” was debuted in April 2007

at the BioCycle West Coast Conference in San Diego

(California). The site will provide consumers

information about food scrap collection programs

near them and will be available for all to use at

no charge. Composters can participate at no cost

and all entries will be verified by BioCycle. The BPI

and its members are proud to be the first sponsor

to support this effort and to help put composting

on the map.

The BPI and BEPS team up on

a meeting in October, 2007

The BEPS and BPI are jointly sponsoring a

conference from Oct. 17-19th in Vancouver,

Washington. This meeting will combine presentations

and discussions on biodegradable and

renewable materials from both academia and

industry. Presenters are being lined up from

North America, Europe and Asia. The conference

will be a “zero waste” event. It is being held at

the Hilton Hotel, which has been cited for sustainable

practices and it will have an active food

scrap diversion effort by the end of the summer.

Learn more about the conference at

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 31

From Science & Research

Novel Nanostructured



polymer (HBP)

Fig 1: Transmission electron photomicrograph of modified PLA

showing nanoscale dimension of crosslinked HBP i.e. < 100nm

(stained dark phase). Scale bar: 100 nm.

95 wt.% Modified PLA

+ 5 wt.% Talc

98 wt.% Modified PLA

+ 2 wt.% Organo-clay

Modified PLA

Unmodified PLA









Tensile Modulus


Elongation at

break (%)

0 20 40 60 80 100 120

Fig 2: Tensile properties of hyperbranched polymer modified PLA,

its organo-clay based nanocomposites and talc filled composites.

Renewable resource based bioplastics

are the next generation of materials,

which are expected to play a major

role in building of a sustainable bioeconomy.

Polylactide (PLA) is a renewable resource

based bioplastic. However, the inherent

brittleness (poor elongation at break and impact

strength) of PLA poses considerable scientific

challenges and limits its large-scale

commercial applications. Numerous approaches

such as plasticization, blending with

tough polymers and elastomers have been attempted

to overcome its brittleness however

with huge sacrifice of strength and modulus of

the polylactides.

At Michigan State University, recently new

polylactide based materials having unique

stiffness-toughness properties were invented

by the authors. The research was focused on

exploring the role of emerging hyperbranched

polymers in modifying the PLA base resin. Hyperbranched

polymers (HBP) are considered

as mutant offspring of dendrimers. The nanoscale

dimensions, unique physical and chemical

properties of HBP make them a unique

design tool for tailoring the material properties.

Hydroxyl functional aliphatic polyesters

are HBPs that consist of a polyalcohol core

from which branches extend, forming a coreshell

structure. These HBPs can have abundant

hydroxyl groups on their periphery leading

to their high surface functionalities .

This research is based on creating new nanoscale

hyperbranched organic particles in

a PLA matrix (Biomer ® L9000 from Biomer,

Germany) during industrially relevant melt

processing. In this approach, a commercially

32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

From Science & Research

Polylactide Bioplastics

for Multifarious Applications

Article contributed by Dr. Amar K. Mohanty,

associate professor and Rahul Bhardwaj,

PhD student, both at School of Packaging,

Michigan State University, East Lansing,


available hydroxyl functional hyperbranched

polymer (BOLTORN TM H2004 from Perstorp,

Sweden) was selectively in-situ crosslinked

with a polyanhydride (PA-18, LV from Chevron-

Phillips, USA) in the PLA matrix by reactive extrusion.

There was formation of a novel nanostructured

polylactide based two-phase system

(Figure 1), in which crosslinked HBP particles

were present in nano-domains (< 100 nm). The

modified PLA, having 90-92 weight-% of pure

PLA, exhibited an improvement in elongation at

break of about 800-1000% with minimal sacrifice

of tensile strength and modulus.

The findings showed that such a modified

PLA bioplastic material can act as an ideal matrix

for nano-clay or talc as well as natural fiber

reinforcements leading to the development

of many PLA based materials with attractive

properties. Figure 2 represents the tensile

properties of such a modified PLA, its organoclay

(Southern Clay Products, USA) reinforced

nanocomposites and talc (Luzenac, USA) filled

composites. The modified PLA surprisingly exhibited

20 and 25 fold improvement in elongation

at break on specific loadings of nanoclay

and talc particles. These findings also revealed

that the modified PLA can act as an additive for

the dispersion of nanoclay in polylactide based

nanocomposites. The potential impact of this

research on PLA can lead to the enhancement

of its stiffness-toughness balance, improved

melt strength, tailored melt viscosity and ease

of processing, which can be exploited in a variety

of products and processes. This research

is financially supported by the US National Science

Foundation- Division of Design, Manufacture,

and Industrial Innovation (NSF-DMII)



MAG_4c 16.05.2007 12:49 Uhr Seite 1



Tel +49 (0) 9 11. 86 06-0


Note the date!

Nuremberg, Germany

14 – 16.11.2007

47. European Trade Fair

for the Beverage Industry


Raw Materials – Technologies –

Logistics – Marketing

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 33

From Science & Research

Protein-Based Plastics and

The adoption of protein-based plastic by industry

has been slow for several reasons; principal among

them are costs of raw materials, limited thermalmechanical

strength, and solvent sensitivity. There are,

however, strong reasons for using protein-based plastics,

including the reduction of petrochemical dependence as

well as the reduction of greenhouse gases and other environmental

impacts, such as landfill usage. In addition,

the poor properties can be significantly enhanced with

appropriate additives and through careful processing

techniques. For these reasons there is a renewed push

for industry to seriously consider the adoption of proteinbased

polymers for many existing applications which use

petroleum-derived plastics.

Article contributed by

David Grewell, Dpt. of Agricultural

and Biosystems Engineering;

Michael Kessler, Dpt. of Materials Science

and Engineering;

William Graves, Dpt. of Horticulture; all from

Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA

Fig 2: Plant pots formulated from Zein (left)

and petrochemical plastic pot

Additives and Processing

Proteins in their native state can be resilient, strong,

and low density macromolecules, as evident by several

biological protein structures, such as bone and hair.

However, to utilize the proteins, their structure must fist

be partially broken down during processing and reformed

to a new structure. As such, the thermal-mechanical

and water absorption properties of protein-based plastics

depend heavily on several factors, such as the plasticizers

used (e.g., glycerol, ethylene glycerol, butanediol,

sorghum wax, ethanol and sorbitol), the addition of

cross-linking agents (e.g., zinc sulfate, acedic anhydride,

formaldehyde), and processing parameters (e.g., extrusion

pressure and temperature and initial moisture content).

Reduce Moisture Susceptibility

Work at Iowa State University (ISU) is under way to

characterize these protein derived polymers and evaluate

various treatments and formulations to enhance

their properties. For example, it is now understood that

the addition of selective salts, such as zinc stearate and

zinc sulfate, can reduce the water sensitivity of plastics

derived from soybean proteins. In addition, it has been

demonstrated that thermal treatments (ranging from 80

to 120 °C) can reduce the susceptibility of these plastics

to water. Soy plastics were also co-blended 50:50 with

polycaprolactone (PCL), a biodegradable polyester, in order

to reduce water absorption.

Figure 1 shows that the control sample, untreated

soy plastics, absorbs over 150% water by weight

within a few hours. It is also seen that by heat

treatment the water absorption decreased

significantly after 24 hrs. However, the largest

improvement was seen when the soy plastic was

blended with biodegradable PCL, where the water

absorption was less than 20% even after 24 hrs. of

exposure. It is believed that the relatively water insoluble

PCL formed a continuous phase within the

blend and shrouded the soy plastic from the water.

This allows the PCL to reduce water exposure of the

soy plastic thus reducing the overall water sensitivity.

While the addition of 2 parts of zinc stearate and zinc

sulfate did reduce the water absorption, the reduction is

limited compared to heat treatment and co-blending with


34 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

From Science & Research


Nano-Clays and Foamed Structures

Other mechanical, thermal, and physicochemical property

enhancement techniques being investigated at ISU

include the use of high powered ultrasonics to promote

exfoliation of nano-clays. These polymer-layered silicate

nanocomposites can have enhanced vapor barrier properties,

further reducing water absorption, while simultaneously

increasing tensile modulus and strength and

heat distortion temperature.

Fig 3: Natural fiber reinforcement


In order to overcome the issues related to costs of raw

materials, researchers at ISU are working with Trexel

Corp. (Woburn, Massachusetts) to characterize foamed

substrates. It is expected that these materials will reduce

the raw material requirements while maintaining

mechanical strength.

Potential Applications

Resulting data from this work were used to formulate

selected grades and processing conditions for application

studies. In two initial application examples, Creative

Composites (Brooklyn, Iowa), and Vermeer Manufacturing

Co. (Pella, Iowa) are supplying materials to evaluate

their use for selected products, including hay bale sealing

films and locomotive grease applicators.

Some studies have shown that water resistant films

formulated from Zein, a protein derived from corn, can be

formed as thin as 100 μm. The films are flexible and relatively

strong. Currently, processing and characterization

tests are being performed with these films.

Other applications include bio-degradable pots for

plants. The photograph (Fig. 2) shows a pot formulated

from Zein (left) next to a conventional petrochemical plastic

pot (right). Other formulations include the reinforcement

of the Zein polymer with natural fibers (Fig 3).

While this research is in its early stages, the preliminary

results are promising. It has already been shown

that the water sensitivity of soy protein plastics can be

decreased through simple blending or heat treatment.

Similar enhancement in mechanical properties and cost

with the incorporation of exfoliated clay platelets and

Zein-based proteins is expected. The authors would like

to gratefully acknowledge the Grow Iowa Value Funds for

supporting this work, as well as Zein Corporation, Trexel

Corporation, Creative Composites, and Vermeer Manufacturing


Moisture absorbition (%wt)





0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Fig 1: Moisture absorption

over time

Time (hrs)

Fig 4: Reinforcing rib structure



Zinc Steartate

80 °C

100 °C

120 °C

PCL Coblend

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 35


Bioplastics vs.

Agricultural Land

Calculations, estimates,

assumptions and conclusions

How much bioplastics do I get from agricultural land?

How much bioplastics can be obtained from 1 hectare of land? Differ

ent figures are available to answer this question. We look at just three

bioplastics as examples.


There is a lot of confusion about the

amounts of bioplastics that can be

obtained from a given quantity of

agricultural crops, and how much of these

agricultural crops can be harvested from

a given agricultural area. And last but not

least: Is there enough agricultural land

available to grow crops for bioplastics?

This article can be regarded as a first

attempt to shed some light onto this

confusion, although the considerations

are very much simplified in order

to arrive at an initial overview. As with

other articles in this „Basics“ section of

bioplastics MAGAZINE, experts in the aspects

discussed here are expressly invited

to share their knowledge. Please contact

the editor. We will assemble all of the information

received and present an update

in one of the following issues.


[1] FAQ at

[2] University of Nebraska (www.ianrpubs.


[3] Personal information, Erwin Vink,


[4] The Concept of Novamont‘s Biorefinery

integrated in the Territory, Catia Bastioli,

Novamont, Brussels, Nov. 2006

[5] National Corn Growers Association


[6] Fachagentur nachwachsende Rohstoffe,

brochure: „Bioplastics – Plants, Raw Materials,

Products“ (

[7] Personal information, Brian Igoe, Metabolix

[8] D. Bockey, UFOP, based on information

from the Bayerisches Staatsministerium für

Landwirtschaft und Forsten (in Bioenergie

- ein Markt der Zukunft, TTL Jena, A. Vetter,



The FAQ page at reports that on average, approximately

2.5 kg of corn (15% moisture) are required per kg of PLA. This

does not mean that the difference (1.5 kg corn) is all waste. A part of this

difference is simply water, a part of it ends up in other corn wet mill products

such as germ oil, corn gluten meal and corn gluten feed, and part

represents the yield losses in the different processes [1].

Depending on the geographical location and whether a field is irrigated

or not, the yield of corn per hectare differs significantly. Yields vary from

60 bushels/acre (3.7 tons/hectare) from Western Nebraska dryland [2]

through 148 bushels/acre (9.3 t/ha) as the average corn yield in the USA in

2004/2005 [3] and 12 t/ha in Europe [4], going right up to 332 bu/acre (20.7

t/ha) reported from the National Corn Yield Contest in the USA 2006 [5]

If we take the US average in 2004/2005 we can calculate an average

“yield“ of 3.72 tons of PLA that can be “harvested“ from one hectare of

land. Other sources report approximately 2 tons [6] or 2.5 tons [1] of PLA

per hectare.

è PLA: Approx. 2-3.7 tons / hectare


Metabolix report that currently corn is the major source for their PHA.

For 1 kg of PHA approximately 4.66 kg corn is needed [7].

Based on the information on corn yield above (average 9.3 t/ha), it is

clear that about 2 tons of PHA per hectare can be harvested.

è PHA: Approx. 2 tons / hectare


MaterBi by Novamont [4] is a bioplastics material based on starch derived

from corn and oils (derived in turn from oilseeds). Approximately 0.5

kg of corn and 1.4 kg of oilseeds, plus other components and additives,

are needed to produce 1 kg of one example formulation of MaterBi.

Given the corn yield of about 12 t/ha and a vegetable oil productivity of

1 t/ha [g] Novamont calculate a yield of approximately 2.5 tons of an average

of different MaterBi resins that can be harvested from one hectare.

è MaterBi: Approx. 2.5 tons / ha

36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2


Photo: Novamont

How much agricultural crop

land is available?

We will start with some basic figures. The total land

area of this planet is about 13 billion hectares. The usable

agricultural and silvicultural (forestry) area is about

5 billion hectares and agricultural crop land is given as

approximately 1.38 billion ha [8]. The remaining question

is: How much of this can be used for the production of

agricultural crops for bioplastics?

Here are some figures as a general indication:

It is known that in many countries of the world a certain

amount of agricultural crop land is not permitted to be

used for food production, because the overproduction of

food leads to an “imbalance in market prices“. In Europe

the Common Agricultural Policy therefore has required

the establishment of so called “set-aside zones“ where

food products must not be grown. This measure is aimed

at reducing the high level of agricultural subsidies in Europe.

European Bioplastics estimates the available area

for non-food production in the European Union (EU27) at

around 20 million hectares [9] Based on the figures above

this is enough for 40-50 million tons of bioplastics.

So even if bioenergy, bioethanol and biodiesel to

power our cars, and other chemical intermediate

products, require agricultural crops there should be

enough agricultural land available for the production

of bioplastics. And bioplastics can after their material

life be recovered by e.g. incineration, which gives

a “double dividend“ from the respective agricultural

resource. Both in ecological as well as in economical

terms, bioplastics should therefore be a very favourable

way of making use of agricultural commodities.

In addition to this, it should be mentioned that we

have discussed only primary agricultural crops here.

However, developments are under way to create bioplastics

from secondary biomaterial such as straw,

stems and leaves, and even from municipal waste


In this respect, it is interesting to consider the situation

in the U.S.: The full capacity of NatureWorks‘ PLA plant

of 140,000 tons per year needs only about 0.14% of the

total corn produced in the USA.

How much bioplastics

will be needed?

Latest figures say that the annual global production of

all plastics today is about 240 million tons. If estimates

that say about 10% of all plastics could be replaced by

bioplastics are correct, this would amount to 24 million

tons. For these 24 million tons, according to the figures

above, agricultural crop land of approximalety 10 million

hectares would be needed.

This is 0.7 percent of the global agricultural crop land

or 50 percent of the European set-aside zones - which

are not even being used for food production.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 37


A certain number of products made of bioplastics are

already available in the market. Almost all of them are

labelled with some kind of a logo that tells the consumer

about the special character of the plastics material

used. These logos and their background are introduced by

bioplastics MAGAZINE in this series. Here questions such as:

What is the origin and history of a logo? What does it mean?

Which rules are involved with it? will be adressed.

Logos Part 4:

The Scandinavian

Once in a while you find an “apple” logo on bioplastics

products. In fact there are two different “apple” logos,

one being used in Norway and the other in Finland.

The Finnish Solid Waste Association, FSWA (in Finnish

Jätelaitosyhdistys), represents Finnish regional and municipal

waste management companies. The member companies

take care of the waste management for about five million

citizens (94 % of the total population).

FSWA is an organisation that acts as a link between the

member companies, the Finnish authorities and the European

Union. It is a strong developer of waste management in

Finland and guarantees a sound basis for the member companies‘


About ten years ago FSWA member companies started to

collect biowaste, mainly organic kitchen waste, from households.

“We encourage people to compost their yard waste

at home in their own gardens or in special compost bins,“

says Markku Salo, Director of FSWA. Part of a large communication

and promotion campaign in which the Ministry

for Environment was also involved, was the creation of the

biowaste-bin for the

kitchen, lined with a


“Finnish apple logo“. The reason for creating the logo was

quite simple. When biodegradable waste bags became

available people saw the bags in biowaste bins and thought

they could dispose of their kitchen waste in plastic bags.

So in order to distinguish compostable biowaste bags from

“normal“ plastic bags, the apple-logo was printed on the

bio-bags. “In Finland, biowaste bags are more or less the

only compostable plastics products that are available,“ says

Markku Salo. All biowaste bags carrying the apple logo are

certified in line with EN 13432. In Finland today five suppliers

sell certified biowaste bags with the apple logo. The

logo is printed on each bag. The composting bag producers

get a “brand” and a regularly promoted logo for their products.

Consumers can be sure that the product meets the

requirements of the standard. The same logo is well known

from the waste organisation information material, biowaste

bins and collection vehicles.

In Norway, the situation is quite similar, as Henrik Lystad

of Avfall Norge explains.

The system for recommendation and labelling of compostable

waste bags is operated since 2002 by Avfall Norge

(Waste Management Norway, formerly NRF). Avfall Norge

is a branch and interest organisation for approximately 90

municipal and intermunicipal solid waste organisations and

about 50 private companies. The municipal members cover

approximately 95 percent of Norway’s inhabitants.

In Norway, source separation is introduced for over

60 % of the population. The municipality often buys the

waste bags for their inhabitants, i.e. the provision of the

bags being incluced in the refuse collection charge. Thus

the logo was not created as a marketing instrument, “but

to help the municipalities to distinguish the ‘good from the

less good’ waste bag products,” as Henrik Lystad puts it.

When the logo was created, Henrik worked with a soil research

institute where he prepared the “System for recommendation

and labelling of compostable waste bags”. In

38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2



his report he suggested an apple logo, based

on an already existing logo. The apple was

originally created as a logo for stickers etc

to put on source separation bins for biowaste

together with other logos for paper, glass, textiles,

residual waste etc. Later, in 2002 the apple

logo for compostable waste bags was created, using

the apple in conjunction with a frame all around,

the word “compostable” and a certification number

to be used with biowaste-bags, distinguishing

it from the waste bin sticker.

Like in Finland, the Norwegian

apple logo is only to be used in

conjunction with biowaste-bags.

It may be used when the respective

CEN or DIN standards for compostability

are fulfilled. To ensure the functionality

of the waste bags an additional criterion was

defined focusing on the durability of the bags.

The test method was adapted from the Belgian VGS;

”D9 programme: Bags made of bioplastics intended to collect biodegradable

houehold refuse” (AIB Vincotte 1999). According to this test

bags are filled with an artivicial biowaste mix and stored at up to 40° C

for one week and the bag is not allowed to brake apart.

Finnish apple logo

The compostable logo, which is available for use on paper bags too,

has, for whatever reason, not yet been adopted by the paper industry.

In fact in Norway today just one company offers bio-plastic waste bags

with this logo. In order to open up market competition when municipalites

call for tenders, Henrik Lystad says „Avfallnorge is now considering

opening the biowaste system to bag products that fulfil similar standards,

for example those with the Seedling* Logo.“

*: See Logos part 1 in bioplastics MAGZINE 01/2006

Norwegian apple logo

Basics Glossary


In bioplastics MAGAZINE again

and again the same expressions

appear that some of our readers

might (not yet) be familiar with.

This glossary shall help with

these terms and shall help avoid

repeated explanations such as

„PLA (Polylactide)“ in various



Polymeric branched starch molecule with very high

molecular weight (biopolymer, monomer is à Glucose).


Polymeric non-branched starch molecule with high

molecular weight (biopolymer, monomer is à Glucose).

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable Plastics are plastics that are completely

assimilated by the à microorganisms present a defined

environment as food for their energy. The carbon of the

plastic must completely be converted into CO 2

.during the

microbial process. For an official definition, please refer

to the standards e.g. ISO or in Europe: EN 14995 Plastics-

Evaluation of compostability - Test scheme and specifications.

[bM* 02/2006 p. 34f, bM 01/2007 p38].


Mixture of plastics, polymer alloy of at least two microscopically

dispersed and molecularly distributed base



Clear film on the basis of à cellulose.


Polymeric molecule with very high molecular weight

(biopolymer, monomer is à Glucose), industrial production

from wood or cotton, to manufacture paper, plastics

and fibres.


A soil conditioning material of decomposing organic

matter which provides nutrients and enhances soil structure.

Compostable Plastics

Readers who know better explanations or

who would like to suggest other explanations

to be added to the list, please contact the editor.

Explanantions we are currenty looking for

are for example “organic“ or “renewable“

[*: bM ... refers to more comprehensive article previously

published in bioplastics MAGAZINE)

Plastics that are biodegradable under “composting“

conditions: specified humidity, temperature, à microorganisms

and timefame. Several national and international

standards exist for clearer definitions, for example

EN 14995 Plastics - Evaluation of compostability - Test

scheme and specifications [bM 02/2006 p. 34f, bM 01/2007



A solid waste management technique that uses natural

process to convert organic materials to CO 2

, water and

humus through the action of à microorganisms.

40 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Basics Glossary


Plastic composed of different monomers.


Biochemical reactions controlled by à microorganisms

or enyzmes (e.g. the transformation of sugar into

lactic acid).


Translucent brittle solid substance, colorless or slightly

yellow, nearly tasteless and odorless, extracted from

the collagen inside animals‘ connective tissue.


Monosaccharide (or simple sugar). G. is the most important

carbohydrate (sugar) in biology. G. is formed by

photosyntheses or hydrolysis of many carbohydrates e.g.



In agriculture, “humus“ is often used simply to mean

mature à compost, or natural compost extracted from

a forest or other spontaneous source for use to amend



Property: “water-friendly“, soluble in water or other

polar solvents (e.g. used in conjunction with a plastic

which is not waterresistant and weatherproof or that absorbs

water such as Polyamide (PA)).


Property: “water-resistant“, not soluble in water (e.g. a

plastic which is waterresistant and weatherproof, or that

does not absorb any water such as Polethylene (PE) or

Polypropylene (PP)).


Living organisms of microscopic size, such as bacteria,

funghi or yeast.


Polycaprolactone, a synthetic (fossil based), biodegradable

bioplastic, e.g. used as a blend component.


Polyhydroxyalkanoates are linear polyesters produced

in nature by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids. The

most common type of PHA is à PHB.


Polyhydroxyl buteric acid (better poly-3-hydroxybutyrate),

is a polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a polymer belonging to the

polyesters class. PHB is produced by micro-organisms apparently

in response to conditions of physiological stress.

The polymer is primarily a product of carbon assimilation

(from glucose or starch) and is employed by micro-organisms

as a form of energy storage molecule to be metabolized

when other common energy sources are not available.

PHB has properties similar to those of PP, however it is

stiffer and more brittle.


Polylactide, a bioplastic made of polymerised lactic acid.


Sugar alcohol, obtained by reduction of glucose changing

the aldehyde group to an additional hydroxyl group. S. is

used as a plasticiser for bioplastics based on starch .


Natural polymer (carbohydrate) consisting of à amylose

and à amylopectin, gained from maize, potatoes, heat,

tapioca etc.


An attempt to provide the best outcomes for the human

and natural environments both now and into the indefinite

future. One of the most often cited definitions of sustainability

is the one created by the Brundtland Commission,

led by the former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem

Brundtland. The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable

development as development that „meets the needs of

the present without compromising the ability of future generations

to meet their own needs.“ Sustainability relates to

the continuity of economic, social, institutional and environmental

aspects of human society, as well as the non-human



Plastics which soften or melt when heated and solidify

when cooled (solid at room temperature).

Yard Waste

Grass clippings, leaves, trimmings, garden residue.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 41


PLA hot topic at

PETnology Forum

At the 10th PETnology Forum in Munich, Germany, technical

experts and senior managers from the beverage

and packaging industry, raw material and machinery

suppliers, as well as suppliers of peripheral equipment, caps,

colorants and consultants, shared their latest developments

and innovations with more than 280 delegates from 33 countries.

The number of delegates is a new record for PETnology

GmbH of Regensburg, Germany.

Recognising the trend towards sustainability and so towards

bioplastics, this year‘s PETnology Forum for the second time

dedicated a special session to the “Potential and Developments

for Renewable Plastics in Packaging“. This session was

chaired by Dr. Harald Kaeb, Chairman of European Bioplastics.

from left to right: Luc Vervynck, Bernd Merzenich,

Brian Glasbrenner, Dr. Harald Kaeb

Erwin Vink

in PLA Workshop

Harald Kaeb himself opened the session with a presentation

on “Market Introduction and Policy Measures in Europe“.

In his presentation “Additives to Improve Processing & Properties

of PLA“ Luc Vervynck of the ColorMatrix Group Inc. introduced

additives to minimise yellowing effects and processing

aids such as ColorMatrix Eze TM . The Joule TM reheat additives

improve the heat uptake of PLA in the oven of the stretch blow

moulding machine.

Bernd Merzenich, formerly a consultant for the German

drugstore chain “Ihr platz“, shared his positive experience

when introducing the “Vitamore“ wellness beverages in PLA

bottles with the world‘s first biodegradable cap.

NatureWorks‘ Global Director - Bottles, Brian Glasbrenner,

talked about „Responsible Packaging and Disposal - from

Resin to Recycling“. For him a critical mass is important when

trying to understand the economic sustainability of recycling

a new polymer. Therefore retailers, brand owners and other

stakeholders should be involved.

With regard to bioplastics the PETnology Forum was rounded

off by a workshop on the subject of “PLA“. Here Brian Glasbrenner

and Erwin Vink of NatureWorks LLC introduced a variety of

PLA applications - not only bottles. At the end of the workshop

they pointed out that NatureWorks is attempting to increase

the environmental benefits of PLA by using wind energy. NatureWorks

is one of the top 20 purchasers of renewable energy

certificates (RECs). The net result of purchasing RECs and using

a renewable feedstock leads to a reduction of 62-69 percent

in fossil fuel use for the manufacture of NatureWworks PLA

compared with traditional plastics.

42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Stay permanently listed in the Suppliers Guide with

your company logo and contact information.

For only 6,– EUR per mm, per issue you can be present

among top suppliers in the field of bioplastics.

Suppliers Guide

Simply contact: Tel.: +49-2359-2996-0 or

1. Raw Materials

1.1 bio based monomers

Du Pont de Nemours International S.A.

2, Chemin du Pavillon, PO Box 50

CH 1218 Le Grand Saconnex,

Geneva, Switzerland

Phone: + 41(0) 22 717 5176

Fax: + 41(0) 22 580 2360

1.2 compounds

R.O.J. Jongboom Holding B.V.


Damstraat 28

6671 AE Zetten

The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 488 451318

Mob: +31 646104345

BIOTEC Biologische

Naturverpackungen GmbH & Co. KG

Werner-Heisenberg-Straße 32

46446 Emmerich


Tel.: +49 2822 92510

Fax: +49 2822 51840

FKuR Kunststoff GmbH

Siemensring 79

D - 47 877 Willich

Tel.: +49 (0) 2154 9251-26

Tel.: +49 (0) 2154 9251-51

Transmare Compounding B.V.

Ringweg 7, 6045 JL

Roermond, The Netherlands

Phone: +31 (0)475 345 900

Fax: +31 (0)475 345 910

1.3 PLA

Uhde Inventa-Fischer GmbH

Holzhauser Str. 157 - 159

13509 Berlin


Tel.: +49 (0)30 43567 5

fax: +49 (0)30 43567 699

1.4 starch-based bioplastics

BIOTEC Biologische

Naturverpackungen GmbH & Co. KG

Werner-Heisenberg-Straße 32

46446 Emmerich


Tel.: +49 2822 92510

Fax: +49 2822 51840

1.5 PHA

1.6 masterbatches


Avenue Melville Wilson, 2

Zoning de la Fagne

5330 Assesse


Tel.: + 32 83 660 211

Sukano Products Ltd.

Chaltenbodenstrasse 23

CH-8834 Schindellegi

Phone +41 44 787 57 77

Fax +41 44 787 57 78

1.7 reinforcing fibres/fillers

made from RRM

2. Additives /

Secondary raw materials

Du Pont de Nemours International S.A.

2, Chemin du Pavillon, PO Box 50

CH 1218 Le Grand Saconnex,

Geneva, Switzerland

Phone: + 41(0) 22 717 5176

Fax: + 41(0) 22 580 2360

3. Semi finished products

3.1 films

Maag GmbH

Leckingser Straße 12

58640 Iserlohn


Tel.: + 49 2371 9779-30

Fax: + 49 2371 9779-97

Treofan Germany GmbH & Co. KG

Am Prime Parc 17

65479 Raunheim

Tel +49 6142 200-0

Fax +49 6142 200-3299

Sidaplax UK : +44 (1) 604 76 66 99

Sidaplax Belgium: +32 9 210 80 10

Plastic Suppliers: 1 866 378 4178

3.1.1 cellulose based films



Cumbria CA7 9BG


Contact: Andy Sweetman

Tel.: +44 16973 41549

Fax: +44 16973 41452

4. Bioplastics products

natura Verpackungs GmbH

Industriestr. 55 - 57

48432 Rheine

Tel.: +49 5975 303-57

Fax: +49 5975 303-42

Veriplast Holland BV

Stadhoudersmolenweg 70

NL - 7317 AW Apeldoorn

4.1 trays

5. Traders

5.1 wholesale

6. Machinery & Molds

Molds, Change Parts and Turnkey

Solutions for the PET/Bioplastic

Container Industry

284 Pinebush Road

Cambridge Ontario

Canada N1T 1Z6

Tel.: 001 519 624 9720

Fax: 001 519 624 9721



Meiendorfer Str. 203

22145 Hamburg, Germany

Tel. 0049-40-679-070

Fax 0049-40-679-07270

7 Ancillary equipment

8. Services

9. Research institutes / Universities

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 43


Subscribe now and get the

next six issues for € 149,–*

please fill in the form and fax to +49-2161-631045

or subscribe online at





First Name:



Department: R&D Marketing / PR Project Dept. Purchasing Sales





ZIP (Postal Code):






Kind of business or interest in the field „bioplastics“

University / Research / Science

Institution / Association

Raw material supplier

PR / Marketing / Advertising agent

Trade (Brand owner, Wholesale, Retail)


Politics / Administration

Converter (please specify, e.g. film blowing, injection molding, blow molding)

Other (please specify)

Why else would you be a „qualified“ reader?

Creditcard information Amex Visa Mastercard

I prefer to pay by money transfer

No. of Employees

Name on card:

Card number:

Expirations date:

Amount approved:


Verification code:






more than 1000

VAT-number (EU only, except Germany):

An order confirmation or will be mailed to you soon.

*offer valid until October 31, 2007

44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2



June 14-15, 2007

Biofolien für Bioverpackungen

Steigenberger Hotel, Osnabrück, Germany

June 26-27, 2007

Packaging Summit Europe

Hotel Okura, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

July 3-4, 2007

Biodegradable Plastics in Packaging Applications

Hilton Munich Park Hotel, Munich, Germany

July 9-11, 2007

The 8th International Conference of Eco-Materials

Brunel University, West London, London, UK

September 6-9, 2007

naro.tec 2007

Messe und Kongresse für Nachwachsende Rohstoffe

Messezentrum Erfurt, Germany

September 12-13, 2007

1st PLA-Bottle-Conference

organized by bioplastics MAGAZINE

Grand Elysee Hotel Hamburg, Germany

September 13-14, 2007

Biodegradable Plastics in Packaging Applications

Chicago, IL, USA

September 18-19, 2007

Biokunststoffe, Herstellung - Verarbeitung - Anwendung

University of Duisburg, Germany

September 25-26, 2007

Sustainable Packaging

Central London, UK

October 17-19, 2007

BioEnvironmental Polymer Society 14th Annual Meeting

International Symposium on Polymers and the Environment:

Emerging Technology and Science

Hilton Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver, Washington

Call for Papers:

October 24-31, 2007

K‘2007, International Trade Fair

No 1 for Plastic and Rubber Worldwide

Düsseldorf, Germany

meet bioplastics MAGAZINE in Hall 7, 07C09

November 21-22, 2007

2nd European Bioplastics 2007

Convention Centre Newport Bay Club

Disneyland Paris, France

November 27-28, 2007

PETnology Asia


December 5-6, 2007

Bioplastics 2007

including Bioplastics Awards 2007

Frankfurt/Main, Germany (for the awards contact

March 3-4, 2008

3rd International Seminar on Biodegradable Polymers

Valencia, Spain

June 18-19, 2008

7th Global WPC and Natural Fibre Composites

Congress and Exhibition

Kongress Palais, Stadthalle, Kassel, Germany

K‘2007 - show preview

One of the biggest events for the plastics

industry is certainly the K’2007 in Düsseldorf,

Germany from 24-31 October, 2007.

At the “number 1 for plastics and rubber worldwide”

more than 2,900 exhibitors will show their expertise and

products on an extended fairground of 265,000 square

metres. The last “K-Show” in 2004 attracted almost

231,000 visitors from all over the world.

For the next issue bioplastics MAGAZINE will prepare

a special K’2007 show preview. Therefore we ask all

suppliers of products or services exhibiting at K’2007

to send us your press releases, information about your

exhibits etc..

Come and see us at K’2007. bioplastics MAGAZINE would

be happy to welcome you in hall 7, booth 7C09.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 45

Companies in this issue

Company Editorial Advert

Arhcer Daniels Midland (ADM) 5

Avfall Norge (Waste Management Norway) 38

Belu Mineral Water 10

Bio Environmental Polymer Society (BEPS) 31

BioCycle Magazine 31

Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) 30

Biomer 32

Biopearls 5 37 7

Biota Brands of America 10

Blue Lake Citrus Products 6

Brau Beviale (Messe Nürnberg) 33

Brecon Mineral Water 11

Chevron Phillips 33

ColorMatrix 42

Consolidated Container Corporation 6

Cortec 23

Creative Composites 35

Danimer 14

DS Technical Nowovens 26

DuPont Packaging 6

Emap 7

European Bioplastics 7, 37, 42

Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (FNR) 36

Finnish Solid Waste Association (FSWA) 38

FkUR Kunststoff 28

Fraunhofer Institut UMSICHT 28

German Bioplastics 11

Grow Iowa Value Funds 35

Hallink 25

Husky 10

Ihr Platz 10, 18, 43

Intertech Pira 17

Iowa State University 34

Iroquois Water 11

K‘2007 (Messe Düsseldorf) 45 9

Krones 11

Luzenac 33

Company Editorial Advert

Metabolix 5, 36

Michigan State University 32

Naro.tect (Messe Erfurt) 19

National Science Foundation 33

Natura Packaging 47

Naturally Iowa 10

NatureWorks 6, 10, 21, 24,

36, 42

Netstal 18

Norland International 10, 20

Novamont (MaterBi) 11, 18, 36 48

Oerlemans Plastics 28

Perstorp 33

PETnology 42

Planet Friendly Priducts 10

Plantic Technologies 7, 14

Plasticker 8 23

Plastics Supplers 24 23

Plastipak 11

Plus One Water 10

Quellenhof 11

Sainsbury‘s 30

Sidaplax 24 23

SIG Corpoplast 10, 22 2

SIG Plasmax 14, 22

Souther Clay Products 33

Tate&Lyle 11

Telles 5

Trexel 35

Turtle Island Project 15

Vermeer Manufacturing 35

Visy Industries 7, 14

Wal-Mart 30

Wiedmer AG 18 17

Zenith Publishing 29

Next Issue

For the next issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE

(among others) the following subjects are scheduled:




Next issues:

Trays, films

What exactly happens in industrial


Logos Part 5

Review and preview of events like

exhibitions and conferences

e.g. K‘2007 preview

03/07 October 2007

04/07 December 2007

01/08 February 2008

01/08 April 2008

46 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

A real sign

of sustainable


There is such a thing as genuinely sustainable development.

Since 1989, Novamont researchers have been working

on an ambitious project that combines the chemical

industry, agriculture and the environment: “Living

Chemistry for Quality of Life”. Its objective has been to

create products that have a low environmental impact.

The innovative result of Novamont’s research is the new

bioplastic Mater-Bi ® .The Mater-Bi ® polymer comes from maize starch and

other vegetable starches; it is completely biodegradable and compostable.

Mater-Bi ® performs like plastic, but it saves energy, contributes to reducing

the greenhouse effect, and at the end of its life cycle, it closes the loop by

changing into fertile humus. Everyone’s dream has become a reality.

Living Chemistry for Quality of Life.

Mater-Bi ® : certified and recommended biodegradability and compostability.

More magazines by this user