Vol. 2 ISSN 1862-5258

Special editorial Focus:

Films, trays

03 | 2007

bioplastics magazine

Show preview | 13

Industrial Composting | 36

Logos, Part 5 | 38

Visit us:

K 2007,

Hall 5,

Stand B21

Don’t worry,

the raw material for Ecovio ®

is renewable.

Ecovio ® , a biodegradable plastic from the PlasticsPlus TM product line,

is keeping up with the times when it comes to plastic bags and food

packaging. Ecovio ® is made of corn starch, a renewable raw material,

and it has properties like HD-PE, which translates into a double plus

point for you. Films made of Ecovio ® are water-resistant, very strong

and degrade completely in composting facilities within just a few weeks.



dear readers

Bottles made from bioplastics, particularly PLA bottles for the

beverage and dairy industries, were the main editorial focus of our

last issue. And since this special field of application is such a dynamic

one, bioplastics MAGAZINE hosted the 1st PLA Bottle Conference in

Hamburg in mid September. I must admit, the interest and participation

at this conference exceeded our expectations. It was a great success,

and you can read our summary report in this issue.

One of the points frequently discussed about PLA is its limited market

availability. Different courses of action are being taken with the aim of

increasing production capacity. However, PLA is not the only bioplastic

material. Many people who briefly evaluate the bioplastics scene come

to a misleading conclusion: „bioplastics = PLA = not available, hence

bioplastics are not available“. And that is clearly wrong. There are a

number of different bioplastics available in sufficiently large quantities,

including starch based materials or starch blends, cellulose based

materials and more.

So knowing this, the editorial focus of this issue is firmly on films and

trays. We are grateful to Stuart Lendrum of Sainsbury‘s in the UK, who

gave us the benefit of his experience and Sainsbury‘s philosophy in

an interview. Sainsbury‘s announced last year that they were going to

replace the packaging material of 500 product lines with biodegradable


Another highlight that plastics people (and not only

bioplastics people) are looking forward to is the world‘s

biggest plastics show – the K‘2007 in Düsseldorf,

Germany from October 24 – 31. For those of our readers

who are going to the „K“ show we have put together a

preview, so that you can easily find your way through this

mega event, and see all the exhibitors that are active in

the field of bioplastics. And please don‘t forget to see the

booth of bioplastics MAGAZINE in Hall 7, booth number


Special editorial Focus:

Films, trays

03 | 2007

Vol. 2 ISSN 1862-5258

And of course in this issue, you’ll find much more of the

latest bioplastics news, updates on materials, applications,

politics, basics, opinions, events and much more.

Michael Thielen


K‘2007 preview | 13

Industrial Composting | 36

Logos, Part 5 | 38

bioplastics MAGAZINE

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


October 03|2007

Editorial 03

News 05

Suppliers Guide 42

Events 46


PHBV from Tianan-Biologic 24

Bio-Ethanol based Polyethylene 26


Trays made from sugarcane 28

New Closures for Beverage Bottles 29


Overview of the Current Biopolymers 31

Market Situation


PHA Bioplastics and how they’re made 34

Industrial Composting: An Introduction 36

Logos Part 5: GreenPla Logo (Japan) 38

Glossary 40



Careful use of terms like 39

“Biodegradable and compostable”

K’2007 preview 12


Interview with Stuart Lendrum, Sainsbury‘s 16

Compostable Films and Trays 18

Biodegradable foam trays for fresh food 22


Publisher / Editorial

Dr. Michael Thielen

Samuel Brangenberg

Dr. Thomas Isenburg, Contributing Editor


Mark Speckenbach, Jörg Neufert

Head Office

Polymedia Publisher GmbH

Hackesstr. 99

41066 Mönchengladbach, Germany

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, Germany

Print run: 8,000 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 more than 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 is grateful to real

supermarkets for the permission to shoot the

cover photo

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


Clearly much tougher

Sukano announces unique impact modifier for

transparent PLA applications

Highly transparent polylactide (PLA) packaging with significantly

enhanced impact resistance is now a reality, thanks to SUKANO®

PLA im S550. The special feature of this revolutionary impact modifier,

which has been optimised for use with FDA-approved food

contact biodegradable PLA, is that it does not impair the transparency

or the heat stability of the PLA. At a concentration of just

4% impact resistance is improved by a factor of 10, so preventing

cracks and splinters in PLA sheet and film during cutting or

stamping. In comparison with competitive products SUKANO®

PLA im S550, in addition to its compostability and excellent transparency,

is highly cost-effective. In comparison with other products

in the market this unique impact modifier is compostable and is

above all highly transparent. PLA processors can use the impact

modifier in combination with other Sukano PLA masterbatches,

such as the PLA dc S511 slip/antiblock concentrate or white and

black colour masterbatches, to produce a tailor-made blend with

no loss of performance.

Impect strength of PLA film

Impact strength of PLA film

China‘s Livan to

build plants in

Hungary for

20 million EUR

Chinese packaging firm Livan Biodegradable

Product Co. Ltd. will set up two plants

in Hungary at a combined cost of HUF 5 billion

(EUR 19.6 million) , the Hungarian Ministry

of Economic Affairs has said.

Livan will build plants in Alsózsolca and

Edelény (eastern Hungary) in scope of a

green-field investment. The deal is the first

Chinese investment of this kind in Hungary.

The plants, which will create 800 jobs,

are to be built by 2009. Initially, it is planned

to produce 50,000 metric tonnes a year of

environmentally friendly packaging material

and double that amount by a later date

when Livan adds new capacities to the facility.

The company will use corn to make

packaging boxes for the food industry.



Impact Strength ISO 6603/2 @ RT

PLA film 500 µm with

2% SUKANO ® PLA dc S511


Total Energy (J)






0% 4% 8%


PLA im S550

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


OnColor TM BIO Colorants and

OnCap TM BIO Additives based on

sustainable raw materials

PolyOne Corporation recently introduced its new OnColor BIO Colorants and OnCap BIO Additives

for use in biodegradable polymers such as polylactide (PLA), polyhydroxybutyrate- valerate

copolymer (PHBV), polybutylene succinate (PBS), polybutylene adipate- co-terephthalate (PBAT)

and starch blends.

„We developed these new colorants and additives in direct response to requests from our customers

around the world for products based on sustainable materials,“ said John Van Hulle, vice

president and general manager, North American Color for PolyOne color and additives products

and services. „OnColor BIO Colorants and OnCap BIO Additives enable our customers to manufacture

products with low environmental impact.“

OnColor BIO Colorants are available in a wide range of transparent and opaque colors. The

OnCap BIO Additives product line includes denesting, antistatic, slip, antiblock, UV protection,

blue tone and anti-fog additives. PolyOne also offers OnColor SmartbatchTM BIO masterbatches,

which combine OnColor BIO Colorants and OnCap BIO Additives into a single masterbatch.

In addition to offering several standard product grades, PolyOne can customize an OnColor BIO

Colorant or OnCap BIO Additive to meet a customer‘s specific processing need or end-use application.

PolyOne‘s OnColor BIO Colorants and OnColor BIO Additives meet several global industry

and composting standards, including EN 13432 (European Union), ASTM D6400 (U.S.A.), BPS

GREENPLA (Japan) and DIN CERTCO (Germany).

PLA based bioplastics from sugar

beet and sugarcane residues

Bio-On, an Italian start-up company is entering the bioplastics market with a process that

produces polylactide based bioplastics (PLA) from sugar beet and sugarcane residues with a

claimed efficiency of 95%: Waste streams become valuable resources that can be converted almost

in their entirety in a useful product. Sugar beet pulp, one of the prime feedstocks, is usually

used as low value animal feed or disposed of at additional cost. Likewise, bagasse and mollases

from sugarcane have a relatively low value and are abundantly available.

PLA based bioplastics are currently produced almost exclusively from corn and grain starch.

But given that prices for these feedstock keep rising because of their use in the production of

ethanol, the utilization of new raw materials becomes an attractive proposal. The production

of sugar crops, on the contrary, is outstripping demand. Both Brazil and India delivered record

crops, and sugar prices have declined in the EU.

The production process would reduce energy costs and as it is based on a multi-feedstock

strategy, costs for raw materials would be substantially lower than those for traditional PLA production.

A first range of products to be developed by Bio-On are a range of biodegradable plastics

with natural flame retardants to be used for automotive applications:

The planned location of the production plant is quite significant: ‚Plastic Valley‘ in Bologna,

the region with a long tradition of developing innovative plastics, with some leading research

organisations working on bioproducts. There, Bio-On is creating relations with universities and

scientists, and aims to have a production facility ready by 2009. Output would be 10,000 tons.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


First Commercial Launch of

Amcor NaturePlus heat-seal

Materbi film for Fresh Produce

Major UK retailer Sainsburys and its potato packer Greenvale are the first to commercially

launch Amcor NaturePlus’ heat-seal Materbi VFFS film within the fresh produce

sector on their JS SO Organic Baby Salad Potatoes, 750g. This launch is part of the environmental

plan set out by Sainsbury’s in September 2006, where it vowed to change traditional

packaging across its SO organic food lines to use more environmentally friendly

compostable packaging.

The Amcor NaturePlus heat-seal Materbi VFFS film is manufactured from renewable

materials and is fully compostable. The 40 micron co-extruded material is produced at

Amcor’s extrusion site in Ilkeston in the UK and is then printed and converted at AF Ledbury

– the centre of excellence for Fresh Produce packaging. This novel new extrusion

offers a differential heatseal film suitable for VFFS packing of fresh produce. Conventional

grades of MaterBi require impulse seals so are not suitable for the majority of VFFS vegetable

pacing lines currently used by UK retail packers.

This compliments the growing range of environmental films supplied by Amcor Flexibles

under the Amcor NaturePlus umbrella and enhances Amcor’s position as a leading supplier

in this growing market.

No mandatory deposit for

bottles made from bioplastics

German Cabinet Decision to Modify

Packaging Ordinance

The European Bioplastics industry association appreciates the German Cabinet Decision

of Sept. 19, 2007. Within the framework of the 5th amendment to the German

Packaging Ordinance beverage bottles made of a minimum of 75% of bioplastics shall

be exempted from the mandatory deposit. Another prerequisite is the participation of the

packaging producers in an appropriate waste disposal system. The association values

this as a clear commitment by the German Government towards the support of innovation

leading to a sustainable development.

By this exemption, which is limited until 2010, the necessary and cost-intensive buildup

of a sorting- and recycling-system for bioplastic bottles, normally obligatory within

the mandatory deposit, can be delayed until a later date. Until that time the collection

and recycling can be done via the so-called “dual systems”, such as the yellow sacks or

yellow bins.

“It absolutely makes sense to invest in the development of technology and marketing of

bioplastic bottles first, and then later to create the best end of life solution”; says Harald

Kaeb, chairman of European Bioplastics.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

Hall 7.1

Stand A20/A22


New Zealand‘s first ever


“Try Me, NZ’s first ever Bio-Bottle” reads the swing tag hanging

from New Zealand’s first bottled water product made from PLA.

After two years of product research and development, ‘good’ was

launched in September by The Good Water Company. CEO Grant

Hall claims ‘good’ is the world’s most sustainable bottled water

package. The Good Water Company will donate 10 cents for every

bottle sold to support The Sir Peter Blake Trust. Sir Peter Blake’s

famous quote “good water, good life” is being used to market this

initiative to reinforce how significant water is in sustaining quality

of life and how we must commit to protecting the environment.

While these bio-bottles cost more to produce, The Good Water

Company doesn’t want to penalise the consumer at the retail end

for making the right purchasing decision, so ‘good’ will also be

competitively priced in relation to non-sustainable plastic rivals.

After ‘Biota’ in the US and the UK-based ‘Belu’, Hall says ‘good’

uses that same technology and goes one step further by using a

compostable wood pulp label complete with a water-based adhesive.

The actual water itself is certified bio-gro organic and comes

from a unique silica rich source at the Kauri Springs in Kaiwaka,

Northland. The projects biggest challenge has been formulating an

end of life plan for the bottles once consumers have used them. Approximately,

14,000 tonnes of plastic bottles go to landfill each year

and the rest go to China. The Good Water Company wants to lead

the way on the sustainable recycling of bottles in New Zealand and

is a foundation partner in Greenplastics Incorporated, the countries

first ever product stewardship organisation set up to manage end

of life options for bio-polymers. The challenge is that the end of life

program for bio-bottles can only work if enough of them are collected,

which means the plan needs the support of retail customers

in enough volume to make it viable. “It’s up to the public,” says

Hall whose sales promotion for good offers purchasers the chance

to win a trip to Antarctica. “If enough people support this project

then we will be able to recycle the bottle here in New Zealand and

that would be a first for any bottled water product in the country.”

A natural container

for natural products

Silita, Spanish packaging manufacturer, is working

together with a major producer and bottler of

edible olive oil to test the behaviour of their product

when packed in PLA bottles.

The company, which specialises in manufacturing

PET containers, has produced its first bottles with

this new material and is conducting storage trials

with different products, including oils, water, juices

and dairy products.

The NatureWorks PLA material was supplied by

Safiplast S.L. , who also helped to co-ordinate the

project. Safiplast S.L., (Barcelona, Spain) has been

supplying machinery and services to produce bottles

and drums using a range of technologies and

materials for over 40 years. This project shows its

interest in implementing projects for bottles made

with the new bioplastic materials.

10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

Event Review

1 st PLA Bottle Conference

The 1 st PLA Bottle Conference hosted by bioplastics

MAGAZINE (September 12-13, Hamburg, Germany)

attracted over 100 experts from more than 25 countries.

Delegates from the beverage industry as well as

bioplastics experts came from all over Europe, North

America and countries as far away as Hawaii, Australia,

South Africa and even Bhutan in the Himalayas.

In the first session speakers from Uhde Inventa

Fischer and NatureWorks introduced the basics of

PLA. How is starch (e.g. from corn) converted into lactic

acid and then into PLA? What properties of PLA lead

to which applications, including stretch blow moulded


Husky and SIG Corpoplast, being the machine suppliers

for the first commercially available PLA preforms

and bottles, covered the issues surrounding the

particular processing characteristics of PLA.

Caps and labels made from bioplastics were the

subject of the next session with contributions from

Novamont, Netstal and Wiedmer.

The presentations about possibilities and challenges

were rounded off by a presentation by Bernd Merzenich

about the successful market launch of the German

„Vitamore“ bottle. Bill Horner of Naturally Iowa commented

on his experience with PLA milk bottles in a

series of video clips.

Distilling all of the experiences discussed, it can be

stated, that until now the most significant limitations

to the use of PLA as a bottle material are its low heat

resistance and the poor barrier against water vapour

and gases such as oxygen and carbon dioxide.

However, „until now“ is an important phrase, which

Mike Gamble of Coca-Cola also stressed in his presentation

on „a brand owners perspective“. „A few year

ago we might have been sitting here together and discussing

the same questions about PET,“ he said.

And, as the third subtitle of the conference was

„prospects“, a presentation from Purac showed the

possibilities to enhance the heat resistance of PLA

by applying a stereocomplexation of PLA with PDLA.

The presentation by SIG Pasmax on the other hand focussed

on the prospects of improving the barrier properties

of PLA by applying a thin glass-like (SiOx) layer

on the inside of the bottle. This method exhibited barrier

improvement factors (BIF) of about 90 for oxygen

and of 4.5 for water vapour.

The presentations were rounded off with talks by

Polyone and Colormatrix about processing and colour

additives. Erwin Vink of NatureWorks addressed the

important issue of life cycle analyses and the possibilities

to further reduce the environmental footprint

of PLA.

The conference ended with a panel discussion about

possible „end of life options“. A clear conclusion to

the question for the best option could of course not

be found at this stage. However, the opinion that composting

is not the best option was widely agreed. And

as long as the (at present) limited amounts of PLA do

not reach a critical mass for sorting and recycling, incineration

with energy recovery seems to be a good

solution. The technologies for sorting (e.g. via NIR =

Near Infrared) and recycling, mechanical as well as

chemical, are available. It is only a question of reaching

the critical mass.

After the conference the delegates were invited

to visit the SIG Corpoplast and SIG Plasmax plant in

Hamburg. Here the companies demonstrated the

stretch blow moulding of PLA on a laboratory machine

as well as the plasma coating of bottles.

As the conference was considered by many – delegates

as well as speakers, and by the organisers – as

a great success, the second PLA Bottle Conference is

definitely planned for 2008. However, date and place

are still to be chosen.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 11




Oct. 24-31, 2007 Düsseldorf, Germany

Foams from the fields

Biodegradable plastics and plastics based on renewable

raw materials are a constant part of BASF’s research

and development activities. After the market introduction

of Ecovio ® LBX 8145 at the beginning of 2006, the first lab

samples of the new Ecovio ® L Foam will be available in

October 2007. The material is designed for foamed food

trays and fast-food boxes. Like its predecessor the new

Ecovio ® L Foam consists of Ecoflex ® , BASF’s biodegradable

polyester, and the renewable raw material polylactide


BASF (Hall 5 - Booth B21)

Biopolymers and

natural fibrereinforced


M-Base is a leading supplier of material information

systems and thus of course also engaged in the relatively

new group of biopolymers and natural fibre materials.

Unfortunately, only very little qualified information about

these materials is available. M-Base is involved in a series

of projects in this field which are to be presented at


•, is an information portal about

natural fibre reinforced plastics including a database

for polymers and fibres.

• NF-Guidelines is a research project for the development

of design catalogues and style guides for natural

fibre reinforced plastics.

• A campaign to industrially establish polypropylene-natural

fibre injection moulding (PP-NF) and wood-plasticcomposites


• A biopolymer database (first public presentation at the


These projects are carried out in cooperation with a network

of institutions such as Nova Institut Hürth, Faserinstitut

Bremen, TU Clausthal, Fachhochschule Hannover.

M-Base‘s goal is to create structures for the new materials

so that information will be available equal to conventional


M-Base (Hall 5 - Booth F04)

At K‘2007, the world’s No. 1 plastics and rubber fair, to be

staged from 24 to 31 October 2007 in Düsseldorf, Germany, more

than 3,000 companies will showcase their latest developments

for all industry segments. Among them quite a few companies

that are busy in the field of bioplastics. In this K-show prview

bioplastics MAGAZINE gives an overview of what visitors can

expect in terms of bioplastics.

All-natural colour and

additive masterbatches

provide earth-friendly

option for biopolymers

A new family of all-natural colorants and additives from

Clariant Masterbatches complements the environmentally

friendly biopolymers that are becoming popular in “green”

packaging and consumer goods applications. Based on

natural materials such as flowers, the new RENOL ® -natur

colour masterbatches and CESA ® -natur additive masterbatches

are biodegradable and renewable, making them

ideal for marketers who emphasize conservation and sustainability.

Additional details on the new products can be

expected to be announced at K2007 in October.

Clariant Masterbatches Division (Hall 8A - Booth J11)

Masterbatches based

on biodegradable


A. Schulman a global leader in masterbatches, compounds

and distribution/trading offers a wide range of products.

In response to market trends the range also includes

masterbatches which are based on biodegradable polymers.

In addition various oxy- and photodegradable formulations

for applications in polyolefins are available. Detailed information

upon request. A. Schulman is an independent manufacturer

thus tailor-made solutions can be discussed!

A. Schulman GmbH (Hall 8a - Booth D12)

Photo: Clariant

12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

Biopolymer line adds injection

molding, paper coating grades

Telles, Lowell, MA, USA, bioplastics production joint venture between Metabolix

Inc., Cambridge, MA, USA, and Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, IL, USA, introduces

three grades of Mirel semi-crystalline, biobased polyester: Mirel P1001,

Mirel P1002 for injection molding applications; Mirel P2001 for paper coating. Mirel

P1001 replaces styrenics, exhibits high modulus, high gloss, heat resistance. Mirel

P1002 substitutes for polyolefins, offers higher flow, medium stiffness, heat resistance.

Mirel P2001 provides an alternative to petroleum-based paper coatings,

enables production of fully biodegradable coated paper cups, food packaging such

as ice cream cartons. Attributes include heat sealability, good barrier properties,

good printability, adhesion to substrates.


Telles (Metabolix/ADM) (Hall 5 - Booth G19-9)

Photo: Telles




Highlights of the DuPont exhibit

of the will include the latest

developments in terms of polymer

production from renewable

sources. One of the early proponents

of bio-sourced materials,

DuPont is already processing

corn grain to make Bio-PDO at

a facility constructed with Tate &

Lyle, which was officially opened

in June 2007. DuPont is now exploring

the refining of other cellulosic

materials, such as corn

stover – the residual from the

plant that remains after the

corn is harvested – to sugars

for processing into value-added

chemicals such as Bio-PDO.

In 2008, the company is expected

to participate in the construction

and operation of a pilot cellulosic

biorefinery for ethanol. “With

the growing demand for sugars

for industrial intermediates and

biofuels, cellulosic conversion is

an essential step in a biorefinery

concept,” comments Dr. Nandan

Rao, technology director for Du-

Pont Performance Materials.

DuPont (Hall 6 - Booth D27)

Biodegradable bags with

Roll-o-Matic equipment

In the past few years the plastic industry has experienced considerable product

development – and naturally Roll-o-Matic has been a part of it. Today the market

demands for converting equipment are higher as there is a need for innovative

solutions that are both on the cutting edge of technology and also live up to new

environmental standards. Roll-o-Matic too have noticed the bio-trend and applied

the bio-principles to their converting equipment. The result is the Delta Line that

can produce biodegradable bags on roll as well as plastic bags from standard

material. At K-2007 Roll-o-Matic will exhibit a state-of-the-art Delta Line in order

to demonstrate the equipment’s flexible design, running capacity, technological

innovation and not least its ability to produce bags of various types. Roll-o-Matic (Hall 3 - Booth D06)

“Creative Solutions”

for value-added plastics

At K 2007 Sukano Products presenting its full range of functional and

visually enhancing masterbatches. The spotlight will be on the latest product developments.

Besides additives and masterbatches for “traditional“ plastics one

highlight will be a transparent impact modifier for PLA.

On the stand there will be full details of the well-established and successful

range of slip/antiblock concentrates, matting agents, mould release agents and

melt flow enhancers, antistatic agents, UV blockers, colours including black and

white, optical brighteners, nucleating concentrates, and flame retardants, plus

information on new applications. The main focus is on PET, PETG, PC and PLA

applications. A particular highlight will be the PLA slip/antiblock masterbatch for

use in biodegradable applications. In recognition of this development Sukano was

selected as a finalist in the “Best Innovation in Bioplastics” competition at the

28th Bioplastics Conference in Frankfurt, December 2006.

Sukano (Hall 8A - Booth H28)

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 13


Photo: Grafe

GRAFE Advanced Polymers GmbH

(Hall 7.1 - Booth C/25)

Masterbatches for

biodegradable plastics

The Grafe Group has developed biodegradable colour masterbatches available

in the same brilliant colors and with the same technical characteristics

as the „classic“ masterbatches. With these newly developed products, Grafe

meets the challenges of increased environmental awareness and ever stricter

environmental legislation.

With immediate effect the Grafe Group will offer masterbatches for colouring

biodegradable plastics under the brand name “Biocolen“. Plastics made from

renewable raw materials pave the way for using closed recycling loops.

Compostability of bioplastic products containing inorganic mineral pigments

or organic synthetic dyes is reduced. However, products made with Biocolen

masterbatches, which are produced with vegetable dyes, are completely biodegradable.

“Stricter environmental legislation governing the use of plastics is bound to

come - the political powers will see to that. Even today, we are already supplying

the necessary raw materials to the plastics processing industry“, said

Matthias Grafe, Manager of the Grafe Group.

Nanostarch: the

highlight of the year

Novamont, leading company in the area of biodegradable

polymers driven by its vision of “Living Chemistry for Quality of

Life” and winner of the award “European Inventor of the Year

2007”, will announce a further highlight at the K2007 show in


Novamont has achieved a further significant technological

breakthrough with Mater-Bi ® nanostarch, a range of products

engineered to substantially improve the end-use performances

of Mater-Bi grades containing starch, while maintaining

its certified biodegradability even in home composting conditions.

Nanostarch technology, patented by Novamont, will be a very

powerful tool to produce super tough materials even in conditions

of very low humidity, definitively overcoming the limitations

of starch-based materials. Several applications will benefit

of these new breakthrough of Novamont technologies to be

announced at the K2007 show.

Novamont is increasing its industrial capacity due to the new

Biorefinery integrated in the territory

NOVAMONT S.p.A. (Hall 6 - Booth E09)



Oct. 24-31, 2007 Düsseldorf, Germany

Plastics - made

by Nature! ®

Photo: FKuR

FKuR together with Fraunhofer UMSICHT present

their competence in the area of biodegradable films

and compounds. “One of many highlights“ says Patrick

Zimmermann of FKuR, “is a translucent film similar to

HDPE“. Other examples include a wide range of biodegradable

plastics primarily made of renewable raw

material, e.g.: Bio-Flex ® (PLA/co-polyester-blends),

Biograde ® (cellulose ester blends) or Fibrolon ® (Plastic-Wood-Compounds).

Application examples are mulch

films, waste bags, bottles made from PLA-blends and

numerous injection moulded applications.

FKuR Kunststoff GmbH (Hall 7-level 1 - Booth A20/A22) ,

14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

New PHB formulation

Biomer from Krailing, Germany introduce a new PHB

formulation “with mechanical properties at least as good

as polypropylene, if not better“, as Urs Hänggi of Biomer

puts it. PHB is made of renewable resources, totally biodegradable

(anaerobic and aerobic). Biomer‘s PHB compounds

are free of catalysts, neither thrombogenic nor

immunogenic. They offer a good creep resistance, faster

cycle times and thinner walls, thus more complex structures

become possible. The compounds are best for injection

moulded technical applications.

Biomer (Hall 7-Level 2 - Booth B30)

Polyethylene from


At the company’s Technology and Innovation Center the

Brazilian company Braskem has developed the first internationally

certified (ASTM D6866) polyethylene made from

100% sugarcane based ethanol. The “green polymer“ developed

by Braskem – a high-density polyethylene, one

of the resins most widely used in flexible packaging – is

the result of a research and development project in which

already around 5 million US$ have been invested. To find

out more, read the detailed article in this issue or meet

Braskem at their Booth in Düsseldorf.

New masterbatches

PolyOne will introduce a range of new additive masterbatches

designed to enhance the performance of biopolymers.

Among these are

• Enhanced impact & ductility of PLA sheet while maintaining


• Increase anti-fog properties for PLA film

Besides the new masterbatches PolyOne will show the

earlier developed color and additive masterbatches.

The color masterbatches are especially designed to

comply with the strict EN 13432 norm.

The additive masterbatches offer improved processing

and enhanced application performance

PolyOne (Hall 8b - Booth G46)


Braskem (Hall 6 - Booth E80)

Other companies exhibiting at K‘2007, that are involved

in bioplastics but unfortunately did not provide us with

detailed information in time for this issue are:

Biotec Distribution,

Hall 5 - Booth B13-3 and Hall 7-level 2 Booth E45

CONSTAB Polyolefin Additives GmbH,

Hall 7-level 1 - Booth C20

Kaneka Belgium N.V.,

Hall 7a - Booth D32

Kuraray Europe GmbH,

Hall 7a - Booth D06

Marubeni Europe Plc,

Hall 7a - Booth D02


Hall 5 - Booth B41

Technamation Technical Europe GmbH,

Hall 8b - Booth F8

Toray Industries, Inc.,

Hall 7a - Booth D32

Vanetti S.r.l. - Masterbatch,

Hall 7-level 1 - Booth C03

VTT Technical Research, Centre of Finland,

Hall 11 - Booth C70

Wells Plastics Limited,

Hall 5 - Booth B40


“Make the difference” reusable carrier bags (Photo: Sainsbury’s)

Photo: European Plastics News


with Stuart



Photo: Sainsbury’s

stands for great products at fair prices.

Our objective is simple; to serve customers well.


We continually improve and develop our product

ranges, and work hard to give customers an ever improving

shopping experience. We also aim to fulfil our responsibilities

to the communities and environments in which we operate.”


bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke to Stuart Lendrum, Print and

Packaging Manager of Sainsbury‘s Supermarkt Ltd.

bpM: Mr. Lendrum, when did you start looking into bioplastics

packaging materials? When did you actually start with your first

products packed in biopackaging and which were these ?

Stuart Lendrum: We first launched compostable packaging

in 2002, certainly we were working on it some time before

that. Predominatly that would have been trays based on palm


bpM: What were the main reasons for you (for Sainsbury‘s) to

introduce biodegradable packaging?

Stuart Lendrum: The main reason for introducing biodegradable

packaging was to make customers lives easier, we

have a set of packaging brand standards; and the aim of our

packaging brand standards, which is something that we apply

across all our products is that we want to reduce the amount

of packaging we use and make that packaging we do use, either

reusable, home compostable or recyclable. So obviously

different products are differently made and offer different opportunities

but one of the big key strands is to introduce and

to use home compostable packaging.

bpM: How did the introduction start and progress?

Stuart Lendrum: The first step to bring such products to the

market, learn about them and get customers used to them

was through our SO organic produce range. We see that the

opportunity for home copostable packaging is much bigger

than just SO organic produce for example ready meals. Last

year we also launched the world‘s first compostable easter

egg holder. That is a kind of a clamshell made of Plantic material.

Concerning the progress: We have a large number of

organic products across, we have the easter egg and we‘re

16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

Photo: Sainsbury’s


just about to pack a whole chicken on a sugarcane tray

and we are still working towards introducing the ready

meal packaging. We are really happy with the progress we

have made so far in terms of the introduction across our

organic produce area and the other things we are doing. It

is very challenging bringing new materials to the market

place and putting them on the shelves, but we are committed

to moving forward with these materials.

bpM: Last year Sainsbury‘s announced the conversion of

500 product lines or 3,550 tons respectively into biopackaging.

How far are you at this point in time?

Stuart Lendrum: The rollout in the ready meals category

is taking longer than anticipated but we are pleased

with our progress to date.

bpM: What kind of biopackaging are you currently offering

to your customers?

Stuart Lendrum: We currently use sugarcane based

materials, Natureflex – cellulose based films, Mater-Bi

– starch based materials, Plantic – starch based water

soluble materials and combinations of these with compostable

labels. The only material that we do not use is

PLA because we won‘t use any material where we can‘t

guarantee that it is from non-GM sources. And we only

want to offer our customers home compostable materials

– PLA is not home compostable.

bpM: Are you satisfied so far with the conversion to biopackaging?

Stuart Lendrum: Yes. We‘ve done a lot and there‘s a lot

more to do.

bpM: What are your consumers responses? Do they accept

it well? Do they ask for more?

Stuart Lendrum: Certainly all the customer‘s feedback

we get on compostable packaging is that they do like it

and yes they do want more. But they want the packaging

to perform as well as the existing packaging formats.

That‘s the challenge for us: We know that materials do

have limitations and do not always perform as per current

materials and how customers would like them to.

bpM: With which partners did or do you cooperate? Did or

do you get a good support from them? How does such support

look like?

Stuart Lendrum: We cooperate with companies like Innovia,

Novamont, Plantic, natura, Amcor, Telrol or Paragon

Flexibles and of course our product suppliers. And

yes, we do get support from all of them. We feel that everybody

is motivated to try and make these developments.

We do a lot of testing on products, trying to improve the

performance. And it is only possible if all of us work together

to make these improvements. The key thing is the

commitment of the people involved.

bpM: What is more important from your point of view:

A) biobased packaging, i.e. made from renewable

resources or

B) compostable packaging ?

Could you tell us why?

Stuart Lendrum: The most important thing for us is to

reduce the amount of packaging we use and make our

packaging reusable, home compostable or recyclable.

What we want to do is do all of that in a sustainable way.

bpM: What future plans do you have? In short term (next

365 days) – in long term (next few years)?

Stuart Lendrum: We want to continue to introduce more

compostable packaging and try to move forward the quality

of what we do. All within the context of making our customer‘s

life easier. Both short term and long term we want

to reduce the amount af packaging we use, regardless of

what hat material is – that would be the absolute goal.

bpM: What are you (is Sainsbury‘s) particularly proud of (in

terms of this overall topic)?

Stuart Lendrum: What we are particularly proud of is

that we are continually improving our customer offer to

make our customer‘s life easier by offering them packaging

that they can compost at home as opposed to send to


bpM: Thank you very much.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 17



Films and Trays

The revolution in the food

packaging sector.

Article contributed by

Stefano Facco, New Business

Development Manager

Novamont S.p.A., Novara, Italy

The development of compostable polymers in the

trays and films sector has enjoyed a dramatic boost

in recent years. We may describe it mainly based on

two aspects. The first aspect is the technical improvement

in terms of performance and processing: lately we have

seen more and more “high tech” biopolymers with properties

similar to or, in some very specific cases, even better

than standard polymers. The second aspect is the change

in attitude of retailers and consumers, and the approach to

waste management issues.

Compostable and biobased polymers have, in the last

4 to 5 years, demonstrated a really outstanding development,

which has enabled them to be used almost as standard

polymers in specific packaging applications. Major

producers are based in Europe (such as Wentus, Amcor,

Innovia, Treophan etc), as well as in the USA. In the food

sector in particular new packaging for different products

has been shown to have reached performances as high

as some standard products. Starting from thermoformed

punnets and trays, the market today offers products which

may be as tough as the equivalent conventional ones. Also,

in terms of processing, standard extrusion lines such as

used for PP may be used for bioploymers. Another important

aspect is given by the capability of recycling these new

materials. This is a very important aspect when considering

extrusion and thermoforming, as some 30% of scrap

may result from a standard thermoforming process. And

not only toughness, but also puncture resistance and rigidity

have reached very high levels. In terms of transparency,

a variety of companies do offer either very transparent or

white opalescent products. Linear shrinkage values are

comparable to standard polymers and may vary as from

PP to PS. The Tg values, which may be a reason to choose

18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


a particular polymer (depending whether a punnet is

used under deep frozen or ambient conditions), range

from below 0°C to above 40°C.

If the development of rigid trays has already reached

a very high industrial level, the expanded tray sector is

very close to reaching similar standards. Some different

products are starting to show up in first applications and

there are a number of products which have been shown

to perform quite well. The first one, very close to being

introduced in the UK (produced by Sirap Gema), which

is a new and very light product, has been demonstrated

to be, in the case of packaging delicate produce, even

better compared to a standard EPS in terms of its cushioning

properties. It has a very soft touch, white colour

and has been tested by a major packaging company

which has carried out a comparable test amongst major

producers of trays (rigid and expanded). The results

were really astonishing, as this new material shows incredible

performance profiles in terms of handling and


In addition some products are starting to slowly move

into the market, although we still may not consider

them as expanded, as they belong more to the sheets

category, but which are lighter compared to a standard

sheet / tray, showing an expanded core and a still-rigid

skin. Most of these products described above do have,

due to their morphology, a white or opaque colour.

A very new technology is soon to be launched on the

market, namely laminated paper / cardboard trays. In

this case we do have different technologies available,

either based on coatings from a solution, or laminated

with a compostable film. A third technology is based on

extrusion coating (Mondi Packaging). Specifically in this

latter technology, the possibility to use such extrusion

coated trays may open up applications such as for microwavable

food, as it seems that the weakening and

melting points do satisfy the needs of such “cooking

technology”. For standard coated paper/board (for frozen

and room temperature applications) different polymers

are already available on the market.

But, as a filled punnet should not loose its content,

there is a need for specific films or nets, in order to

complete the packaging unit.

Compostable and biobased films started their development

many years ago and the results are very well

visible on the market, if we consider the very high percentage

of biopolymers used. According to different

studies some two thirds of the given applications in the

biopolymers sector is covered by films. Newly introduced

wicketed bags, films for VFFS and flow pack have

demonstrated the very high level achieved.

The 9th Annual

Bioplastics Conference

Performance through innovation

Featuring presentations from

■ NEC ■ Metabolix ■ FKuR ■ NNZ

■ Utrecht University ■ Braskem

■ PA Consulting ■ Natureworks

■ Tianan Biologic ■ PSM

■ Eosta / The Organic Salad Company

Plus – includes the second

annual Bioplastics Awards

5 – 6 December 2007 - Hyatt Regency, Cologne, Germany

To register - Tel: +44 (0)20 7554 5811

(International) 0845 056 5069 (UK Only)



Organised by:


Conference & Awards


There are different technologies available in order to

complete the packaging unit with a film. Most common

technologies are based on flow pack top seal films.

Additionally, specifically for the packaging of food, one

of the most common technologies is the one based on

cling films. Today, especially based on biopolymers,

there are different technologies available, depending

on the needs of the product to be packed and/or the

packaging technology.

Most commonly used on transparent punnets are

transparent top seal films. Different combinations in

terms of transparency may be used, meaning a transparent

film on an opaque punnet or vice versa, or both

the same. The first products are meant for food that

does not need special MAP treatment. New developments

are proving that amongst biopolymers there are

some, which do offer differential barrier properties

(WVTR, N 2

TR, O 2

TR, CO 2

TR) and that will open new applications

for MAP packaging.

Importantly, in order to obtain adequate sealing

properties, the Tm of the sealing layer of the film does

need to fit with the tray on which the film is sealed.

New biopolymers which offer differential sealing properties

seem to perfectly match such needs.

Similar properties are given for flow pack films, in

order to achieve both good sealing results and high

speed processing. It is evident that for most of the applications

good printing, COF, hot tack etc. are needed,

whether they be top seal films or flow pack.

For some years different development activities have

been carried out in order to develop cling films based

on compostable polymers. Some positive results have

been claimed by the market, and it is expected that

by next year some first producers will present their

products. In this specific case the opportunity to use

biopolymers will just enlarge the application range of

PVC cling films, as there is already a certain trend (in

some European countries) to replace it with PE or alternative


But much of the success, on which the use of compostable

packaging is based, is the need to find new solutions

in terms of waste treatment, as food packaging


• Highly food-contaminated plastic.

• Difficult to recycle.

• Low potential energy recovery content (due to the

high contamination) in case of thermal recycling.

The new opportunity given by compostable bioplastics

has an added value for both retailers and consumers,


• Retailers do not need any longer to separate the content

from the packaging (when the product expires).

• This means a space reduction in terms of waste collection

(packaging and food may be collected and

treated together).

• Waste management and treatment of such products

would save energy.

• The consumer gets packaging, especially when he

purchases organic produce, which is more coherent

with the nature of the produce.

Some European retailers are starting to adopt more

and more such materials, as on the one hand consumers

are starting to ask for them, on the other hand it is

proven that recycling, meaning composting of packaging,

when contaminated with food, offers a valuable way

of recycling.

It is not only the source of the biopolymers which defines

their environmental contribution or impact, it is

very often more the recycling system that stands behind

them, which defines their impact.

Conventional polymers, when clean and not contaminated

(as in the case of industrial waste), do offer their

highest potential (environmentally) if recycled. Biopolymers,

when used as packaging, do offer their best profile

when composted.

20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


Thermoformed trays


Article contributed by

Cesare Vannini, Packaging

System R&D

Coopbox Europe s.p.a.,

Bibbiano, Italy

Cross-section of foam

Expanding film

Coopbox S.p.A., headquartered in Reggio Emilia,

Italy, is a producer of innovative packaging solutions

for fresh foods. Coopbox has a very long

history in the packaging industry. Founded in 1972, the

company, always focused on innovation, recently became

very active in the steady development of innovative

and environmental friendly packaging solutions for

retailers and the modern packaging industry.

The idea of developing biodegradable foam

packaging for fresh food started in 2003 and the first

step was the selection of a material from the different

biopolymers available on the market: starch, biopolyesters,

polylactide, etc. Finally PLA was the chosen material,

first of all for the good mechanical properties and

the possibility to process the material with standard

equipment. Not only has PLA a better mechanical performance

than alternative traditional polymers used for

rigid packaging (PET, PS, PP) but it is 100% produced

from annually renewable resources such as corn. From

this base a development project started with the involvement

of the universities of Naples, Rome and Reggio

Emilia, and the important collaboration of NatureWorks,

the raw material supplier, all along the way.

The basic idea was to use a foam solution because

it allows a significant weight reduction of the pack. In

general with traditional polymers, depending on the

application, the foam tray is 30-50% lighter than rigid

material. It is immediately evident that a biodegradable

foam is a double environmentally friendly solution:

firstly because it uses raw material from a renewable

resource and secondly because of the weight reduction

of up to 50% that is possible to obtain with the use of a

foam instead of a rigid foil.

Today Naturalbox ® is the first foamed PLA tray on the

market with worldwide patent pending. Its first public

presentation was at Interpack 2005, in the “Innovationparc

Bioplastics in Packaging”. Naturalbox is recognised

as a true innovation on the market, and has received

several awards: the “Italian Oscar Dell’Imballaggio

2005”, the “UK Meat Industry Award 2006”, and the

22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


foam trays for fresh food

“Bioplastics Award 2006” for the best biodegradable

food packaging.

To obtain a PLA foam, extensive tooling modifications

were necessary in comparison to the standard extruding

technology for XPS (Extruded Polystyrene Foam). Coopbox

invested two years in development, together with a

new screw profile, new die and accessory equipment -

everything was specifically projected to obtain the first

commercially available PLA foam tray.

The main characteristics of the product are: density of

300 g/l and good mechanical performance. Naturalbox

trays are certified in line with the European food contact

standards and comply with the European standard

EN13432 for compostable packaging.

Naturalbox ideally is used to pack fresh food: fresh

meat, processed meat, fish and vegetables. Closing can

be performed with two different packaging technologies:

top sealing or stretch-wrapping. With the top sealing

solution using a top film in PLA (this film has excellent

sealing resistance, natural antifog properties and

enhanced transparency) a 100% biodegradable pack

is obtained. Naturalbox can be closed on standard top

sealing machines and has a gas barrier lower than PET

but definitely higher than PP. Another possibility is to

use a standard stretch-wrapping machine with a standard

stretch film. In this case high packaging speeds

can be reached and for this application the mechanical

properties are very important and the foam tray solution

is very appropriate. Currently both PE and PVC film are

used, as any biodegradable stretch film able to work on

automatic wrapping machine is available today.

Commercial introduction is entering a very crucial

phase. Several trials have been, and are currently being,

conducted all over Europe and, given the novelty of

the product, Coopbox has encountered a lot of interest.

The number of awards provided visibility, but only an

entrepreneurial pioneering vision, the growth of people‘s

consciousness about the environment and some

legislative “effort” (as a result also of the activities of

European Bioplastics) is now supporting the company‘s

development. Today Naturalbox is present in Dubai (organic

food), in Denmark (potatoes), in Italy (poultry, fish

and cheese at the Finiper retail chain), and in France (at

Bodin industries for organic poultry). Moreover, at the

moment Coopbox is testing a new application for frozen

fish for an important retailer in the UK and is approaching

the German organic meat/poultry market developing

a system with VC999 machines.

Looking ahead the company foresees a 2008 full of

opportunities, with growing interest from several promising


bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 23


PHBV from


Article contributed by

Dr. Jim Lunt, VP Sales & Marketing,

Tianan Biologic Materials Co. Ltd,

Ningbo, PR China


Ruud Rouleaux, Managing Director,

Peter Holland bv, Zwijndrecht,

The Netherlands

Product examples

Tianan Biologic Material Co. Ltd is located in Ningbo,

one of the major cities in China’s economically dynamic

Zhejiang Province. Ningbo is situated in the

central part of China‘s coastline and south flank of

the Yangtze River Delta, bordering Shanghai and Hangzhou.

The Ningbo Economic and Technical Development Zone

(NETD) is located in the north-east of Ningbo city, behind the

largest deepwater port in China-Beilun port. Established in

1984, NETD is one of the earliest and largest development

zones at the national level in China. NETD has established a

reputation as the most promising location for development

in China with its strategic geographic location, numerous

natural resources, wide variety of industries and a modern

transportation network.

Today, Tianan Biologic is the world’s largest producer of

PHBV, a fully biobased and 100% biodegradable polymer

that is derived through a completely natural fermentation

process. PHBV is short for Poly-β-Hydroxy Butyrate-co-

Valerate and is a crystalline biopolymer with high temperature

resistance. After the production facility with a capacity

of 1,000 tonnes of PHBV was installed in Ningbo China in

December 2003, about one month later Tianan began to sell

PHBV on a trial basis. In April 2004, Tianan was certified by

ISO 14855. The company presently produces 1,000 tonnes of

PHBV and by the end of November Tianan will be increasing

capacity to 2,000 tonnes per year.

Tianan Biologic’s mission is to become and remain a world

leading producer of PHBV bioplastics while positively contributing

to the world’s environment and economy. The com-

24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


pany’s future plans are to grow the market for PHBV to

create sufficient demand to install additional capacity of

10,000 tonnes in mid 2009 and then further

additional capacity of 50,000 tonnes to

come on line mid 2011.

To achieve these goals, Tianan will follow

a disciplined and focused approach to the

marketplace. Today the key demand for such

products is in the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan

Australia, and New Zealand. Over time an

increasing demand is expected in China, Korea

and other Asian markets as well as South


The key targeted market segments for Tianan

Biologic’s PHBV product can be divided into three

general categories:

1. Bioplastic applications, where 100% renewable

resource and 100% biodegradability are required.

Typical applications envisaged are in injection molded

cosmetic containers such as lipstick casing, and other

cosmetic products. Blow molded or injection stretch

blow molded shampoo bottles. Paper coated products.

2. Biodegradable products, where 100% renewable

resource is not needed but biodegradability is still required.

Typical products in this category are blends of PHBV

with other biodegradable products, such as the starch

based materials and synthetic biodegradable polyesters.

Potential applications include thermoformed or

injection molded non-clear containers, with improved

flexibility and a wider property spectrum than can be

achieved from PHBV alone, and blown film products.

3. Biobased products for more durable applications

where full biodegradability and 100% renewable

resource would be preferred, but blends with non renewable

and non biodegradable Petrochemical based

products are an option. This may be required to achieve

the required properties and still achieve a meaningful

reduction in the overall use of petrochemical derived

plastics and an improved environmental footprint.

Typical products in this category could include: Blends

of PHBV with non degradable impact modifiers for gift

card /credit card applications. Blends of PHBV with natural

fibers and petroleum based impact modifiers and

other plastics for computer casings, automotive, cellular

phone, Ipod and other hand held consumer devices.

As a biopolyester, PHBV is made by bacteria, using

natural sugars as the food source, and can be fully digested

by naturally occurring bacteria. When finally

disposed of in compost or bacterially rich environments

such as soil and water, it completely decomposes into

carbon dioxide, water and biomass

PHBV also has high biological compatibility and good

barrier properties to water, gas and aroma permeation.

Potential product applications, in addition to those discussed

above, exist for a wide range of other applications

such as medical materials (sutures), films products

(mulch films, shopping bags, and compost bags),

disposable items (pens, tableware), packaging materials

(especially for food packaging), etc.

Tianan Biologic is accelerating its product development

and manufacturing and marketing efforts to bring

these goals to reality. The company is looking for dedicated

partners who share this same vision.

Initial quantities of Tianan’s PHBV products (less than

200Kg), for sampling, and/or technical information can

presently be acquired through (for Europe)

or directly from Tianan

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 25


Article contributed by

Antonio Morschbacker,

Innovation &

Technology Center,

Braskem S.A.,

Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Bio-Ethanol based


Natalie, our covergirl grew

up in Ghana: „As kids we ate

sugarcane just as it came.

I‘m truly amazed that

sugarcane today can be

converted into plastic“

Braskem is a leading Brazilian company manufacturing

thermoplastic resins in Latin America. At the company’s

Technology and Innovation Center Braskem has

developed the first internationally certified polyethylene

made from 100% sugarcane based ethanol. The certification was

conducted by Beta Analytic Inc., a leading international laboratory,

according to the ASTM-D6866 standard. This standard describes

how to determine the biobased content as indicated by 14 C isotope

content (see bioplastics MAGAZINE 01/2007 p. 36ff). Polyethylene

is the resin with the largest manufacturing capacity in the world,

but is currently produced using fossil based raw materials such as

naphtha or natural gas.

The “green polymer“ developed by Braskem – a high-density polyethylene,

one of the resins most widely used in flexible packaging

– is the result of a research and development project in which already

around 5 million US$ have been invested. Part of this amount

of money was allocated to implement an ethylene pilot unit using

a high yield ethanol dehydration technology. This is the basis for

the production of polyethylene at Braskem’s polymerization pilot

plants, which are already producing sufficient quantities for commercial

development of the product. One of the biggest advantages

of this biopolymer production route is that it will be produced in

the same polymerization plants as regular polyethylene. It can be

transformed into a wide variety of final products, using the same

machines that already exist at Braskem’s customers with no need

to invest in new industrial equipment. The stable properties of the

ethanol-based plastic and its high energy of combustion, like any

other polyethylene, permit it to be fully recovered through mechanical

or energy recovery recycling at the end of its useful life. All these

aspects indicate a very favorable life cycle analysis for the whole

system when compared to the traditional fossil oil based resins or

with other biobased alternatives.

26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


Brazil has many natural competitive advantages for

the development and manufacture of products made

from renewable raw materials. Its ethanol fuel program

was started in 1975 and is totally based on the sugar

cane crop. Since then, the alcohol productivity has been

growing about 2.5% per year, from 3.3 m 3 /hectare to

6.9 m 3 /hectare. The total amount produced last season

was 17.6 million m 3 and the projections show that there

will be an average growth of 9% during the next 8 years,

when the current capacity will be doubled.

One main characteristic of the sugar cane crop is that

it is able to fix a large quantity of carbon and its stalks

can be harvested at least four times before they need to

be replanted. The amount of lignocellulosic carbon in

their leaves and fibres (the so called bagasse) is about

twice the amount of sucrose carbon. This feature allows

the ethanol process to be self-sufficient in biobased energy

with a surplus of 20-30%, when burning just the

bagasse. Additionally, a part of the leaves that can be

recovered will supply an extra source of energy that can

be used in the ethylene process and in the polymerization

step of an integrated plant.

The project, with an annual productive capacity of

200,000 tonnes, is now under technical and economic

specification process and the start up of the “green

polyethylene“ production on an industrial scale is expected

at the end of 2009. For this first unit Braskem is

evaluating the production of some grades from its huge

ethylene polymers portfolio, including high density, low

density, linear low density, very low density and ultra

high molecular weight grades. The plant will be located

in Brazil in a place to be determined within the next few

months. As the process requires 2.3 m 3 of ethanol to

make 1 metric ton of the new plastic, the ethanol consumption

will be just a small proportion of the total Brazilian

production capacity.

The company’s production of plastics from ethanol

seeks to supply the main international markets that require

products with superior performance and quality,

in particular for the automotive, food packaging, cosmetics

and personal hygiene industries. Braskem has

contacted many leading brands in Brazil and around the

world about the possibility of integrating the “green“

plastic into their product lines, enabling them to offer

a modern product for the modern needs of millions of


José Carlos Grubisich, Braskem´s CEO, said:

“Braskem´s leadership in the green polyethylene project

confirms our commitment to innovation and sustainable

development and points to the extremely positive

prospects for the development of plastic products made

from renewable raw materials”.

Photo: Hannes Grobe (Wikipedia)

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 27


Trays made

from sugarcane

By Thomas Isenburg

The previous article is just one example that shows that there is considerable

potential in growing sugarcane to extract the building block sugar – not only

to produce ethanol – and to exploit the potential that can be found in the

stalks and leaves – the bagasse.

Natura Verpackungs GmbH from Rheine in Germany has focused its activities on

this particular area. In addition to sugar, a large amount of bagasse, the biomass

remaining after the stalks are crushed, is produced during the sugar refining process.

Bagasse is used as energy source and also to produce paper, cardboard and

packaging material due to its high cellulose content. According to Natura‘s sales

director, Patrick Gerritsen, the company has been manufacturing sugarcane trays

for some time.

The sugarcane trays are not made from bioplastic, but rather from a pulp made

of plant fibres. Therefore the stalks and leaves (the bagasse) are crushed and then

the fibrous pulp is compression moulded into trays

Being used as a substitute for polystyrene trays based on renewable raw materials,

sugarcane trays are greenhouse gas neutral. When they are incinerated, the

same amount of carbon dioxide is released as was absorbed by photosynthesis

when the plant was growing. The product is fully biodegradable in accordance with

the EN 13432 standard. The material breaks down completely within six to twelve

weeks – even in home comosting. This means consumers can dispose of the product

on their garden compost heap.

Sugarcane trays are used mainly in packaging for fruit, vegetables, potatoes,

meat products and industrial packaging. The material has many advantages: Unlike

conventional plastic packaging, the trays are permeable to water vapour and

oxygen. It has been observed that this considerably prolongs the shelf life of fruit.

Sugarcane products retain their shape, which allows them to be processed more

easily. Compared with products made from paper-pulp, they are considerably more

waterproof and have a price advantage. Sugarcane trays are more expensive than

polystyrene products, but this situation could change with rising oil prices.

In order to service the growing market better, Natura has made a vertical backwards

integration in the supply chain by co-operating with Earth Buddy in China.

Earth Buddy is the world’s largest manufacturer of sugarcane products with all

necessary certifications in place. There are plans to quadruple production in China

within two years. The target is to produce one billion trays per year. Natura is developing

its own machines, in order to satisfy customer requirements and, in view of

the depletion of oil supplies, an even greater market potential is anticipated in the

future. Furthermore Natura has established with Natura ASP in the UK, Natura-

Modiplast in Israel and Natura Iberia in Portugal and Spain a supplier network in

Europe and the Middle East to serve their customers throughout all the seasons.

Further subsidiaries in key areas will follow soon.

28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


Universal Closures Limited,

headquartered in Tewkesbury,

UK, in collaboration with

Plantic Technologies Limited

from Altona (VIC) Australia, have

developed a barrier closure with

printed Plantic ® liners.

New Closures for

beverage Bottles with

Printed Plantic

Barrier Liners

Universal Closures’ new barrier closure is

based on a three-component closure design

– closure shell, barrier liner and closure

liner are made from different materials with

the barrier liner being made from Plantic ® . The barrier

liner is sandwiched between the closure liner and the

closure shell, thereby providing enhanced gas barrier

protection to the contents, and effective in-mold decoration.

Barrier closures with Plantic barrier liners are a

technological breakthrough in packaging, complementing

the existing functional properties of barrier bottles

which are currently used for applications where extended

shelf-life is targeted. The new barrier closures

facilitate CO 2

retention, beneficial for carbonated drinks

and prevent oxygen ingress which can cause certain

products such as sauces, preserved fruits, juices and

beer to degrade.

Plantic barrier liners are made from non-genetically

modified renewable resources – high amylose corn

starch. They are high resolution printable and excellent

gas, taint and odor barriers. They are also anti-static ,

sealable and laser etchable. The barrier liners are dis-

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 29


persible and biodegradable in water, and therefore comply

with European draft standards. Plantic materials are

certified with AIB-Vincotte’s “OK Biodegradable Water”

conformity mark.

The new barrier liners allow for efficient in-mold decoration,

enabling high resolution printing of promotional

and branding images. This presents many commercial

benefits for Plantic Technologies, as the gas barrier materials

it seeks to replace for this application do not possess

high resolution printing capabilities.

Mr. Rod Druitt, Managing Director of Universal Closures

said, “The combination of factors such as excellent gas

barrier properties, efficient in-mold decoration and high

resolution printability present an innovative offering to

global food and beverage industries that is differentiated

from current barrier closure systems.”

Amylose molecule

Additionally, Plantic barrier liners offer a cost-effective

and environmentally friendly alternative to established

barrier liners. Currently the recycling and recovery rates

of PET – particularly PET bottles – are the highest of any

other plastic. Some European countries boast a 60-70%

recovery rate of PET bottles 1 . Since recycled PET is repeatedly

used to make new bottles and fibres, keeping the

PET recycling stream clean is of paramount importance.

This requirement restricts the use of EVOH barrier closures

because they contaminate the recycling stream with

“black specks”. The new barrier liners, however, produce

flakes in the recovery process which disperse and simply

“wash away”, allowing for uncontaminated PET recycling.

In commenting, Plantic’s Innovation Manager, Dr. Frank

Glatz said, “The market potential for these barrier closures

is significant. Through our strategic alliance with

Universal Closures, Plantic has been able to offer an innovative

product to the food and beverage industries. This

innovation demonstrates our commitment to offering end

users key functional benefits in using sustainable Plantic

packaging material.”

1 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2006)

Improving Recycling Markets, OECD Publishing, p. 124.

30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


Overview of the

Current Biopolymers

Market Situation

In the late eighties and early nineties new biopolymers

on the basis of starch or polyhydroxyalkanoates

produced by fermentation were first introduced

onto the market. Despite initial enthusiasm

and favourable predictions this first generation of biodegradable

biopolymers was not able to establish itself

commercially. This could at least partially be attributed

to the material properties, some of which were not yet

fully developed, but also to unfavourable political and

commercial conditions, and to the fact that there was

simply not enough ecological pressure on the decision

makers in politics and industry to respond to unfavourable

conditions at that time.

A strong increase in the research and development of

biopolymers was prompted by important developments

in recent years, most of all by changing political conditions,

a rising awareness of the limitation of petrochemical

resources and soaring prices for raw materials, and

of course by a growing ecological awareness among the

general public, politics, industry and consumers. These

second generation biopolymers currently established

on the market are comparable to petrochemically-produced

commodity plastics as far as their manufacture,

processing and utilisation properties are concerned.

Rising oil prices and ecologically motivated political

support have been leading to price advantages for biopolymers,

especially with regard to raw materials and

disposal. Consequently, the remaining economic disadvantages

due to limited production capacity can be

compensated and biopolymers are becoming more and

more competitive compared to conventional plastics,

especially in the packaging industry. Meanwhile, the

production of some of these second generation biopolymers

has reached an industrial scale (Table 1).

Article contributed by: Hans-Josef Endres,

Andrea Siebert, Yordanka Kaneva*,

University of Applied Sciences and Arts,

Hanover, Germany Department of

Bio Process Engineering

*Supported by the German DBU

(German Foundation for the Environment)

Table 1: Current stage of development (2007)

of thermoplastic biopolymers

At the same time efforts are being made to retain the

conventional processing methods used for petrochemical

polymers, applying them to natural raw materials,

e.g., bio-based alcohol for synthesis of polyethylene

(Bio-PE) and polyamides (Bio-PA) or polyurethanes


bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 31


Capacity [1000t/a]

Capacity [1000t/a]

Capacity [1000t/a]






































Petrochemical raw material base

Petrochemical additives/Blend components

Renewable raw material base




2000 2007 2010

Table 2: Dynamic progress of manufacturing capacities of

biodegradable, thermoplastic polymers (2000 – 2007 – 2010)


Table 3: Availability of materials 2007

and expected potential 2010

Cellulose regenerates

Polylactides (PLA)




Table 4: Overview of the numbers of commercial

material types and producers



Degradable Celluloseesters

Cellulose regenerates



Polylactides (PLA)

Degradable Polyesters

Water soluble/degradable PVAL


Cellulose regenerates

Polylactides (PLA)



Degradable Polyesters


Water soluble/degradable PVAL


Degradable Celluloseesters

West Europe



Table 5: Main production countries of thermoplastic biopolymers



Degradable Celluloseesters





Capacity 2007

Caoacity 2010

Water soluble/degradable PVAL

Degradable Polyesters



Manufacturing capacities have grown significantly

in recent years due to the rapidly increasing

market demand. As of August 2007, the

worldwide annual capacity for biodegradable

polymer materials adds up to 315,000 tonnes.

(Source: own investigations, personal communication,

manufacturers‘ information, European

Bioplastics). Based on statements by different

raw material suppliers capacities are expected

to reach approximately 1,400,000 tonnes by 2010

(Table 2).

To get a precise picture and to avoid double

counting, those fractions of biopolymers that

are simply blended with other components to

form “new” biopolymers would have to be subtracted.

Therefore, the actual availability as

shown in table 2 is somewhat less than generally

published. It is difficult however to present

exact data because the particular amounts of

production and composition of material types

are not revealed.

Basically, both renewable and petrochemical

raw materials, especially petrochemically-based

additives, are used in so-called natural-based

biopolymer blends. Because the percentage of

these additives and of the petrochemical blend

components is not exactly known, as mentioned

before, it could not be separated from the biopolymers

blends that are based on renewable

resources. Therefore, based on careful

estimates, 30% by weight of the natural-based

biopolymers blends were assigned to the petrochemical

raw materials (light blue area in table

2). Hence the real percentage of renewable raw

materials for production of biopolymers is less

than generally assumed.

It should be noted that this paper only deals

with those partially biodegradable polyvinyl alcohol

(PVAL) and cellulose acetate (CA) materials

that are used explicitly as biodegradable

materials. Also, only those cellulosic materials

are considered, which are known to be used explicitly

as biodegradable films in the packaging

industry. Not considered in this paper are other

cellulosic applications and in particular cellulosic

fibres as used in, for instance, textile applications.

32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

The general availability of the biopolymers can be divided

into different material types. The most important

are starch, polylactide (PLA) and polyester polymers,

plus blends made out of these. Table 3 shows the different

currently available types of biopolymer materials

(including blends), and their potential by 2010.

From an application viewpoint there is a significant

diversity in the number of currently commercially available

material types and the number of manufacturers

(Table 4).

Based on a detailed investigation it can be established

that there are 26 commercial producers of biopolymers.

In addition many more companies and

research entities are currently active at the R&D level

and/or operate on the Asian market only. Altogether,

approximately 60 companies are currently known to be

active in the field of biopolymers.

The most important countries producing biodegradable,

thermoplastic biopolymers on an industrial level

include the USA, Western Europe, the Far East and

Australia (Table 5). Various countries have their own

priorities concerning the material types. This may be

attributed to their particular R&D history, the local

availability of raw materials or simply the company location.

Looking at the future, there is reason to assume that

the market for biopolymers will continue to expand

rapidly and undergo further changes in the coming

years. While the second generation of biopolymers was

developed almost exclusively for use as biodegradable

packaging, a third generation will be developed for application

in other fields, e.g., the automotive industry,

consumer electronics, textiles or building, etc. Beside

the utilisation of renewable raw materials and their

different end of life options additional new technical

questions will have to be addressed, including heat deflection,

fogging, colouring, impact behaviour, UV-stabilisation

etc. And finally the search for new biopolymer

additives and refined manufacturing technologies will


The project on which this paper is based (see bioplastics

MAGAZINE 01/2007 p. 12) is carried out in cooperation

with M-Base, Aachen, Germany and supported by

the German BMELV (German Federal Ministry of Food,

Agriculture and Consumer Protection), represented by

FNR (Professional Agency for Renewable Resources).

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.

EcoWorks BioPlastic.indd 1 8/2/06 8:44:40

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 33




and how

they’re made

Article contributed by

Daniel Gilliland, Business

Development Director of Telles,

the joint venture between Metabolix

Figure 3, Mirel is formed into numerous items

in a variety of conversion processes

and Archer Daniels Midland,

Cambridge, MA, USA

Years ago, scientists noticed that micro-organisms

utilized a different “nutrient buffer” system than humans

did. Instead of storing fat in their cells like we

humans do, they stored a naturally occurring plastic in

their cells, polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). This interesting

material was discovered in the 1920s and has been

vigorously investigated for the past 30 to 40 years in attempts

to understand it and to commercially exploit its

potential. Most recently, companies have begun using

this material as a substitute for traditional plastic derived

from petroleum or fossil fuel. Clearly, much has

changed in the past 80 years and this paper will try to

explain, in layman’s terms, how PHA like Mirel is made

today and the environmental impact it can make on the


PHA is really a family of polymers. The polymers

differ from one another by the nature of the pendant

groups or side chains attached to the polymer. Large

pendant groups tend to break up crystalinity and form

more rubber like properties with lower melting points

and low glass transition temperatures (Tg). Polyhydroxyoctanoate

(PHO) is one such material. Short chain

pendant groups such as polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) are

more highly crystalline with higher melting points and

higher Tg. This results in higher melting points, higher

levels of stiffness and higher heat distortion temperatures.

Methods for making these various types of PHAs are

becoming well understood due to the intense effort by

scientists at assessing metabolic pathways. Scientists

can use different micro-organisms and different feed

stocks to create a cellular factory that efficiently produces

the right polymer. A variety of naturally occurring,

renewable feed stocks ranging from glucose, dextrose,

fatty acids, and vegetable oils can be used, depending

upon the type of PHA desired. Figure 1 shows a microphotograph

of PHA accumulating in cells of a microbe.

The PHA is the large white nodules. This particular

microbe grows to over 80% plastic in just a few hours!

For those wishing a detailed understanding of the cellular

biology and enzyme pathways to the various PHAs,

please see Oliver People’s article in Chemtec 1 .

Now that the biology discussion is over, we can talk

about why these PHAs are good for us. To understand

the impact of PHA on us, we need to understand society’s

needs for plastics. First, society has come to rely

upon plastic for its many advantages over more traditional

materials like paper, steel, aluminum: keeping

food safe, protecting products in shipping, replacing

heavy materials, etc. Secondly, responsible consumers

want the plastic to be easy to dispose of at the end

of its usefulness or to not persist in the environment.

Third we would like plastic that does not create harm-

34 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


Figure 1, microscopic thin

section of microbes with

white nodules of PHA. The

microbe is 80% plastic,

just prior to recovery.

Figure 2, parts made of

Mirel before and after

60 days submersion in

the ocean.

1: Chemtec, Biodegradable

Plastics from plants, 1996,

38-44, Oliver Peoples et al

2: American Chemical Society,

ACS Symposium Series 939

June 2006, Ramani Narayan

ful emissions, such as greenhouse gases like carbon

dioxide, during its manufacturing and disposal. Finally,

we want plastic that minimizes the use of “non-renewable”

resources like fossil fuels. Before we discuss the

functionality of PHA, we should summarize the environmental


• They can reduce greenhouse gases: since PHAs are

made from renewable resources, they can be produced

and used in ways that can actually remove

greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, not just reduce

emissions! In most end of life scenarios, use

of the right PHA instead of a fossil based plastic will

reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 100%.

For a more complete discussion of the carbon cycle,

please read Ramani Narayan’s treatise 2 on the

subject. It is important to understand the life cycle

assessment of both the process used to make PHA

and the usage of the material to understand its true

impact on greenhouse gases. Early processes used

to make PHA were energy intensive and released

significant amounts of greenhouse gases, but new

processes have superseded them, resulting in breakthroughs

that make PHA economically and environmentally


• PHAs will quickly return to nature at the end of their

usefulness: since PHAs are made by the “cousins”

of naturally occurring microbes found broadly in nature,

and since these cousins already have the enzymes

required to digest PHA, they will be digested

and returned to nature in virtually any environment

supporting a healthy microbial population such as

soil, lakes, rivers, oceans, home and industrial composting

systems. Figure 2 shows samples of Mirel

bioplastic, made from PHA, before and after 60 days

submersion in the ocean. Though these Mirel bioplastics

quickly return to nature, they are durable in


• PHAs can considerably reduce fossil energy usage.

Depending upon how they are manufactured, PHAs

can significantly reduce the amount of fossil energy

used to produce them compared to the traditional

plastic they replace. Mirel Bioplastics reduce fossil

energy usage by over 90% in some applications.

The future seems even brighter, since this remaining

fossil energy is used to harvest the feed stocks, and

much of this fossil energy can and probably will be

converted to renewable fuels in the future.

Mirel bioplastic is a family of PHA resins that can replace

fossil fuel based plastics in a growing variety of

applications. There are various grades of Mirel being

developed. Some have “film like” properties with the

look and feel of low density polyethylene. Other grades

perform more like polystyrene or polypropylene in injection

molded applications such as soil stabilization

stakes, caps and closures, food containers or cosmetic

cases. Grades have been developed for coating paper

board to replace polyethylene in cups and food containers

and still other grades for sheet used in thermoforming

applications such as storage containers, lids, and

other food service items. Future grades are being developed

for foam and fiber applications replacing polystyrene

and polyester. Figure 3 depicts some common

applications under development.

Beyond the production of PHA in microbial bio-factories,

research is continuing to find ways to make PHA

commercially viable using waste products as feed stock

or by growing the plastic in sugar cane or in non food

crops such as switch grass. Although these potential

pathways are most likely years from commercialization,

they demonstrate the variety and environmental potential

some of the production methods for this new family

of plastics.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 35




An Introduction

Article contributed by Bruno De Wilde,

Organic Waste Systems n.v., Gent, Belgium

Biofilter (Photo: OWS)

Industrial composting – Curing phase (Photo:VLACO vzw, Belgium)

One of the major advantages of many

bioplastics is the fact these are compostable.

To support this claim one

can use the European EN 13432 or American

ASTM D.6400 standards. Yet these norms specifically

refer to industrial composting which

is just one, albeit the most important, option

for biological (solid) waste treatment. Other

options include home composting and biogasification.

Industrial composting refers to

centralised composting facilities where large

amounts of biological waste, collected from

many sources, are treated. The technological

level can be rather different from one plant to

another but they all have in common the fact

that large volumes are treated and hence high

operating temperatures can be maintained.

Home or backyard composting refers to composting

at (individual) household level. In contrast

to composting in which oxygen plays an

important role in the degradation of waste and

which is therefore called “aerobic” biodegradation

(aerobic = in the presence of oxygen),

biogasification is a biological waste treatment

system in the absence of oxygen, called

“anaerobic” biodegradation.

All these systems are “bio-inspired”, as in

nature waste is also degraded either aerobically

(e.g. in surface waters or on soil), or

anaerobically (e.g. at the bottom of rivers

and lakes where oxygen is depleted). Microorganisms

consisting of bacteria and, in the

case of aerobic conditions also fungi and actinomycetes

(a kind of filamentous bacteria),

will degrade waste (e.g. leaves of trees, dead

animals, and other biomass) and convert it

partially into new micro-organisms and humus

but mainly into CO 2

and water, and in the

case of anaerobic conditions also into methane

(CH 4

). Under aerobic conditions the biodegradation

process will also release a certain

amount of energy in the form of heat, which is

mostly dispersed immediately and hence not

measurable. However, when large quantities

of biowaste are aerobically degrading (e.g.

as in industrial composting) significant temperature

increases can be measured. Under

anaerobic conditions the energy is released

in the form of methane and much less heat is

generated. As methane can be used as a fuel

for heating or for electricity production, biowaste

in such cases is converted not only to

compost but also to (useful) energy.

36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2


Home composting (Photo: OWS)

Biogasification plant, Brecht (Belgium) (Photo: OWS)

Composting of municipal solid waste (MSW) is not

really new. In the 1960s for example several composting

plants were built for the treatment of mixed MSW. Yet

this was never really successful as landfill was much

cheaper and the compost produced was of inferior quality.

Later, in the 1970s, several mass-burn incinerators

were also built, offering another relatively cheap option

for waste treatment. Only in the 1980s after some

heavily publicised dioxin scandals which caused massburning

to become very unpopular, was composting reconsidered.

Nevertheless, it quickly became apparent

that high-quality compost was an essential prerequisite

and that this could only be obtained by source-separated

waste collection - clean feedstock going in, clean

product coming out. In areas of several countries (The

Netherlands, Germany, etc.) biowaste was collected

separately and composted to produce a high-quality

compost. Biowaste was defined as kitchen and garden

waste which comes directly from natural origin (“biogenic”).

Anything “man-made” was forbidden in order

not to compromise the quality of the compost.

As mentioned already, the technology of industrial

composting systems is quite variable. At the low-tech

end windrow systems are being used in which the waste

is aerated by placing it in long heaps to facilitate air diffusion

into the waste. These windrows can be turned

with different types of turning machines at different

frequencies, again to promote aeration and accelerate

degradation. Nowadays windrow systems are mainly

used for garden waste. For biowaste, which includes

also kitchen waste, more advanced systems are being

used in order to avoid problems with odour and vermin.

They mostly include an initial phase of some weeks of

intensive forced aeration which is done either in “bay”

or table systems, tunnels or containers. Afterwards

this is followed by a maturing or curing phase in which

the “semi-ripe“ compost is further gently aerated, either

forced or by diffusion. In all systems a screening

step is also included, which can be at the beginning, at

an advanced stage or at the end, and which serves to

retrieve non-compostable contaminants as well as objects

too big to compost in a given time frame such as

branches of wood. The goal is to obtain a nice, crumbly

homogeneous compost. Because of the large quantities

of waste, high temperatures are achieved (60-65°C)

which are also needed to kill off pathogens in the waste.

On the other hand, temperatures of 55-65°C as well as

a relative humidity of almost 100% are needed for the

population of micro-organisms to live and grow and do

an efficient “bio-conversion job”.

The consequences of adding bioplastics to biowaste

and industrial composting include a potential threat but

also some significant benefits. The major threat is obviously

a decrease of the feedstock quality. It should be

ascertained that only truly compostable materials are

coming in, and not visually similar but non-compostable

plastics or packaging. Hence, the importance of the

communication aspect and the different compostability

logo systems. Some composting systems might also

need to be slightly technically modified (most often

shifting the screening step in the process from the beginning

or an intermediate stage to the end).

The first benefit lies in a higher volume to be composted

and hence higher income for the composting

plant. In some cases the use of bioplastics will have a

kind of snowball effect and convert larger volumes of

waste from non-compostable into compostable (e.g. catering

waste). On a more technical level the addition of

bioplastics will increase and improve the C/N (carbon/

nitrogen) ratio of the biowaste leading to easier odour

control (less ammonia production). Also the density of

the biowaste will be decreased making aeration easier

and more efficient and decreasing the need for the addition

of structural material and energy input for aeration.

Industrial composting plants are able to cope with large

volumes of bioplastics as long as they are well mixed

with other material such as kitchen and yard waste. As

for all living organisms a balanced and varied diet is

needed to stay healthy!

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 37


A certain number of products made from bioplastics are already on

the market. Almost all of them are labelled with some kind of a logo

that tells the consumer about the special character of the plastic

material used. In this series of articles these logos and their background

are introduced by bioplasticsMAGAZINE. Here we will address

such questions as: What is the origin and history of a logo? What does

it mean? Which type of legislation or regulation is it concerned with?

Logos Part 5:

Waste Bags


Civil Eng.


GreenPla Logo &





Labelling System

“GreenPla” logo of the Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPA)



Daily Goods

Food Ware

Shopping Bags



In Japan biodegradable plastics are called „GreenPla“,

and there is a GreenPla Identification and Labelling System

established in June 2000 by the JBPA (formerly BPS)

to distinguish biodegradable plastics from ordinary plastics.

Plastic products that meet certification standards for product

composition, biodegradability, environmental safety,

etc., will be certified as GreenPla products.

GreenPla as described here means a substance or a product

consisting of biodegradable organic components that

may be degraded by microorganisms in a natural environment

and may finally be decomposed to carbon dioxide and


The utilization of biodegradable plastics is one of the key

issues to promote the establishment of a sustainably based

society and JBPA has been making various efforts to promote

the popularization and the business development of

biodegradable plastic products. Most of the products made

from biodegradable plastics look like their counterparts

made from conventional plastics. And clear differentiation

and recognition by everybody is most required to encourage

the popularization of biodegradable plastics. The special

properties of biodegradability can be displayed and be

recognized by the presence of the “GreenPla“ logo on the

products itself or the package of the products.

JBPA has been operating the GreenPla identification and

labelling system for more than seven years and the number

of registered GreenPla products now exceeds 800.

Especially in agricultural and horticultural use and civil

engineering, the GreenPla logo is recognized as the certificate

of reliable, eco-friendly products which can utilize biodegradability

as one of the main product performances.

The GreenPla Identification and labelling system is based


• A positive list system for all components of the products

• Biodegradability specification based on Japanese and

international standard analytical methods

• A safety certificate for all components

and no hazardous effect to the soil even after


Registered products in the GreenPla logo system

The distribution of registered products is shown in the pie


Besides the products for which biodegradability is a key

requirement, such as films for agricultural use or waste bag

applications, about two thirds of the registered products are

general packaging, stationery and broad general applications

which are recognized as environmentally friendly even

at the waste stage, as they can be finally bio-recycled to carbon

dioxide and water and will not leave permanent plastic

waste in the natural environment.

Global harmonization

To proceed with global harmonization JBPA (formerly BPS)

established a co-operation with BPI (USA) and DIN CERTCO

(EU) in 2001 and with BMG (China) in 2004. JBPA will continue

to establish co-operation with other Asian countries.

38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

Article contributed by Gaëlle Janssens,

Prevention & R&D Manager

FOST Plus, Brussels, Belgium



use of terms

Gaëlle Janssens

like “Biodegradable

and compostable”

In the world of packaging, bioplastics are one of

the most exiting innovations. The consumers seem

motivated for “greener“ shopping and like the idea

of biopackaging… . But they are very confused: in

a recent consumer survey in Belgium, to the question

“what is a biopackaging?”, the majority would answer

“a packaging that is better for the environment”. A quite

broad concept. When prompted further, most consumers

(62%) are driven by motivations related to renewable

resources– reduce CO 2

emissions, promote local agriculture

and use renewable resources.

But even though it may have nothing to do with it, the

word used by the consumers, as well as the by industry,

to name a renewable resource based packaging is ‘biodegradable


The big problem with the word biodegradable is that

it may lead to problems of litter: 27% of the consumers

agree that “you can throw away biodegradable packaging

into the environment and it will disappear without

any human help”. It is interesting to note that, to avoid

this problem, Belgian law will forbid the use of the term

‘biodegradable’ on packaging. An interesting suggestion

for the rest of Europe or even for all of the countries

in the world?

Another problem is that a ‘biodegradable’ packaging

supposes an end-of-life treatment, which is, for most

of the people, obviously compost. This is not a problem

for home compostable packaging, except for the

understanding of the logo: for 73% of the consumers,

a ‘compostable’ logo means they may dispose of the

packaging in their garden compost… and they will still

see it 2 years later! Let’s change the logo to avoid confusion

and use ‘compostable’ only for ‘home compostable’

and ‘industrially compostable’ for packaging that needs

a high degradation temperature, moisture and certain


Regarding industrially compostable packaging, only

very few consumers worldwide have access to organic

waste collection and, when they do have access, packaging

is generally not welcome (risk of pollution with conventional

plastic and strict norms). As green consumers

watch very closely the claims of green marketing, the

risk of negative publicity is very high if ‘compostable’ is

used without any composting solution. By the way, the

composting property may be very interesting in some industrial

applications, where communication to the consumer

is not needed – tomato clips, organic waste from

distributors, medical ties,…

The option of incineration is considered by more and

more producers as the most ecological solution as it

produces energy, but the infrastructure has to exist locally.

Landfill doesn’t meet the composting condition in

terms of oxygen, humidity and micro-organisms.

As we can see, the end-of-life treatment is certainly

not so obvious! So, as long as no industrial composting

solution exists for the majority of citizens, and as long

as compost is not proved to be the best local end-of-life

treatment for packaging, we should communicate about

compostability only in the case of home compostable

packaging and concentrate communication on renewable

resources, which is tomorrow’s biggest issue.

Therefore, the industry should develop a new, recognized

certification and an easily marketable name.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 39

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 [03/07] 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 [03/07] Vol. 2 41

Suppliers Guide

Simply contact:

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

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.

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

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

Plantic Technologies Limited

Im Tanzbühl 15

77833 Ottersweier


Tel.: +49 657 195 1248

Tel.: +44 794 096 4681 (UK)

Fax: +49 657 195 1249

1.5 PHA

1.6 masterbatches


Avenue Melville Wilson, 2

Zoning de la Fagne

5330 Assesse


Tel.: + 32 83 660 211

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

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

Transmare Compounding B.V.

Ringweg 7, 6045 JL

Roermond, The Netherlands

Phone: +31 (0)475 345 900

Fax: +31 (0)475 345 910

Sukano Products Ltd.

Chaltenbodenstrasse 23

CH-8834 Schindellegi

Phone +41 44 787 57 77

Fax +41 44 787 57 78



Cumbria CA7 9BG


Contact: Andy Sweetman

Tel.: +44 16973 41549

Fax: +44 16973 41452

42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

Internet survey




In the last issue we published the results of an

internet poll carried out by the German internet

portal „plasticker“. As this was a „German only“

poll asked to the whole plastics industry, we promised

to expand that survey globally to all ouf our

readers and visitors to our website. Below you see

the result of „our“ poll. Obviously our readers are

more optimistic. 67% think that bioplastics will play

a big role in many application areas (56% in the

german survey) and even 9% (6%) believe that they

will substitute most of todays commodity plastics.









0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70%

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 products

D) The hype, and with it the

materials, will disappear

Companies in this issue

Company Editorial Advert

A. Schulman 12

AIB Vincotte 30

Amcor 8, 17, 18

Archer Daniels Midland 13,34

BASF 12 2

Beta Analytics 26

Bio-On 6

Biomer 15

biopearls 23,42 15

Biotec 21,42


BMG 38

Bodin Industries 23

BPI 38

Braskem 15,26

Clariant 12

Coca-Cola 11

Colormatrix 11

Coopbox Italia 22

Cortec 33

DBU Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt 31

DINCertco 38

DuPont 13 42

Earth Buddy 28

European Bioplastics 8

European Plastics News 16 19

Fachhochschule Hannover 12,31

Faserinstitut Bremen 12

Finiper 23

FkuR 14 9,42

FNR 33

FOST Plus 39

Fraunhofer UMSICHT 14

german bioplastics 11

Good Water 10

Grafe 14

Hallink 42

Husky 11

Ihr Platz 11

Innovia 17,18 42

JBPA Japan BioPlastics Assiciation 38

Livan 5

Company Editorial Advert

M-Base 12,33

Maag 42

Metabolix 13,34

Mondi Packaging 19

natura 17,28 42, 47

Naturally Iowa 11

NatureWorks 10, 11, 22

Netstal 11

Nova Institut 12

Novamont 11, 14, 17, 18 48

OWS Organic Waste Systems 36

Paragon Flexibles 17

Peter Holland 24

Plantic 17,29 42

Plastic Suppliers 42, 43

plasticker 43 33

PolyOne 6, 11, 15 42

Purac 11

Roll-o-Matic 13

Safiplast 10

Sainsbury‘s 16

Sidaplax 42, 43

SIG Corpoplast 11 42

SIG Plasmax 11

Silita 10

Sirap Gema 19

Sukano 5,13 42

Tate & Lyle 13

Telles 13,34

Telrod 17

Tianan Biologic 24

Transmare 42

Treofan 18

TU Clausthal 12

Uhde Inventa Fischer 11 7,42

Universal Closure 29

University of Reggio Emilia 22

University of Rome 22

Univesity of Naples 22

Veriplast 42


Wentus 18

Wiedmer 11

Next Issue

Special editorial Focus:

Films, trays

03 | 2007

Vol. 2 ISSN 1862-5258

For the next issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE

(among others) the following subjects are scheduled:




Next issues:


Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

Logos part 6

review: K‘2007

different conferences

04/07 December 2007

01/08 January 2008

02/08 March 2008

03/08 April 2008

04/08 June 2008

K‘2007 preview | 13

Industrial Composting | 36

Logos, Part 5 | 38

bioplastics MAGAZINE

44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2

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bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] Vol. 2 45



October 17-18, 2007

Renewable Raw Materials for Industry:

Contribution to Sustainable Chemistry

Thon Hotel Bruxelles City (former Tulip Inn),

Brussels, Belgium

October 17-19, 2007

BioEnvironmental Polymer Society 14 th Annual Meeting



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

Come and see us at K’2007.

bioplastics MAGAZINE would be happy to

welcome you in hall 7, booth 7C09.

November 21-22, 2007

2nd European Bioplastics 2007

Convention Centre Newport Bay Club

Disneyland Paris, France

November 29-30, 2007

InterTech Pira: Bioresins 2007

Doubletree Guest Suites Atlanta /

Galleria - Atlanta, Georgia USA

December 4-5, 2007

Zweiter Deutscher WPC-Kngress

Maritim Hotel, Köln, Germany

December 5-6, 2007

Bioplastics 2007

including Bioplastics Awards 2007

Frankfurt/Main, Germany

for the awards contact

February, 18-20, 2008

Agricultural Film 2008

Fira Palace Hotel, Barcelona, Spain

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

46 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/07] 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.

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