ioplastics magazine Vol. 4 ISSN 1862-5258


Automotive Applications


bioplastics MAGAZINE

is read in

85 countries


LCA Position Paper of European Bioplastics | 32

Biodegradability - facts and claims | 28


Basics of PLA | 38

01 | 2009

Plastics For Your Future

Another New Resin For a Better World

Bio-Flex® A 4100 CL for transparent blown fi lm applications

FKuR Kunststoff GmbH | Siemensring 79 | D - 47877 Willich

Tel.: +49 (0) 21 54 / 92 51-0 | Fax: +49 (0) 21 54 / 92 51-51 |


dear readers

I’m sure that almost everybody in the plastics industry knows that famous scene

from ‘The Graduate’ (1967) with Dustin Hoffmann, where Mr. McGuire says: “I just

want to say one word to you: Plastics … there‘s a great future in plastics”.

But who knows the scene from another Hollywood movie, this time with James

Stewart, and one that is about 20 years older? This scene even foresees the great

future of bioplastics! Please visit to see the

10 second clip from ‘It’s a wonderful World’ (1946). In fact, as early as in the first

decades of the last century Henry Ford applied soy-based plastics for automotive

applications (bM 01/2007)

Now – let’s talk about this issue of bioplastic MAGAZINE. It’s almost a tradition that in

one of our first issues each year we run a special editorial focus on bioplastics in

automotive applications. And once again we are pleased to say that we can report

on new developments and applications. The second highlight in this issue is on

foams. From coloured loose fill chips used as a toy for kids through elastic foams

for the soles of shoes to E-PLA, a particle foam comparable to the polystyrene

foam that we all know well through its use in the packaging of domestic electronic

equipment etc. We have a veritable kaleidoscope of applications.

Once in a while we receive press releases about ‘biodegradable’ PET bottles

or other so called ‘oxo-degradable’ plastics. We hesitate to publish such press

releases in bioplastics MAGAZINE, as long as we are not totally convinced about

the biodegradability in terms of a proven complete assimilation of the plastics

by microorganisms. We consider plastics to be biodegradable if they fulfill the

internationally accepted standards such as ISO 17088, EN 13432, EN 14995 or

ASTM 6400. The oxo-materials might be degradable by UV or heat, but within our

declared concept they are certainly not biodegradable …

bioplastics MAGAZINE Vol. 4 ISSN 1862-5258

bioplastics MAGAZINE

is read in

85 countries


Automotive Applications



LCA Position Paper of European Bioplastics | 32

Biodegradability - facts and claims | 28


Basics of PLA | 38

01 | 2009

I hope you enjoy reading this issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE and look forward to your

comments, opinions or contributions.


Michael Thielen

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Editorial 03

News 05

Application News 26

Event Calendar 45

Suppliers Guide 48

Glossary 46

January/February 01|2009


2008 - Bioplastics Awards - 2009 09

Event review

Salone Del Gusto 10


Bioplastics in Automotive Applications 12

Phylla – powered by sunshine 16


Innovative partnership approach for PLA production 18

From Science & Research

The availability of fermentable carbohydrate 36



Coloured loose fill – fun for young and old 21

Expanded PLA as a particle foam 22

First S-Shaped Loose Fill Made from 24

Vegetable Starch

Foamed PLA Trays 24

Flexible Foam Made of Starch Based Bioplastic 25

Significant Extrusion Throughput Rate 25

Increase for PLA Foam


Biodegradability... Sorting through Facts and Claims 28

Life Cycle Assessment of Bioplastics 32

The Current Status of Bioplastics 42

Development in Japan

Basics of PLA 38


Publisher / Editorial

Dr. Michael Thielen

Samuel Brangenberg


Mark Speckenbach, Jörg Neufert

Head Office

Polymedia Publisher GmbH

Dammer Str. 112

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: 4,000 copies

bioplastics magazine

ISSN 1862-5258

bioplastics MAGAZINE is published 6 times a year.

This publication is sent to qualified subscribers

(149 Euro for 6 issues).

bioplastics MAGAZINE is read in more than

85 countries.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication

may be reproduced in any form without written

permission of 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.

The views and opinions expressed by the authors

do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher

or the ditorial staff.

bioplastics MAGAZINE tries to use British spelling.

However, in articles based on information from

the USA, American spelling may also be used.

Editorial contributions are always welcome.

Please contact the editorial office via

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Cosun and Avantium

announce collaboration

Royal Cosun from Breda and Avantium from Amsterdam

(both the Netherlands) recently announced the start of their

collaboration. The companies join forces to develop a specific

process for the production of a new generation of bioplastics

and biofuels from selected organic waste streams.

Avantium is developing these bioplastics and biofuels under

the name ‘Furanics’. Within the collaboration, Cosun will

focus on the selection, isolation and purification of suitable

components from agricultural waste streams. Avantium

will continue to focus on the development of an efficient,

chemically catalyzed production process. The duration of

the first phase of the collaboration will be approximately two

years. With positive results, the companies intend to scale-up

the production technology and implement it on commercial


“The further optimization of the value of our agricultural

products is of great importance for our future”, said Gert

de Raaff, Director Corporate Development at Cosun.

“Agricultural products and waste streams will increasingly be

used as starting material for the production of chemicals and

materials. “

Tom van Aken, CEO at Avantium: “Our collaboration with

Royal Cosun fits in perfectly with our strategy to produce

Furanics from raw materials that do not compete with the food

chain. With this approach, we clearly distinguish ourselves

from existing biofuels and bioplastics production processes.

By collaborating with Cosun, we gain access to organic

waste streams and Cosun’s proven expertise in processing

agricultural feedstock.”

For a number of years, Avantium has been developing

“Furanics”, a new generation of bioplastics and biofuels.

Furanics can be produced from biomass such as sugars and

other carbohydrates. Avantium’s Furanics bioplastics can

be produced cheaper than oil-based plastics and they have

attractive properties with the potential to replace traditional

plastics in many existing applications. Avantium’s Furanics

biofuel program aims to develop a new generation of biofuels

with both excellent properties (such as high energy density and

mixability with conventional fuels) and competitive production


Furanics are a sustainable alternative for materials and

fuels that are currently produced from crude oil. By using

Furanics, the dependence on crude oil decreases and CO 2

emissions are reduced.

Bioplastics Pavillion

at AUSPACK 2009


At AUSPACK 2009, to be held at the Sydney

Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park, from Tuesday the

16th through to Friday the 19th of June 2009 visitors will

have the opportunity to visit a special Bioplastics Pavilion.

Biograde, BioPak, Innovia Films, NatureWorks, Plantic

Technologies and Plastral will all be exhibiting thirp

products under one roof.

BioPak will be exhibiting their range of Bioplast potato

starch based biopolymers, extruded sheet, compostable

copolyester resin, PLA packaging films, compostable

self adhesive tapes, composite biodegradable non woven

absorbent materials along with examples of commercial

applications of these materials.

NatureFlex, a flexible wood pulp based filmic

packaging material will be the key exhibit on the Innovia

Films stand - exhibiting commercial applications

featuring this material from around the world. Films

include clear, white and metalised versions that are

suitable for fresh produce, flow wrapping, labelling face

stocks, confectionary & bakery packaging and many other

packaging applications.

At AUSPACK 2009 visitors will be able to see the full

complement of commercially available Ingeo lifestyle

products on display. Such will include food packaging

solutions of every kind to food serviceware, films wrap

applications, plastic cards, as well as electrical appliance

casings. Also, a complete assortment of Ingeo applications

in apparel, home/office wear and nonwovens for personal

care and landscape textiles, demonstrates that Ingeo has

become an innovation lifestyle brand for both industry and

consumers alike.

Plastral will be exhibiting resins and products that are

made using vegetable oil and starch feedstocks. Utilisation

of these products can help reduce the environmental

impact of manufacturing and disposal of single use and

multiple use goods and also assist with the diversion of

organic waste from landfill to composting.

At their stand at AUSPACK 2009, Plantic ® will be

showing their two thermoformable sheet grades (Plantic

R1and Plantic HP1) which are significant in terms of

the environmental and functional solutions they provide

to brand owners, converters and retailers. Plantic’s

sheet products have a renewable resource content of

approximately 85%. Also on display will be a variety of

Plantic injection moulding grades which can be used

for agriculture and horticulture, medical disposables,

personal care, packaging and building and construction,

to name a few.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Bag Manufacturer to

Stop Advertising

Environmental Claims

for Oxo-Products

The US National Advertising Division of the Council

of Better Business Bureaus has recommended that GP

Plastics Corp. modify or discontinue certain advertising

claims for its PolyGreen plastic bags.

Among the criticized claims are for example:

• PolyGreen plastic bags are ‘100% oxo-biodegradable’

• PolyGreen plastic bags are ‘disposable through ordinary

channels’ and go ‘From front lawn, to waste bins to the


• ‘Eco-Friendly Plastic Newspaper Bags’

• PolyGreen plastic bags are “environmentally friendly.”

According to GP Plastics the plastic bags are

manufactured using ‘oxo-biodegradable’ technology.

NAD noted that the advertiser’s claim that PolyGreen

bags ‘are disposable through ordinary channels’ should

similarly be supported by competent and reliable scientific

evidence that the entire plastic bag ‘will completely break

down and return to nature … within a reasonably short

period of time after customary disposal.’ However, NAD

determined that the evidence in the record did not support

that claim.

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the

claim that PolyGreen bags are ‘100% oxobiodegradable’

and otherwise modify its advertising to avoid conveying the

message that PolyGreen bags will quickly or completely

biodegrade when disposed of through ‘ordinary channels,’

e.g., when placed in a landfill.

NAD further recommended that the advertiser

discontinue claims such as ‘eco-friendly’ and

‘environmentally friendly’ etc. because the claims

overstate the evidence with respect to the degradation of

the plastic bags.

GP Plastics Corp. has said it will appeal NAD’s findings

to the National Advertising Review Board.

NAD’s inquiry was conducted under NAD/CARU/NARB

Procedures for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of National


For more information about advertising self regulation,

please visit


Two New Laws

in California

Independent testing of several so called ‘oxo

biodegradable’plastic bags in the marketplace have

shown little or no biodegradation using accelerated

aerobic test methods, such as ASTM D5338 and ISO 14855.

Moreover, the reports clearly state that these materials

do not meet the requirements of ASTM (6400), European

(EN 13432) or international (ISO 17088) specification

standards. An independent study commissioned by the

State of California’s Waste Management Board with a

California public university and under their supervision

showed that the ‘oxo-biodegradable’ bags on the market

showed no biodegradation (‘Performance Evaluation

of Environmentally Degradable Plastic Packaging and

Disposable Service Ware,’ California Integrated Waste

Management Board (CIWMB) Publications, (June 2007).

This study, and the proliferation of unsubstantiated

claims on biodegradability forced the State of California

to put in place laws

AB1972: ... prohibit the sale of a plastic bag that is labeled

as “compostable” or “marine degradable,” unless that bag

meets the ASTM Standard Specification for Compostable

Plastics D6400, the ASTM Standard Specification for Non-

Floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment

D7081, or a standard adopted by the California Integrated

Waste Management Board, as specified. The bill also

would prohibit the sale of a plastic bag that is labeled as

“biodegradable,” “degradable,” “decomposable,” or as

otherwise specified.

A companion bill AB 2071: ...would authorize a city,

a county, or the state to impose civil liability, in specified

amounts, for violations of the above provisions and would

require any civil penalties collected to be paid to the office

of the city attorney, city prosecutor, district attorney, or

Attorney General, whichever office brought the action.

Weblinks to the mentioned documents can be found at

Mark your calendar

bioplastics MAGAZINE is planning the

2nd PLA Bottle Conference to be held during

drinktec 2009 (mid September 2009) in Munich,

Germany. A ‘Call for Papers’ is now open. Send

your proposals to the editorial office.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Use of Oxo-Additives

implicates loss

of Warranty

Dr.-Ing. Christian Bonten,

FKuR-Director Technology

& Marketing


Braskem, Brazilian Petrochemical Company, developer

of biobased polyolefins (Polyethylene and Polypropylene)

made from renewable raw materials, mainly sugarcanebioethanol

and with a project under construction to produce

200 Kt/y of Green PE, starting end 2010, does not warrant

the performance of its resins with additives for the so-called

‘oxo-degradation’. The use of such additives with Braskem’s

polyolefins, implicates the loss of warranted qualities of the


In a data sheet accompanying their ‘High Density

Polyethylene HF 0147’ for instance it is stated:

Braskem’s resins do not contain additives produced

from metals or other substances which have the objective

to promote oxo degradation. Such additives and the

decomposition and fragmentation of resins caused by the oxo

degradation compromise the approval of the resin regarding

requirements of the Resolution 105/99 of ANVISA (Brazilian

National Agency of Sanitary Monitoring). The use of these

additives implicates the loss of the performance warranties

described in this document.

Frost & Sullivan

Award for DuPont

DuPont recently received the ‘2008 European Bioplastics

Product Line Strategy Award’ from Frost & Sullivan -- a leading

market consulting company -- for its accomplishments

in rapidly developing an extremely diverse range of highperformance

materials based on renewable sources.

Several DuPont renewably sourced products already

are in the market and can be found in textile, automotive,

cosmetics, personal care and industrial applications. Adriano

Bassanini, DuPont BioMaterials leader, Europe, Middle East

& Africa, received the award on behalf of DuPont. “This is

an achievement we should be proud of. Bioplastics lie at the

heart of our growing business platform,” Adriano said.

“This diverse approach makes DuPont rather unique in the

industry, as most other companies are focusing on a narrow

range of bio-based chemistry for their biomaterials portfolio.

Frost & Sullivan is therefore proud to confer this award to

DuPont,” said Dr. Brian Balmer of Frost & Sullivan.

FKuR and

Ritter Pen

got award for innovation

Biograde ® from German FKuR Kunststoff GmbH, in

the form of the new Bio-Pen from the writing utensils

manufacturer Ritter-Pen GmbH has been granted the

award for innovation ‘Biomaterial of the year 2008’.

Biograde is a transparent, injection mouldable

bioplastic based on cellulose. This co-developed

product from FKuR and Fraunhofer UMSICHT combines

renewable and biodegradable cellulose acetate with

special additives and coupler by means of an adapted

biocompounding process from FKuR. Biograde is

transparent (depending on grade), dyeable, scratch and

heat resistant. The cellulose acetate used is gained

from European soft wood. Bio-Pen is a new series of

writing utensils from Ritter-Pen for the ecologically

aware consumer. 80 % of the ball pen is made from the

renewable and compostable Biograde.

“With the help of Biograde Ritter-Pen is able to

develop aesthetically appealing writing utensils that

meet the consumers´ wish for eco-friendly products.

Biograde is injection mouldable, and what is more even

dyeable and printable”, says Fredy Büchler, managing

director from Ritter-Pen. “Together with Ritter-Pen we

are very pleased about the award, since it confirms that

with the development of injection mouldable bioplastics

we are in the pulse of time.”, explains Dr. Edmund

Dolfen, managing director of FKuR. Bioplastics are a

class of polymer which have properties comparable to

conventional polymers, but are made from renewable

resources or enable the biodegradability of the products

made from this material.

The innovation award ‘Biomaterial of the year 2008’

has been granted by the company Reifenhäuser GmbH

& Co. KG within the framework of the international

congress ‘Raw Material Shift & Biomaterials’ of the

nova-institute on in Cologne the 3rd /4th December.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


2008 - Bioplastics

Awards - 2009

The winners of the third Bioplastics

Awards organized by European

Plastics News (EPN) were

announced in Munich, Germany, on

3 December 2008.

bioplastics MAGAZINE as a media

partner of this award presents the

winners below.

We are particularly proud that EPN

asked bioplastics MAGAZINE to be part of

the judging panel for the next awards.

So we are happy to ask our readers to

supply suggestions for the Bioplastics

Awards 2009. Your entry should say:

1. What your product, service or

development is (up to 200 words)

2. What your product, service or

development does (up to 200 words)

3. Why you think your product, service

or development should win an award

(Up to 200 words)

4. What your company or organisation


Your entry should also include

photographs and may be supported

with samples, marketing brochures

and/or technical documentation.

You find a pdf-form for such

entries at our website or at

The 2008 winners are:

Best Innovation in Bioplastics

Biopolymer Network – New Zealand

Expanded PLA Foaming Process

The New Zealand-based research partnership Biopolymer Network

has developed a simple and cost effective process for producing low

density expanded PLA polymer foams suitable for many applications

currently catered for with expanded polysytrene. The development

involves a controlled process for impregnation and pre-expansion of

PLA beads using carbon dioxide as a blowing agent. Careful control

of the impregnation process conditions avoids premature foaming of

the beads, which can be stored and processed using existing EPS

processing equipment. A key attraction of the technology is its ability

both to substitute a petrochemical- based polymer with a biobased

alternative together with its elimination of hydrocarbon-based blowing

agents. Foams with densities down to 30 g/litre and with good resilience

and impact properties have been achieved using the technology

with commercially available PLA resins. No polymer pre-treatment

is required and the carbon dioxide blowing agent can be recovered

during processing. Biopolymer Network has trialled the technology

on existing

m a n u f a c t u r i n g

plant and is

currently securing

patent protection.

Best Bioplastics Processor

Gehr Plastics – Germany

Semifinished products

While bioplastics are quite widely used

in the packaging industry, access to the

materials in other sectors of industry has been

less easy. German semi-finished products

producer Gehr Plastics has taken that on

board in its EcoGehr product line, which

makes renewable and natural fibre reinforced

materials available to plastics fabricators for

the first time. Gehr Plastics has invested

considerable R&D effort into preparing itself

for the introduction of its EcoGehr product

line, which includes polymers ranging from

PLA through to castor-oil derived polyamides

such as PA 6.10 and 11. It has already

supplied products for evaluation in markets

as diverse as snow-ski core materials and

cosmetics components. As the first semifinished

plastic producer to assemble a full

range of bio-based and renewable semifinished

plastic products, Gehr Plastics has

marked itself out as a pioneer in bioplastics


bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Best Bioplastics Application – Packaging

Amcor Flexibles – UK

Compostable fresh produce pack

Amcor Flexibles worked with packaging specialist Flextrus,

to develop the packaging for the UK retailer Sainsbury’s So

Organic wild rocket salad. Sainsbury’s requirements for the

pack was to deliver a home compostable product that would

retain barrier performance and heat seal integrity in the

wet environment required for fresh salads. The companies

developed the Natureplus TDH2 product around a film structure

comprised of Innovia’s Natureflex cellulose film combined with

a proprietary compostable sealing layer. No adhesive layer is

required. The solution overcomes the moisture sensitivity of the

cellulose film, enabling it to deliver seal performance similar

to a PET/PE laminate and to run at line speeds similar to

traditional alternatives. The TDH2 film is produced by Flextrus

and converted to bags by Amcor.


Best Bioplastics Application – Non-Packaging

Formax Quimiplan – Brazil

Renewable TPU shoe components

Thermogreen is the latest range of counters and toe puffs

(structural shoe components) from Brazilian footwear industry

supplier Formax Quimiplan and is the first industrialscale

application of renewable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

in the shoe industry. Counters and toe puffs are technically

demanding parts that reinforce the shoe structure and are

essential in maintaining them. The TPUs used to make the

Thermogreen products were developed for the application

by Merquinsa of Spain. Aside from the sourcing of renewable

materials, they also provide a lower activation temperature,

making further energy savings possible during moulding.

Bioplastics Marketing Initiative

Nestlé Confectionery – UK

Quality Street brand recycling campaign

Nestlé Confectionery’s decision to repackage its market

leading UK chocolate sweet range meant communicating the

end-of-life options for a wide variety of packaging materials.

The company’s solution was to develop its ‘Recycling Cycle’

story board. Printed on the base of every tin, it promotes how

each element in the packaging should be handled or recycled at

the end of life, including the specially developed range of home

compostable cellulose twist wrappers developed for the project

by Innovia Films. The ‘Recycling Cycle’ makes it very clear to

consumers that the plastic twist wraps will decompose on the

home compost heap.

Personal Contribution to Bioplastics

Oliver P. Peoples CSO

and co-founder, Metabolix

With the first commercial scale Mirel PHA production

plant set to begin production this year at Clinton, Iowa,

USA, Oliver P. Peoples is closer now than ever to

realising the dream of seeing biotechnology research

converted into large scale production of bioplastics. A

graduate of molecular biology from the University of

Aberdeen in Scotland, Oliver joined the Massachusetts

Institute of Technology in the US as a research scientist

in its Department of Biology in 1988. In 1992, Oliver cofounded

Metabolix with MIT microbiologist Anthony

J. Sinskey and took on the position of Chief Scientific

Officer with responsibility for all of its scientific


Read all details about Oliver P. Peoples achievements as well

as more info about the 2008 and 2009 Bioplastics Awards at

Chris Smith (EPN) and Angela Beatriz Stroeher, Market

Development Manager Formax Quimiplan

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Event Review



and CO 2

Salone Internazionale del Gusto in Turin, Italy, is a bi-yearly

‘slow-food’ event that calls upon chefs, winemakers, caterers,

journalists and experts to focus on biodiversity and

food education. Last year the Salone set itself a new challenge

which underlines the importance of environmental impact, energy

resources and CO2 emissions.

In accordance with its philosophy, Salone del Gusto 2008 (23-

27 October) was planned with a system-designed approach

built around new strategies allowing reduction in environmental

impact, promoting eco-sustainable lifestyles and patterns of

consumption. This includes sourcing energy supplies from local

renewable resources, facilitating waste disposal and reducing

environmental impact. In this option the resources are abundant,

seasonally renewable, easily obtainable, cost effective, and have

potential re-use as fertilisers.

The Salone put newly planned solutions in place to contain

carbon emissions, and then to achieve zero emissions by offsetting

carbon levels with planting of trees in a park on the banks of the

river Po in the Turin area, to be accompanied by other initiatives

aimed at protecting the river‘s biodiversity.

This project was developed with a system-designed view by

Slow Food, Piedmont Region, the Municipality of Turin, Industrial

Design-Turin Polytechnic, Fondazione Zeri, along with Novamont

and other partners.

Several areas of the event are involved in the project, such

as the furnishings (elimination of the carpeting, etc.), waste

production (a waste disposal method aiming at 50% separation)

and packaging (biodegradable carrier bags, glass packaging for

the Presidia, collection and recycling of PET bottles, upgrading

of steel packaging, etc.). Other areas include: the utensils for

eating food in the Terra Madre and Ideale cafeterias (Mater-

Bi® tableware sets), the logistics for transporting goods and the

delegates and visitors of Terra Madre (motor vehicles with reduced

environmental impact, incentives for using public transportation,

etc.), energy resources and CO2 emissions (obtaining energy from

local renewable sources, planting local trees in the fluvial park of

the river Po in the Turin area, etc.).

Novamont, a leading company in the bioplastics sector,

contributed to this new project thanks to its many years of

experience and the results it has obtained by designing new

systems that promote the role of bioplastics. The company is

10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Del Gusto










a concrete example of the active contribution that this

material is making to sustainable development and the

reinforcement of new industrial policies that can meet the

needs of the economy with sustainability and create an

integrated system of chemistry, agriculture, industry and

the environment for a „truly sustainable development“

with low environmental impact.

Novamont made its contribution to the project by

supplying the event with about 200,000 sets of tableware

made of Mater-Bi® and cellulose pulp. This exclusive

distribution of disposable biodegradable and compostable

Mater-Bi products will yield an estimated 11,000 kg

of compost from the collection of 27,000 kg of organic

refuse. This translates as a saving of about 20,000 kg in

unsorted refuse destined for landfill or incineration.

An LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) study comparing

meals served with compostable disposable products

and traditional disposable plasticware showed that

68kg of CO2 emission were saved for every 1000 meals

(the figure has been adjusted down for Turin‘s Salone

del Gusto, given probable lower levels of leftovers). The

project estimates overall carbon savings equivalent to

450 fewer vehicles moving around Turin each day for the

four days of the event (on a 50 Km per car per day basis).

In non-renewable energy terms, savings translate as 515

kWh per thousand meals served, or the switching off of

26,000 50-Watt bulbs for the four days of the event.

Featuring top industry speakers including:


University Distinguished Professor,

Michagan State University, USA


Technology Transfer Manager, Polymers & Materials,

National Non Food Crops Centre, UK


Research Leader, Bioproduct Chemistry & Engineering,



Associate Professor,

Utrecht University, The Netherlands


Manager, Industrial Biotech Council,


Register today!

For delegate registration options

(including pre conference forums), please contact

Victoria Adair on +44 (0)207 099 0600,


or fax +44 (0)207 900 1853.

Please quote reference BF15A

Organised by:


Ford Mustang (Photo: Ford)

Bioplastics in

Automotive Applications

CO 2

Reduction (Million Ibs.)














Program Using

Soy Foam

in 2008


If Migrated

to all FMC


CO 2 reduction when using soy foam

(source: Ford)


To update ourselves on the latest bioplastics

developments in the automotive industry bioplastics

MAGAZINE spoke to Ellen Lee, Plastics Research Technical

Expert in the Materials and Nanotechnology Department

of Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan, USA.

One of Ford’s projects that is now in production is soybased

polyurethane foam with a total soy content of 5%

of the pad weight. Among the first cars that had such

products was the 2008 model of the Ford Mustang. “Today

it’s in over a million Ford vehicles,” as Ellen comments,

“including the Ford F150, Ford Mustang, Ford Focus, Ford

Escape, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Mercury

Mariner”. The polyurethane contains soy-based polyol and

is applied to seat backs and seat cushions.

All Ford programs using soy foam in 2008 lead to a CO 2

reduction of 2,400 tons (5.3 million lbs) per year. If soy

foam technology was migrated to all Ford Motor Company

vehicles, this would result in a reduction of about 6,500

tons (14.3 million lbs) of CO 2 per year.

But it is not only the soy oil that is being exploited.

Researchers at Ford also found interest in the soy flour or

soy meal, which is the residue after extracting the oil. Ford

is investigating using these substances as reinforcements

or fillers for a lot of materials including rubber and


Injection Moulded

Natural Fibre PP

Components (Photo: Ford)

Ford also applies a lot of natural fiber reinforced

materials, as most automotive companies have been doing

for many years. Most of these are compression moulded

12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4



headrest bag



Natural fiber

reinforced PP


PU foam


PP side shields

Upcycled water

bottles to PBT

seat clips

Ford’s EnviroSeat (source: Ford)

kg CO 2

emissions per vehicle

applications using conventional thermoplastics. For the

Ford Taurus X, for example, the third row seat back is

made of kenaf reinforced PP (50% by weight NF loading).

In addition Ford is looking into injection moldable, natural

fiber reinforced resins – including PLA. “Research is going

on in our laboratories,” says Ellen, “that also includes

thermoset materials such as SMC with soy or corn based

matrix materials and natural fibers as reinforcement.“

In terms of PLA, besides injection moldable natural

fiber reinforced applications, Ford is evaluating the use

of films and fibers/textiles. “Currently the PLA materials

that are commercially available on a large scale don’t offer

the durability that we need for internal applications,” Ellen

points out, ”so that one of our focus points – together

with the raw material suppliers – is to try to increase that

durability for hot and humid climates.”

At NatureWorks’ ‘Innovation takes Root’ conference last

September in Las Vegas, Ellen highlighted Ford CEO Alan









Conventional Seat



Fabric + film Side shields Seat back Total

Environmental impact of Ford’s EnviroSeat (source: Ford)

Reduced environmental impact

Mulally’s commitment to offer their customers affordable,

environmentally friendly technologies in their vehicles.

This translates down into their fundamental work to

improve the performance specifically of Ingeo PLA

resin in injection molding via crystallinity modification.

Starting from a comprehensive review of automotive

requirements, from temperature, to moisture, to scuff,

dent, and ding resistance in exterior parts, UV weathering

characteristics, and for underhood applications, corrosion

and cyclic fatigue resistance, Ellen highlighted where Ford

sees potential for Ingeo in automotive applications in

the shorter term. In textiles, this includes, carpet, floor

mats, and upholstery; in interior parts, in injection molded

applications such as trim, knobs, buttons, and nonappearance

parts; and finally, in Ford’s own manufacturing

processes, in packaging and protective wrap.

Other biobased materials which Ford is currently

working on include thermoset polyesters with bio and

recycled contents, Polyolefins derived from renewable

resources (e.g., sugarcane) and more. The picture above

shows Ford’s so called ‘EnviroSeat’, a study of which

parts of a seat could be made of materials coming from

renewable resources.


Toyota Motor Corporation have announced plans to

increase the use of plant-derived, carbon-neutral plastics

in more vehicle models, starting with a new hybrid vehicle

this year. Carbon-neutral in Toyota’s understanding

means zero net CO 2 emissions over the entire lifecycle of

the product. Toyota’s newly developed plastics, collectively

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 13


referred to as ‘Ecological Plastic’, are to be used in scuff

plates, headliners, seat cushions and other interior vehicle

parts. By the end of 2009 Toyota aims for Ecological Plastic

to account for approximately 60 percent of the interior

components in vehicles that feature it.

Lexus 2010 HS 250h (Photo: Lexus)

Table1: Ecological plastic

application and materials used

There are basically two types of Ecological Plastic: the

first is produced completely from plant-derived materials

and the second from a combination of plant-derived and

petroleum-derived materials. Because plants play a role

in either type, Ecological Plastic emits less CO 2 during a

product‘s lifecycle (from manufacture to disposal) than

plastic made solely from petroleum; it also helps reduce

petroleum use, as stated by Toyota.

Ecological Plastic adequately meets the heat-resistance

and shock-resistance demands of vehicle interiors

through the use of various compounding technologies,

such as those allowing molecular-level bonding and

homogeneous mixing of plant-derived and petroleumderived

raw materials. And being equal to conventional

plastics in terms of quality and productivity means that it

can be used in the production of vehicles.

Interior vehicle parts using

Ecological Plastic

Scruff plates, cowl side trim,

floor finish plate, toolbox

Headliner, sun visors,

pillar covers

Trunk liner

Door trim

* non-food source

Where used


Combined raw materials


Throughout Polylactic acid Polypropylene


(fibrous portion)


(fibrous portion)

Base material

Plant-derived polyester

Polylactic acid

Kenaf fibre* and

Polylactic acid

Seat cushion Foam portion Polyol derived

from castor oil*





(not used)

Polyol, isocyanate

(cross-linking agent)

Lexus 2010 HS 250h (Photo: Lexus)

Toyota make clear that they will continue to develop

various advanced technologies aimed at realizing

sustainable mobility and that they believe that it is

important to increase the availability of such technologies

in the marketplace. Toyota intends to pursue research

and development and practical applications that result in

expanded use of Ecological Plastic in vehicle parts.


A few weeks ago Lexus revealed the 2010 HS 250h, the

world’s first dedicated luxury hybrid vehicle, at the North

American International Auto Show in Detroit. The HS 250h

will be Lexus’ fourth hybrid and the most fuel-efficient

vehicle in its lineup. It will also be the first Lexus to proactively

adopt plant-based, carbon-neutral ‘Ecological

Plastic’ materials (as known from Toyota, see above) in a

new futuristic cockpit and interior design.

Among the areas of utilization will be an industry-first

14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


use in luggage-trim upholstery. Other areas are the cowlside

trim, door scuff plate, tool box area, floor-finish

plate, seat cushions, and the package tray behind the rear

seats. Overall, approximately 30 percent of the interior and

luggage area is covered with Ecological Plastic. Over the

estimated lifecycle of the vehicle, the HS 250h will have

approximately 20 percent less carbon-dioxide emission as

a result of utilizing the Ecological Plastic trim pieces.


Last year Mazda introduced its innovative bioplastic

internal consoles and bio-fabric seats in its Mazda 5

model (in some countries also marketed under the brand

name Premacy).

Up to 30 percent of the interior parts in the Mazda 5

will be made of bio-material components, as Takahiro

Tochioka, Senior Research Engineer from Mazda Motor

Corporation‘s Technical Research Centre mentioned

within the framework of EcoInnovasia 2008 last October

in Bangkok. “We want to show that Mazda is committed to

saving the environment,“ he said.

Bioplastics used for vehicles need to have higher

strength and heat thresholds than ordinary plastics, as

Mr. Tochioka explained. Thus Mazda set out to correct

bioplastic‘s well-known weak points. “It needs to be

highly elastic to prevent breaks in accidents and it needs

to be able to tolerate high temperatures from sunlight.

Bioplastic is well known for its rather inadequate heatresistant

qualities,“ Mr Tochioka said.

Mazda’s bio-materials used in the Premacy have

been specially designed to meet such requirements.

According to Mazda, the next step is to develop the

materials to allow for bioplastic use on the car‘s exterior.



At the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show in mid-November

Honda revealed the Honda FC Sport design study model, a

hydrogen-powered, three-seat sports car concept.

According to Honda: “The glacier white body color

conveys the FC Sport‘s clean environmental aspirations

while the dark wheels and deeply tinted glass provide

a symbolic contrast befitting the vehicle‘s unique

combination of clean power and high performance.”

Green construction techniques further contribute to a

reduced carbon footprint. An organic, bio-structure theme

is carried through to the body construction where exterior

panels are intended to use plant-derived bio-plastics.

Mazda Premacy (Photo: Mazda)


Hydrogen fuel cell-powered Honda FC Sport design study model

shown at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show (Photo: Honda)

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 15


powered by sunshine

Phylla –

Last summer the Northern Italian Region of Piedmont

presented its ‘Veicolo Urbano Multi-Ecologico e

Sostenibile’ (Multi-ecological City Car) project

‘Phylla’. The innovative, zero-emission concept car,

that captures solar energy to power its electric motors,

presents many environment friendly technologies. It was

developed by CRF (Fiat Research Centre) and designed

by two Turin-based colleges - Istituto Europeo di Design

(IED) and Istituto di Arte Applicata e Design IAAD.

The 2+2 seat sub-A-segment concept car is only 2.99

metres long and weighs about 750 kg. It has a lightweight

body consisting of an aluminium frame and outer

trim components made of a bioplastic material from

Novamont. One special feature of the vehicle is its flexible

‘split-frame’ architecture, where the passenger cabin is

separated from the frame. This makes it possible to use

different body styles on the same platform. The bioplastic

materials support the lightweighting of the car and in

addition take into account the EU Directive scheduled to

come into force in mid 2010. This Directive demands that

all new vehicles must be up to 85% recyclable and up to

95% reusable. As most of the plastics used for the Phylla

are either compostable or recyclable these specifications

can be easily fulfilled.

The car is propelled by solar-powered, electric battery

motors that drive all four of its wheels. That is one of the

reasons for the name ‘Phylla’ which means ‘leaf‘ in ancient

Greek and communicates its ability to convert solar light

into energy. The range of the Phylla of approximately

145 km with a lithium ion battery can be boosted to 220 km

when a lithium polymer battery is used.

In addition to the bioplastics for the car body Novamont

has contributed to the design of this innovative vehicle

by providing its technology and experience in the

manufacture of bio-tyres. Using renewable resources of

agricultural origin Novamont has created a bio-filler which

replaces the carbon black and silica of traditional tyres,

guaranteeing innumerable advantages from the economic

and environmental points of view.

Even with ‘traditional’ cars the new Novamont tyres save

on fuel consumption thanks to their lower rolling resistance

(over €150 savings on 15,000 km driven in a year). They

also reduce tread wear and CO 2 emissions (10 g/km) and

thus atmospheric pollution, as well as combating noise

and noise pollution and lowering levels of energy used in

the manufacturing process. Technically, the tyre weight is

also reduced and safety performance improved thanks to

excellent road-holding in wet conditions.

The multi-ecological city car project is perfectly in line

with the mission of Novamont, which has from the outset

striven to provide solutions to the urgent problems of

environmental pollution by using renewable resources of

agricultural origin, minimising post-manufacture waste

by-products and developing low environmental impact


16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


W E S P E A K Y O U R L A N G U A G E .



produced by


Innovative partnership

approach for

PLA production

PURAC from Gorinchem, The Netherlands, a pioneer in the

field of lactic acid and lactide, team up with Sulzer Chemtech

and other plastics industry-partners to offer a unique approach

that lowers the entry barrier and development time for the

production of PLA.

Purac has been producing lactic acid and derivatives for a variety of

applications for more than 70 years. “It is the innovative capabilities

that enable us to offer products in a very high purity so that our

qualities have set the standards” says Ruud Reichert, Business

Manager of Purac. Today Purac is the market leader with over 65%

market share in lactic acid. In addition, Purac has been producing

lactide and PLA for bio-medical applications for 18 years. These

PLA types stand out due to their high molecular weight, controlled

microstructure, crystallinity and the high purity, resulting in superior

mechanical and thermal properties, as Ruud points out.

PLA production partnership

About two years ago, Purac decided to make a major shift in the

company’s strategy to extend the portfolio from lactic acid into D- and

L-lactides for the production of PLA for industrial use. This should

make it easier for potential customers to produce their own PLA.

Lactides are cyclic lactic acid dimers (ring-molecules consisting

of two lactic acid molecules), or better PLA monomers, which can

be polymerized to PLA by ring-opening-polymerization. Purac’s

process for lactide production allows to keep racemization low1

and therefore the amount of mesolactide formed in the process low.

“Compared to the process of direct polycondensation of lactic acid to

PLA, this intermediate step via lactide allows us to create significantly

higher quality of PLA,” explains Hans van der Pol, Purac’s Marketing


Knowing about the PLA-quality and the high purity of L and D

lactides 1 customers started to ask if Purac could supply a process to

make PLA from their lactide. The fit of technologies from the Swiss

company Sulzer Chemtech with the Purac concepts promted both

companies to start a partnership for PLA technology development

based on Purac lactides.

One of the drivers was the proven static mixer technology of Sulzer

Chemtech. Based on this technology and the experience with lactide,

the two companies together developed a new cost effective process.

18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4



“The process consists of two steps:” says Hans van der Pol, “the

polymerization and the devolatilization, where residual monomers

are removed from the polymer. The Sulzer Chemtech’s system offers

a very mild process with a good temperature control and a very

efficient high vacuum devolatilization process. “The process allows

for flexibility in the end-product architecture and allows for high

molecular weight, controllable polydispersity and a low color,“ as

Hans points out. “This allows our partners the flexibility to produce

relatively pure and high quality PLLA and PDLA with superior physical

properties, or amorphous grades of PLA.”

Unique business model

“Due to its strong technology position in lactic acid production and

processing, it is a logical step for Purac to extend its position one step

further in the value-chain, thereby facilitating polymers and plastics

producers to make the step into bio-plastics production. Because the

economy of scale effect of lactide production is much higher than the

scale effect of the polymerization, polymer producers can invest in

smaller plants. Step by step integration as the market grows allows

for a phased approach and reduced risks.” says Ruud Reichert.

In order to be able to offer a complete solution for polymerization

to its lactide customers, Purac and Sulzer Chemtech in close

collaboration have developed a polymerization process that works

uniquely with Purac lactides. “By combining these Lactides in new

and creative ways, the improvement of the PLA heat-stability through

stereocomplexation concepts– one of its key issues – can become a

reality,” Hans van der Pol says. “Purac’s Innovation center has recently

demonstrated the ability to produce cups with a heat-stability of over

100°C by injection moulding using less than 5% of PDLA.”

PLA production partners are ideally companies that are already

active in the field of polymerization, compounding and processing of

plastic materials. Based on the use of lactides from Purac, clients

can licence the polymerization process from Sulzer Chemtech

Hans Keist, General Manager Sales EMA, Sulzer Chemtech adds:

“This business model creates something new with a high user value.

Especially because the entry barrier into the PLA market for smaller

producers of plastics has come down. We received a lot of interest

from potential PLA producers.”

PLA Quality

Within the framework of this new business model, customers can

obtain the equipment, raw materials and know-how to produce high

quality PLA in different grades for different applications.

“Most PLA grades that are currently available on the market are

what we call amorphous types (A-PLA), says Hans van der Pol. “These

grades have relatively high amounts of random D-lactic acid units in

the chains and their HDT is relatively low.”

High temperature PLA

A better PLA grade that can be produced with almost 100% pure

L(+) lactic acid (PLLA with less than 2 % D(-)) shows a melting point

of about 180°C. “If we now produce pure PLLA chains and pure

PDLA chains and eventually can combine these to stereo-block-

Lactide and PLA technogogy


The total PLA solution


Stereo-block PLA






pure PLA


Stereo-complex Technology

PLA Process Technology

D-Lactic Unit

PLA is actually a family of (co-)polymers

of D- and L-lactic units

% D










Coating film

Injection moulding





PLA grades and applications

Plant design

Polymerization technology

L-Lactic Unit









No T m

increasing T m

2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5

Relative viscosity




Biax film

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 19



copolymers by transesterification it is possible to achieve

melting points of 200°C,” as Hans explains, “and the top

of the list of possible variations is the stereocomplex type

(scPLA) with melting points of 220-240°C.” And he adds:

“It is so important to have the possibility to produce these

different types of PLA because different applications ask

for different properties and thus for different grades.

Purac has produced D-lactic acid last year for the first

time on an industrial scale and will dedicate a whole lactic

acid plant to its production. “This is a real breakthrough,”

says Ruud Reichert.

Expanded PLA (particle foam)

The first PLA producer that signed a partner contract to

produce their own PLA is the Dutch company Synbra from

Etten-Leur, a company that has been producing E-PS

(expanded Polystyrene – particle foam) for many years.

As customers from Synbra are increasingly looking for

environmentally benign and sustainable solutions, Synbra

wanted to find a biodegradable alternative based on

renewable resources. Their newly developed E-PLA foam

offers comparable or even better properties compared to

E-PS (see a more detailed report on page 22).

Market Potential …

The picture on this page shows that the base scenario

with the current PLA grades and the limited properties

is not very attractive. Hans van der Pol predicts that the

plastics industry will be involved to create more value

added products and application areas. “You need that

in the current stage in order to make PLA a sustainable

business for the long term.”

Considering this, Purac sees a potential of 500,000

tonnes by 2015. And that is clearly not only packaging.

“We see a huge potential outside the packaging area. New

value added applications are for example electronics, e.g.

phones or flat screens, fibers (where scPLA is necessary

for the processing but also for many applications), hot fill

applications and even in the automobile sector, where

we are seeing sustainability becoming an increasingly

important trend,” says Hans van der Pol.

Purac’s production sites

Purac runs lactic acid plants in Brazil and in the USA

as well as in in Netherlands and in Spain. At all these

locations Purac also produces lactic acid derivatives such

as salt solutions, esters or powder products.

End of 2007 in Thailand a new very efficient plant for L(+)

lactic acid with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes/a was opened.

This enabled Purac to convert its plant in Spain from L(+) to

a dedicated factory for the fermentation of D(-) lactic acid

Volume [Mt]







2005 2010

and lactides. “This is now the first step, but we expect that

by 2015 our partner model will result in factories where

PLA production from sugar is integrated with lactic acid

fermentation and lactide production on a 100 kton scale”

comments Hans van der Pol.


PLA market forecast with plastics technology

With Plastics Technology

- High added value

- Positive PLA margins

Base Scenario

- Low added value appl.

- Negative margins for

PLA producers

Plastics Technology is critical factor for sustainable PLA growth

1: Lactic acid molecules exist either in a L(+) Form (levorotatory

form (the (+)-form) or in a D(-)/form dextrorotatory form (the (-)-

form). The L(+) form tends to transform into D(-) in a process called

racemization. Purac is successful in reducing the racemization to a

minimum in order to achieve very pure L and D-lactides.

Purac produces pure L-lactides (or L(+) lactides consisting of two

L(+) isomers of lactic acid) and pure D-lactides (or D(-) lactides

consisting of two D (-) isomers of lactic acid) (with a purity of about

99%). Lactides consisting of an L(+) and an D(-) isomer are called


PLLA is obtained by polymerization – that is connecting the lactic

acid molecules – of very pure L-lactide. Similarly, PDLA is obtained

from D-lactide monomer.

Stereocomplex PLA is a special kind of PLA with a melting point

of more than 200°C. It is made by mixing PLA and PDLA in a 1 to 1

ratio. Compare it with 2 component glue: the individual components

are soft and plastic, while the mixture hardens to become a strong

and stiff material.

20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Coloured loose fill –

fun for young and old

Coloured loose fill packaging chips have been available

for quite a while already. Just before the

Christmas period German discounter Aldi sold a

product under the brand name Bioplay. The box, marked

‘Automobilset’, showed pictures of cars, traffic lights etc.

The coloured loose fill chips in the box were made from

pure starch rather than the usual polystyrene foam and

were supplied to Aldi by German Pantos Produkt & Vertriebsgesellschaft.

safe, being made of starch and coloured with food dyes.

Even Tiziano Mori, cover-hero of this issue of bioplastics

MAGAZINE and bar-tender at the European Bioplastics

booth, loved the coloured chips. “I was amazed at all the

bioplastics products I saw during my job at interpack. But

these coloured chips were the biggest fun for me” he said.

During interpack 2008 (Düsseldorf, Germany, April 2008)

two large groups of kindergarten kids visited the special

show ‘bioplastics in packaging’. Sponsored by Novamont,

the children were given loads of coloured loose fill chips

to play with, and discovered this as a kind of toy - totally

(Photo: Philipp Thielen)

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 21



PLA as a

particle foam

The product development team of Synbra, Matthijs

Gebraad, Jürgen de Jong and Hans van Sas showing the

largest BioFoam part moulded to date

The first PLA producer that signed a partner contract

with Purac and Sulzer Chemtech (see page 18) to

produce their own PLA is the Dutch company Synbra

from Etten-Leur, a company that has been producing

EPS (expanded Polystyrene – a mouldable styrenics

based particle foam) for many years. Now as customers

from Synbra are increasingly looking for environmentally

benign and sustainable solutions, Synbra wanted to find a

biodegradable alternative based on renewable resources.

Together with the University of Wageningen, The Netherlands,

Synbra had already developed a process for E-PLA

using CO 2 instead of pentane as a blowing agent. Thus the

E-PLA does not contain any volatile organic compounds

(VOCs). The E-PLA foam, now marketed under the brand

name BioFoam ® offers comparable or even better properties

compared to EPS in properties like shock absorption,

insulation value and moulding shrinkage. In order to

better distinguish BioFoam from EPS and other particle

foams, Synbra’s E-PLA plans to colour it in a light green


Although the situation seems to have eased, at the

time they could not buy PLA. Synbra decided to make it

themselves. “NatureWorks told us at that time to come

back in three years“ says Jan Noordegraaf, Managing

Director of Synbra and we would not wait so long”. Earlier

in their polystyrene business Synbra had decided to go one

step further in the value chain and polymerise their own

Polystyrene, so now it was a logic step for them to do the

same with PLA. “Then we found Purac, the market leader

for lactic acid was only 40 km away from us. And Purac

together with Sulzer were offering exactly what we were

looking for, so it was clear for us what we had to do,” adds

Jan Noordegraaf.

22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


In addition, until recently, PLA couldn’t be applied to

applications such as expanded bead foam. The thermal

properties as well as its brittleness did not allow reheating

and expansion, but a solution was found for this. Additional

opportunities are also identified since Purac started a new

D-Lactide production last year, Synbra envisages now

to also to use a stereocomplex PLA made from Purac’s

new D-lactide monomer, yielding foam with microwavable

capabilities. The first results are extremely promising and

prototypes were made.

The prestigious NRK sustainable innovation award 2008/2009

was handed over by MVO chairman Wim Lageweg to Synbra’s

Lex Edelman, Jan Noordegraaf and Wout Abbenhuis

A big advantage is that BioFoam can be custom expanded

to densities between 20-40 grams per litre (g/l), without

a limitation in moulded size. Achievable densities are far

lower than with continuously extruded PLA (in an XPS like

process) which hovers around 100-150g/l. “No wonder,“

Noordegraaf says, ”that particle foam E-PLA is perceived

to be superior to X-PLA and he adds “because E-PLA foam

creates the highest amount of parts per kilo.”

The main markets for BioFoam are for example specialty

packaging for consumer goods and cushion filling made

from biobased materials. The maker of the famous Fatboy

beanbag furniture, the dutch company Fatboy the Original

bv, is about to use BioFoam beads for filling.

For the cold chain transport sector DGP-Group of York

(UK) is the leading launch customer.

End of last year Synbra started up a demonstration and

product development plant located at Sulzer Chemtech

in Switzerland. This unit, for the time being only available

to partners of Purac, shall facilitate both product and

process development to meet various application and

customer demands. A production plant in Etten-Leur, the

Netherlands with a capacity of 5,000 t/a is targeted to be

operational by the end of 2009. Synbra intends to assume

a leading position in Europe as supplier of biologically

degradable foamed polymers from renewable sources and

plans to expand the PLA capacity to 50,000 t/a.

Starting in Europe, Synbra already has plans to bring

their BioFoam to North America in a partnership with

a US based company. “BioFoam will be global,” as Jan

Noordegraaf puts it.

In January 2009 Synbra was awarded the prestigious

PRIMA ondernemen gold innovation award by the Dutch

rubber and plastics association (NRK) for its exemplary

innovative and sustainable development.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 23


Foamed PLA Trays

Depron, from Weert, The Netherlands (a former Hoechst

division) supplies trays of approx. 600 different models for

food packaging, i.e. meat, poultry and vegetable & fruit trays,

for dry, MAP and fresh applications. About 600 million trays

are produced per year. Depron serves the Benelux (market

leader), Germany and France.

First S-Shaped

Loose Fill Made

from Vegetable


Pelaspan Bio is an innovative new product of

Storopack from Metzingen, Germany. The packaging

chips made of vegetable starch have a resilient S-

shape. Thus the individual chips interlock each other

to form an effective padding around the packaged

product, wedging and consequently locking it in

place. Pelaspan Bio is totally biodegradable and

compostable according to EN 13432 without any risk

of ground water contamination.

Pelaspan Bio was developed by Storopack in the

USA for companies aiming to demonstrate their

environmental credentials with a new alternative

to loose fill made of crude oil based plastic. Based

on the success of the polystyrene version, the aim

was to transfer the benefits of the S-shaped chip

to packaging chips made of vegetable starch. This

entailed engineering work to modify the extruder, as

vegetable starch is conventionally produced only in a

simple cylindrical format. The US team determined

the optimum balance between contour and material

density to ensure that the product demonstrated the

right degree of protective resilience, a good blocking

effect and the capability to withstand high contact

pressure. The product has been available in the

Benelux states for quite a while and is now available

in Germany and France too. Other countries are to


Currently supplying mainly trays made of extruded and

thermoformed polystyrene, Depron started experimenting

with bio degradables in its laboratories in 2003. The first

trays were thermoformed in 2004. Alternative raw materials

such as potato- or corn starch were tested as well, resulting

in the final decision to pursue the usage of Ingeo raw

material as supplied by NatureWorks in 2005. Reasons

were the good characteristics (stability) of Ingeo during the

thermoforming process and the looks of this new food tray,

from the consumer point of view.

Depron expects a definite change towards bio products /

food trays in the next 10 years, whereby the substitution

rate towards bio degradable / fully compostable products

is difficult to predict at this point in time. “We expect the

start of a new Ingeo product generation to be in the fruit

& vegetable packaging with one of the leading fruitpackers

in Europe,” says Siebe A. Sonnema, General Manager of

Depron, estimating a potential of 120 million trays per year

per 2010. “Depending on the emerging ‘green policy’ at the

major retailers in the Benelux and government fiscal policy

(i.e. tax on packaging material per 2008) the change towards

bio products will be enhanced,” he says.

Depron decided to use NatureWorks’ Ingeo because

besides the excellent features of the material in the extrusion

and thermoform process, the sustenance from NatureWorks

was impressive, regarding among others the Process Guide,

Q&A facilities with engineers, cross references with other

producers experimenting with PLA and very important as

well, the introduction to Fogarty turbo screws, an essential

part supplier of the extruding process as Bas Zeevenhoven,

Head of R&D emphasizes.

24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Significant Extrusion


Rate Increase for

PLA Foam

Flexible Foam Made of

Starch Based Bioplastic

Glycan Biotechnology Co.,Ltd from Jhongli City, Taiwan

offers different starch and cellulose based bioplastics.

Besides grades such as for injection moulding (Glycan JT-030),

extrusion blow moulding (Glycan JT-035, e.g. for tubes, bottles

or toys) or film blowing (Glycan FT-075, e.g. for shopping bags

or garbage bags) the company also has two flexible starch

based materials for foaming in their product portfolio.

Whereas Glycan ET-045 is suitable for making mattresses,

the second type Glycan WT-065 is ideal for shoes and sandals.

“Even if our material is not as strong as EVA or rubber types

usually used it can be applied for sandals, walking- or sport

shoes as Dr. Robin, Technical Director of Glycan Biotechnology

points out. “Shoes and sandals have a natural character,” he

says, “they are lightweight, comfortable and in winter they can

warm up your feet fast.”

Available colours ore rather soft and can of course be

customized. According to Glycan Biotechnology the foam

is an ‘eco-product’ that – in the right environment – shows

biodegradation after 90 days. “And in waste-to-energy plants

the material burns odorless, non-toxic and without any black

smoke,” Dr. Robin adds.

Glycan Biotechnology, who look back to almost 20 years of

development in their laboratories, have signed international

contracts on environmental protection.

“Our goal is to offer products,

services and solutions of ‘green

technology’ that are hightech

with less cost to meet

the customer’s needs for

various applications”, as

stated by Glycan.

Plastic Engineering

Associates Licensing,

Inc. (PEAL), from Boca

Raton, Florida, USA

recently announced new

trial results. The technical

team has increased

the throughput rate for

NatureWorks Ingeo ® biopolymer

(PLA) extruded

foam by an impressive

40% on a 4.5” x 6.0”

tandem extrusion system.

PEAL expects further

and significant throughput

rate increases as the

Turbo-Screws ® technology

continues to advance

the state of the art of Ingeo biopolymer foam extrusion.

Turbo-Screws technology for PLA foam extrusion is

commercially operating and is available & ready for

the foam food packaging industry today. PEAL is a

preferred equipment supplier to NatureWorks LLC

and Turbo-Screws technology has been recognized

by NatureWorks as the preferred technology for foam

extrusion of NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymers.

Last November PEAL announced its first European

license of its Turbo-Screws technology foam feed

screws for the production of PLA foam sheet & food

containers. “This licensee is a major player in the

European food packaging industry.” said Dave Fogarty,

president of PEAL. “Our new customer told us they

were unhappy with the quality of the PLA foam food

packaging trays currently being made in Europe. They

saw an opportunity to introduce much higher quality

PLA foam food containers. We are very excited to be

a part of the introduction of PLA foam food containers

into the European market. It’s a real win-win for

both companies.” stated Bill Fogarty, V.P. of Plastic

Engineering Associates Licensing, Inc..

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 25

Application News

Salomon Ski-

Boots with


Hytrel RS

The collar of the new

Salomon ‘Ghost’ freerider

alpine ski-boot constitutes

one of the first commercial

uses worldwide of DuPont Hytrel ® RS (renewably-sourced)

thermoplastic elastomer. Providing all the traditional performance

characteristics of Hytrel for such a demanding winter sports application

– including impact resistance and flexibility at low temperatures – the

particular grade of Hytrel RS used contains 27 wt % renewably-sourced


Already familiar with the properties of Hytrel the recent launch of

the renewably-sourced grades caught Salomon’s attention as it sought

to increase the environmental credentials of its latest alpine skiboots.

“We already knew Hytrel could offer the required performance

for the collar of our new ‘Ghost’ freerider boots as an alternative to

polyurethane,” confirms Pascal Pallatin, alpine boot & advanced

research project manager at Salomon (Annecy, France). “The fact that

we could now access a grade of the high performance material with

a significant renewable content is an additional selling point for our


Hytrel RS thermoplastic elastomers provide all the performance

characteristics of traditional Hytrel materials, while offering a more

environmentally friendly solution than petroleum-based products.

Containing between 20% and 60% renewably-sourced material, Hytrel

RS thermoplastic elastomers are made using renewably-sourced polyol

derived from corn or other renewable source – and are, as moulding

for Salomon confirmed, easily processed by conventional thermoplastic

methods. The properties of Hytrel RS of particular relevance to this

ski-boot collar application include excellent flex fatigue and flexibility

at temperatures as low as -20°C (versus polyurethane) and high impact

resistance. The collar is injection moulded as a single piece and

coloured white using masterbatch. The Salomon ‘Ghost’ motif is added

to the collar using pad printing.

Comprehensive field testing by Salomon freeriders has demonstrated

that Hytrel RS best fulfils all requirements for the ski-boot collar in

terms of elasticity, impact resistance, strength and stiffness. “The

freeriders returned with very positive comments on the boot’s behaviour

at low temperatures as well as its consistent behaviour over a wide

temperature range,” concludes Pascal Pallatin.





for Pears

At Fruit Logistica, the international trade

fair for fruit and vegetable marketing Berlin,

Germany (4-6 Feb 2009) Italian packaging

manufacturer ILIP from Bologna introduced

a new packaging designed for pears. Made

from PLA, the practical ILIP clamshell

has four pockets which accommodate

the pears, protecting them from bruising,

and is available in two formats, one for

medium-sized fruit (65-75 cm) and one for

larger fruit (75-85 cm). The base has been

designed so that the tray is suspended

above the bottom of the container, to keep

the fruit in a more protected position. Even

the label bearing the Valfrutta brand is

made from PLA, resulting in a package that

is 100% biodegradable.

At the same exhibition an agreement

signed earlier this year between ILIP and

Valfrutta Fresco was announced. As of this

year, all Valfrutta fresh produce will be sold

in fully biodegradable packs, exploiting

the completeness of the ILIP range of

PLA packaging for the fruit and vegetable


“We are extremely satisfied with this

partnership with Valfrutta,” declared

Riccardo Pianesani, legal representative of

ILPA srl, ILIP Division, “because it allows

us to start 2009 focusing on the issue

which is closest to our hearts, namely

environmental protection, while involving a

leading fruit and vegetable producer in the

use of our eco-compatible materials.”

26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Application News


Decorated Thin-

Walled Injection

Moulded Packaging

Europlastiques from Laval, France has invested

many years in collaborative research into

bioplastics from renewable resources. Thus the

company has acquired sound knowledge about their

characteristics and their processing conditions.

This advance enabled the company to select a

compostable bioplastic material (PLA based) suited

for food contact: Together with Biotech (Sphere

Group) Europlastiques developed a material

type and the processing conditions for injection

moulding it into rigid, thin-walled packing.

“Now we are confident that we are without doubt

among the top European companies in thin-walled

injection moulded industrial packaging for the

food industry,” as Benjamin Barberot, Directeur

Industriel of Europlastiques points out.

In addition these new packages can be decorated

by in-mould-labelling (IML), the printed label itself

being a bioplastic material.

The first commercial products using this kind of

‘bio’-materials are just about to be launched to the


“Upstream of our processing efforts, the

agrochemical industry as well as some of the large

petrochemical companies are heavily investing.

Too,” says Benjamin Barberot, “the industry is

intensively researching to find possible alternatives

to fossil materials. And with ‘euroBIO’, Europlast is

contributing its share by optimizing the processing

to best meet the food packaging specifications”

Plush Chocolates Launch

Fairtrade Chocolates with

Plantic Packaging

Plush Chocolates from Long Compton, UK, a new 100% Fairtrade

company, have just launched their product ranges with ‘eco

friendly’ packaging for their Luxury Fairtrade English and Belgian

Chocolate collections, made possible through Plantic’s sustainable

polymer technology.

Plush Chocolates are known for being made using the finest

Fairtrade ingredients. Plush Chocolates chose the Plantic ® tray,

made from non-GM high amylose corn starch, for its unique

combination of functional and environmental benefits. The

compostable Plantic trays have a renewable resource content of

approximately 85% and offer anti-static and odour barrier solutions,

essential for chocolate packaging.

Plush Chocolates wanted their packaging to do three things:

reflect the high quality of the chocolates inside by being desirable,

tasty and good-looking; show that chocolates made with Fairtrade

ingredients can be just as exciting and dynamic as other products;

and be ethically sound. Plantic packaging ensured all of these

requirements were upheld.

In commenting, Sarah Hobbs, Joint Founding Director said,

“We are so excited about our ‘eco-friendly’ trays and proud to

be among the first people in the UK to sell chocolates in trays

made from Plantic. What is particularly impressive about Plantic

packaging is that it can be disposed of in a home compost and its

energy requirement is approximately half that of petrochemical


Brendan Morris, Chief Executive Officer, Plantic Technologies,

commented, “We are pleased that Plush have chosen to use

Plantic biodegradable packaging for their chocolate trays. In

doing so, Plush are actively leading the way in sustainable-driven

technology, demonstrating their strong commitment to reducing

waste and waste management costs, while providing function and

performance to their customers”.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 27



Article contributed by

Ramani Narayan

University Distinguished Professor

Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science

Michigan State University,

East Lansing, MI, USA

Biodegradability is an end-of-life option that allows

one to harness the power of microorganisms

present in the selected disposal environment to

completely remove plastic products designed for biodegradability

from the environmental compartment via the

microbial food chain in a timely, safe, and efficacious


Because it is an end-of-life option, and harnesses

microorganisms present in the selected disposal

environment, one must clearly identify the ‘disposal

environment’ when discussing or reporting on the

biodegradability of a product – like biodegradability under

composting conditions (compostable plastic), under

soil conditions, under anaerobic conditions (anaerobic

digestors, landfills), or under marine conditions.

Specifying time to complete biodegradation or put in

a better way time to complete microbial assimilation of

the test plastic in the selected disposal environment is an

essential requirement – so stating that it will eventually

biodegrade or it is partially biodegradable or it is

degradable is not acceptable.

High school or college biology/biochemistry teaches

that microorganisms utilize/consume carbon substrates

by transporting the material inside its cell, oxidizing the

carbon to CO 2 , which releases energy that it harnesses

for its life processes (discussed in more detail later in

the paper). So a measure of the evolved CO 2 is a direct

measure of the ability of the microorganisms present in

that disposal environment to utilize the carbon plastic


Unfortunately, there is a growing number of

misleading, deceptive, and scientifically unsubstantiated

biodegradability claims proliferating in the marketplace.

This is causing confusion and skepticism among

consumers, end-users, and other concerned stakeholders

– in turn this is bound to hurt not only the fledgling

bioplastics industry, but the plastics industry as a whole.

Some examples of manufacturer’s product claims are

shown below – the direct quotes from the manufacturer’s

web site or product brochure are shown in italics.

Biodegradable PVC product claim

“Biodegradation process begins only when the bio PVC

film is introduced into an environment (compost, both

commercial and home, trash dump, the ground, lakes, rivers

and the ocean) that allows microorganisms, which break

down matter, to come into constant contact with the bio PVC

film. Once that happens the ‘special ingredients’ attract the

microorganisms that begin to break the hydrogen carbon

chain that exists in the PVC. Once the chain is broken, this

allows oxygen to enter which will attach itself to the hydrogen

and carbon creating H 2 O and CO 2 . The lone chlorine atom

bonds to a hydrogen atom creating a very weak salt that

does not have any adverse effect on the ecosystem. The

biodegradation process works in both aerobic and anaerobic

conditions. So the absence of oxygen or water will not keep

the bio PVC film from biodegrading. All that is needed are the


There is no scientific data provided to substantiate

the complete breakdown and utilization of the PVC by

the microorganisms present in the disposal system

resulting in CO 2 and water as claimed. Furthermore, the

proposed mechanistic chemistry describing the process

would not pass muster in a high school honors chemistry

classroom. However, a major corporation has adopted

the biodegradable PVC card as an environmentally

responsible ‘green’ solution because it is claimed to be


Biodegradable PET product claim

“By having a more earth friendly PET biodegradable

container and becoming a partner in helping to develop

effective recycling programs, we can stem the rising tide

of plastic pollution and leave our world a better place for

future generations. Our bottles are 100% biodegradable in

anaerobic (no oxygen, no light), aerobic and compostable

environments and can be intermingled with standard PET

during recycling. Our patented pending process allows our

bottles to be metabolized and neutralized in the environment,

turning them into inert humus (biomass), biogas (anaerobic)

or CO 2 (aerobic)”

Again, no scientific data showing the 100% carbon

conversion to biogas in an anaerobic environment or CO 2

in an aerobic environment using well established standard

test methods in literature whether from the OECD, ISO,

ASTM, or EN was presented.

28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Sorting through Facts

and Claims

Oxo-biodegradable polyethylene (PE) film claims

”The technology is based on a very small amount of

prodegradant additive being introduced into the manufacturing

process, thereby changing the behavior of the plastic and the

rate at which it degrades. The plastic does not just fragment,

but is then consumed by bacteria and fungi and therefore

continues to degrade to nothing more than carbon dioxide,

water and biomass with no toxic or harmful residues to soil,

plants or macro-organisms”.

“Designed to interact with the microorganisms present

in landfills, composters, and almost everywhere in nature

including oceans, lakes, and forests. These microorganism

metabolize the molecular structure of the plastic breaking it

down into soil”.

“Combined with an oxo-biodegradable proprietary

application method to produce films for bags. This product,

when discarded in soil in the presence of microorganisms,

moisture, and oxygen, biodegrades, decomposing into simple

materials found in nature. Completely breakdown in a landfill

environment in 12-24 months leaving no residue or harmful

toxins and have a shelf life of 2 years”.

In each of the above cases no scientific data showing

carbon conversion to CO 2 using established standard test

methods is documented.

Another company claims a biodegradable plastic based

on an additive technology different from the oxo-degradable

additive class. Their claims reads “Plastic products with

our additives at 1% levels will fully biodegrade in 9 months

to 5 years wherever they are disposed like composting, or

landfills under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions”.

However, the graph of percent biodegradation against

time in days shows the biodegradation curve reaching a

plateau around 20% using a 50% additive master batch. In

the final film samples, the recommended level of additive

is only 1%. So the observed 20% would be even lower.

However, the claim is made that “the results of the aerobic

biodegradation tests, indicate, that in time, plastics produced

using the 1% additive will fully biodegrade.”

There are many more such examples of misleading

claims. Several offer weight loss and other chemical

evidence for the break down of the polymer into

fragments. However, little or no evidence is offered

that these fragments are completely consumed by the

microorganisms present in the disposal environment in a

reasonable defined time period. In a few cases evidence

presented shows partial biodegradation, after which the

biodegradation curve plateaus. However, if one obtains

only 5% or 30% or even 40% biodegradation, there is

serious health and environmental consequences caused

by the non-degraded fragments as it moves through eco

compartments as discussed later.

Fundamental Principles in Biodegradable Plastics

Microorganisms (billions of them per gram of soil)

are present in the environment. Figure 1 shows a low

temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. Coli

bacteria. Designing plastics and products to be completely

consumed (as food) by such microorganisms present in

the disposal environment in a short time frame is a safe

and environmentally responsible approach for the end-oflife

of these single use, short-life disposable packaging

and consumer articles. The key phrase is ‘complete ‘

– if they are not completely utilized, then these degraded

fragments, which may even be invisible to the naked eye,

pose serious environmental consequences.

Microorganisms utilize the carbon product to extract

chemical energy for their life processes. They do so by:

1. breaking the material (carbohydrates, carbon product)

into small molecules by secreting enzymes or the

environment (temperature, humidity, sunlight) does it.

2. Transporting the small molecules inside the

microorganisms cell.

3. Oxidizing the small molecules (again inside the cell) to

CO 2 and water, and releasing energy that is utilized by

the microorganisms for its life processes in a complex

biochemical process involving participation of three

metabolically interrelated processes (tricarboxylic

acid cycle, electron transport, and oxidative


Figure 1 (Source:

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 29


Unfortunately, all the focus is on demonstrating the

break down or degradation of the carbon product (like

weight loss, or oxidation levels) but no data on how much

and in what time frame did the microorganisms present

in the disposal environment consume the carbon food.

This is how it gets misused and abused – by focusing only

on the degradation but no data showing the utilization

of the fragments by the microorganisms present in the

disposal environment. Break down (decomposition) by

non-biological processes or even biological processes,

generates fragments that is utilized by the microorganisms,

but also leaves behind fragments (and in some cases 50-

80% of the original weight) which in many cases has been

shown to be detrimental and toxic to the ecosystem.

This constitutes only degradation/fragmentation, and

not biodegradation. As will be shown later, hydrophobic

polymer fragments pose great risk to the environment,

unless the degraded fragments are completely consumed

as food and energy source by the microorganisms present

in the disposal system in a very short period (one year)

that is the degraded fragments must be completely

removed from the environment by safely entering into the

food chain of the microorganisms.

Measurement of Biodegradability

Microorganisms use the carbon substrates to extract

chemical energy that drives their life processes by

aerobic oxidation of glucose and other readily utilizable C-


C - substrate + 6O 2

→ 6CO 2

+ 6H 2

O, ∆G 0 = - 686 kcal/mol

(CH 2

O) x

; x = 6

Thus, a measure of the rate and amount of CO 2 evolved

in the process is a direct measure of the amount and rate

of microbial utilization (biodegradation) of the C-polymer.

This forms the basis for various international standards

for measuring biodegradability or microbial utilization

of the test polymer/plastics. Thus, one can measure the

rate and extent of biodegradation or microbial utilization

of the test plastic material by using it as the sole added

carbon source in a test system containing a microbially

rich matrix like compost in the presence of air and under

optimal temperature conditions (preferably at 58°C

– representing the thermophilic phase). Figure 2 shows

a typical graphical output that would be obtained if one

were to plot the percent carbon from the plastic that is

converted to CO 2 as a function of time in days. First, a lag

phase during which the microbial population adapts to the

available test C-substrate. Then, the biodegradation phase

during which the adapted microbial population begins to

utilize the carbon substrate for its cellular life processes,

as measured by the conversion of the carbon in the test

material to CO 2 . Finally, the output reaches a plateau when

utilization of the substrate is largely complete. Standards

such as ASTM D 6400 (see also D 6868), EN 13432, ISO

17088 etc. are based on this principle.

The fundamental requirements of these world-wide

standards discussed above for complete biodegradation

under composting conditions are:

1. Conversion to CO 2 , water & biomass via microbial

assimilation of the test polymer material in powder,

film, or granule form.

2. 90% conversion of the carbon in the test polymer to CO 2 .

The 90% level set for biodegradation in the test accounts

for a +/- 10% statistical variability of the experimental

measurement; in other words, there is an expectation

for demonstration of virtually complete biodegradation

in the composting environment of the test.

3. Same rate of biodegradation as natural materials –

leaves, paper, grass & food scraps

4. Time – 180 days or less; (ASTM D6400 also has the

requirement that if radiolabeled polymer is used and the

radiolabeled evolved CO 2 is measured then the time can

be extended to 365 days).

Two further requirements are also of importance :

Disintegration -


% C conversion to CO 2

(% biodegradation)













biodegradation degree

biodegradation phase

plateau phase

Polymer chains with

susceptible linkages

Environment - soil,

compost,waste water

plant, marine




Oligomers & polymer fragments




defined time

frame, no



0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180

Time (days)

Figure 2: Test method to measure the rate and extent of

microbial utilization (biodegradation) of biodegradable plastics

Figure 3: Complete biodegradation

CO 2

+ H 2

O + Cell biomass

concentrate these chemicals, resulting in a toxic legacy in

a form that may pose risks in the environment. Japanese

researchers (Mato et al., 2001) have similarly reported

that PCBs, DDE, and nonylphenols (NP) can be detected

in high concentrations in degraded polypropylene (PP)

resin pellets collected from four Japanese coasts. This

work indicates that plastic residues may act as a transport

medium for toxic chemicals in the marine environment.

Therefore, designing hydrophobic polyolefin plastics,

like polyethylene (PE) to be degradable, without ensuing

that the degraded fragments are completely assimilated

by the microbial populations in the disposal infrastructure

in a short time period, has the potential to harm the

environment more than if it was not made degradable.

These concepts are illustrated in Figure 3 which shows

that heat, moisture, sunlight and/or enzymes shorten

and weaken polymer chains, resulting in fragmentation

of the plastic and some cross-linking creating more

intractable persistent residues. It is even possible to

accelerate the breakdown of the plastics in a controlled

fashion to generate these fragments, some of which could

be microscopic and invisible to the naked eye. However,

this degradation/fragmentation is not biodegradation per

see and these degraded, hydrophobic polymer fragments

pose potential risks in the environment unless they are

completely assimilated by the microbial populations

present in the disposal system in a relatively short period.


The take home message is very simple --

Biodegradability is an end-of-life option for single

use disposable, packaging, and consumer plastics

that harnesses microbes to completely utilize the

carbon substrate and remove it from the environmental

compartment -- entering into the microbial food chain.

However, biodegradability must be defined and constrained

by the following elements:

• The disposal system – composting, anaerobic digestor,

soil, marine.

• Time required for complete microbial utilization in the

selected disposal environment – short defined time

frame, and in the case of composting the time frame is

defined as 180 days or less.

• Complete utilization of the substrate carbon by

the microorganisms as measured by the evolved

CO 2 (aerobic) and CO 2 + CH 4 (anaerobic) leaving no


• Degradability, partial biodegradability, or will eventually

biodegrade is not an option! – Serious health and

environmental consequences can occur as documented

in literature.

• Measured quantitatively by established International,

and National Standard Specifications -- ASTM D6400

for composting environment, ASTM D6868 for coatings

on paper substrates in composting environment, ASTM

D7081 marine environment, European specification,

EN13432 for compostable packaging, and International

ISO 17088 for composting environment.

• If other disposal environments like landfills, anaerobic

digestor, soil, and marine are specified, then data

must be provided showing time required for complete

biodegradation using established standardized ASTM,

ISO, EN, OECD methods.

• All stakeholders should review biodegradability claims

against ‘data’ and if necessary use a third party

independent laboratory to verify and validate the data

using established standardized test methods and

specifications, and based on the fundamental principles

and concepts outlined in this paper.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 31


Life Cycle Assessment

Extract from a Position Paper

of European Bioplastics e.V.

Berlin, Germany

of Bioplastics


Topics such as sustainable development, fossil and

natural resources availability, global climate change and

waste reduction are increasingly dominating political

and industrial agendas. Therefore, the relevance of the

environmental performance of processes, products

and services in decision-making is rapidly growing. The

relatively new group of materials called bioplastics 1 does

offer new opportunities to contribute to these debates.

A wide range of bioplastics is currently available on the

market. (…)

This growing market has also led to an increasing

interest in the sustainability 1 of these new materials. (…)

The key measurement tool to assess products’

or services’ environmental impact is the Life Cycle

Assessment (LCA). Through LCA it is possible to account

for all the environmental impacts associated with a

product or service, covering all stages in a product’s life,

from the extraction of resources to ultimate disposal. LCA

is the tool that allows measurement of and reporting on

current impacts, alternative scenarios and improvements


LCA can provide data:

• to improve the general understanding of the life cycle

of products;

• to substantiate environmental and economical decisions

concerning e.g. process and products improvements,

selection of products or services, selection of feedstock,

energy carriers and raw materials, and selection of

production locations and waste management systems;

• for corporate environmental and waste management

policies as well as for regulatory and legislative


• on how to position (promote) products in the market;

• to the users and the final consumers to enable them to

make more informed choices; and

1: for a definition, please refer to the Glossary on pages 46 f

• which is necessary for the identification and steering of

future developments.

32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


LCA results are increasingly being considered as a key

input in decision making processes, therefore European

Bioplastics has taken this opportunity to outline its

position on the LCA tool and its relationship to bioplastics

as follows.

European Bioplastics supports LCA and Life Cycle


European Bioplastics supports LCA and Life Cycle

Thinking in order to promote, quantify and substantiate

the environmental sustainability of products. It is crucial to

take the complete product life cycle into account, because

products may have totally different environmental impacts

during different stages of their life cycle. Life Cycle Thinking

(LCT) is concerned with analysing complete systems and

avoiding problems being shifted from one life cycle stage

to another, from one geographic area to another and from

one environmental medium to another.

LCA provides data to allow better informed

decisions, but being a complex tool it needs careful

and knowledgeable use

LCA is a tool to assess products and generates one of

the many inputs in decision making processes. Despite

the existence of ISO standards, the number of degrees of

freedom for conducting LCAs remains significant. During

a study the LCA practitioner has to make many choices

and define criteria which can significantly influence the

final results.

LCA also has a clear subjective dimension: its results

always require a weighing of the impact category scores

and a final interpretation of the results.

LCA is a vital tool, but when using it as a basis for

decisions it is necessary to keep in mind its limitations and

partly subjective character. LCA enables substantiation

and justification of a decision, but never delivers the ‘final

result’ or the decision itself.

Despite these limitations LCA is the most comprehensive

and reliable tool available to assess the environmental

performance of products or services.

Besides the outcome of the LCA, it is advised to also

consider other aspects in the life cycle of products such

as safety, consumer use and hygiene.

‘LCA derived measures’ in politics or legislation as well

as strong media statements on individual LCA results can

have a significant impact on economic or social systems

as well as for companies. It is very important that all

available information is taken into account and not simply

a discrete result of one single LCA. The complexity of the

issue – as outlined in this paper - does not allow simple


Industry should be involved in LCA studies

Experts from industry should be involved in LCA studies

from an early stage. They are able to deliver specific

knowledge and insights that external experts need in

order to conduct the LCA in a correct manner. This also

applies to the bioplastics sector.

‘THE’ life cycle assessment of bioplastics does not


There is no such thing as ‘THE Life cycle assessment

of bioplastics’. LCA applies to specified products (goods

and services), taking into consideration their complete

life cycle. The final conclusions about the environmental

performance of bioplastic applications depend on

many different parameters. These include the type of

bioplastics used, the raw materials used, the production

and conversion technology, the product, transport media

and distances and the consumer use phase as well as the

used waste collection and disposal or recycling system(s).

There are no simple answers. It is not possible to make

generalisations such as “bioplastics are better or worse

than other materials”.

The optimisation potential for bioplastics is huge.

This potential should be included in the LCA,

otherwise it becomes a tool which tends to hinder


Bioplastics are still in their early stage of development.

They are produced in small scale or singular facilities and

transport, conversion, product design and final disposal

are not being optimised. They are however quite often

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 33


compared with mature materials whose life cycles have

been optimised over several decades. This often leads to a

biased comparison.

LCA practitioners should always include possible

optimization steps for innovative materials. By not including

future outlooks for new materials, LCA is becoming a tool,

which tends to hinder innovation in its early stage. This

has never been the intention of this tool.

It is the key responsibility of the LCA practitioner to

provide a balanced view. It is also recommended that the

final user of the LCA results check whether improvement

options have been taken into account. (…)

‘Newcomers’ are often scrutinized, while existing

materials are often much less questioned. This

should be more balanced in LCAs

New materials and products derived from them, such

as bioplastics are often closely scrutinized, while many

existing products ‘on the shelf’ are much less thoroughly

examined. Within their life cycle bioplastics are often

‘put under the microscope’ while the impact of e.g. oil

or gas production is often modelled using fewer details

(using data from generic databases) or sometimes totally

ignored (accidents with oil tankers and their impact on

the environment). A more balanced approach is required.

European Bioplastics recognizes that novel products

require careful analysis, but mature and young innovative

products should be compared on an equal basis.

Comparative product LCAs should ensure that only

products with the same function are compared

One of the key preconditions in comparative LCAs is

that only products which have exactly the same function

in the market place are compared – an aspect of LCA

which is often underestimated. Only packaging for the

same product and for the same delivery system may be

compared. Sometimes in LCA studies generic categories

of packaging are compared with no attention to their


Renewable carbon accounting should form part of

an LCA

Bioplastics using renewable feedstock do offer an

intrinsic reduced carbon footprint depending on the amount

of renewable carbon in the product. Biobased plastics

use renewable or biogenic carbon as a building block.

This biogenic carbon is captured from the atmosphere

by plants during the growth process and converted into

the required raw materials. When the product is being

incinerated at the end of its useful life, the biogenic carbon

is returned to the atmosphere – or in other words, cycled

in a closed biogenic CO 2

loop, referred to as being carbonneutral.

Therefore the term ‘carbon-neutral’ only refers to

the biogenic carbon.

Automatic consideration of bioplastics as ‘carbonneutral’

and consequently leaving out the biogenic carbon

from the life cycle inventory is not supported for many

reasons. (…)

Hence biogenic carbon must be considered in a LCA,

just like any other input or output and not be omitted from

the study.

Bioplastics offer new recovery and final disposal

options. LCA can help to evaluate these new


Bioplastics can be treated in many different waste

management systems such as energy recovery,

mechanical recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion

and chemical recycling. This means that bioplastics can

offer more recovery options than traditional products that

are not suitable for composting. As with any material,

landfill should be avoided since this represents a loss of

useful material and energy.

The optimum choice depends on various factors such

as the composition of the bioplastic, the application, the

volume on the market and the available (from a technical

and legislative point of view) regional waste management

infrastructure for collection and processing. Therefore the

end of life of bioplastics can be rather complex and LCA

should provide the required information to make the best


The selected recovery or final disposal option will

influence the outcome of an LCA. Therefore it has to be

set up most carefully, also considering possible indirect

beneficial effects. These include for instance, the possibility

of obtaining homogeneous organic waste streams

suitable for organic recycling in the case of compostable

bioplastics, or the possi-bility of producing green energy

in the case of incineration of renewable bioplastics.

LCA is an analytical tool, not a communication tool

LCA is a good tool with which to assess the environmental

performance of products. However, it is too complex to use to

communicate the environmental performance of products

to final consumers. The ‘translation and interpretation’

of the outcome of LCAs into environmental messages,

which are commonly understandable calls for other tools.

This is an extract of the Position Paper. (…) indicates

where paragraphs had to be dropped for space reasons.

The full text of this Position Paper can be downloaded



34 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Mark your calendar !

2 nd PLA Bottle


14-16 September 2009

Munich, Germany

Holiday Inn City Centre

At the same time

as drinktec 2009

Stay updated at

Call for papers


From Science & Research

Article contributed by

Toby Heppenstall, Lucite Intl.,

Southampton, UK

The availability of

fermentable carbohydrate

as a feedstock for bio-based platform chemicals and bioplastics

Price [€/t]

Many chemicals and plastics manufacturers are

beginning to consider the opportunities presented

by Industrial Biotechnology; the biosynthesis

of bulk and fine chemicals mainly by fermentation processes

from renewable agricultural feedstocks.

Due to the widespread commercial interest in

bioethanol, much has been written about feedstock type

and availability forecasts. In general however, studies have

estimated feedstock quantities by computing ‘necessary

amounts’ from demand-side projections. A new study

by a manager in the chemical industry attempts for the

first time to derive a supply-side view of the availability

in Europe of fermentable feedstocks for the biosynthetic


Quantitative results are provided by two models developed

for the study. The first is an interactive model of potential

surplus cereal supply (including straw) based on gross

shifts in population and land usage. The second is a supply

curve for Miscanthus, a potential ‘energy crop’ feedstock

for second generation lignocellulosic fermentation. The

Miscanthus supply curve is based upon a cost model over

the whole production cycle (perennial grass crops have

very different economics to annual arable crops). Input

variables include the opportunity cost of land in different

parts of Europe, and critically, the achievable yield on


€ 120,00

€ 80,00

€ 40,00

2.36m ha

€ 0,00

0 50.000

Figure 1, Supply

curve for Miscanthus

in Europe, with lower

section magnified.

Price [€/t]

€ 80,00

€ 70,00

€60,00 Supply Quantity / ktes

€ 50,00

30m ha

2.36m ha

2.36m ha

€ 40,00

0 10.000 20.000 30.000 40.000 50.000

Supply Quantity [t]

different qualities of land 1 . The resulting minimum entry

price for cultivation in each region can be plotted against

cumulative quantity resulting in a supply curve as below.

The supply curve derived is consistent with the

current situation. With current prices just above €40/t,

the maximum that can afford to be paid by the power

generation industry, it is unsurprising that little more

than ‘research and development’ quantities have been

brought into cultivation in Europe. This result also

provides independent support for the commonly held view

that in the current paradigm at least; Miscanthus has

the potential to become a minor crop but not a leading

agricultural commodity.

To make predictions, these models must be placed in

some sort of context. The majority of platform chemicals

relevant to bioplastics will be produced by fermentation

and as such only fermentable feedstocks were the subject

of this study. However, the economic driver for the sector

will be the production of liquid transport fuel. The lion’s

share of output from biorefineries will be biofuels.

Therefore the mix of feedstocks available to fermentation

buyers will be determined by the optimum input for the

biofuel production process that becomes dominant,

whether or not this process is fermentation.

Framing the uncertainty in this

way sheds light on the issue from the

perspective of technological evolution.

Recognising that industrial biosynthesis

is in a period of intense and uncertain

technological upheaval, a battle for

dominance is underway. The key defining

element for all players is the dominant

design of the fuel biorefining process and

the widely accepted theory of dominant

design postulates that only one of these

processes will ultimately prevail.

Using this insight, three plausible

scenarios are derived, based on the

mutually exclusive dominance of either

2nd generation (lignocellulosic) ethanol,

2nd generation biodiesel (derived from a

36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

From Science & Research

low cost and low impact oil such as algae), and thermodynamic syndiesel. A fourth

scenario of low oil price was also considered, in which progress to ‘2nd generation’

technology biofuels is entirely absent.

Principal Biorefinery












‘The Algae Age‘


‘Technology Stagnation’ Scenario



‘Synfuels’ Scenario

Figure 2: Interplay of the three Critical Uncertainties in the scenario structure

The econometric models are then tailored to each scenario: For example in

the gasohol scenario, the vast demand for carbohydrate for fermentation would

drive increased supply of both 1st generation (starchy) and 2nd generation (grassy)

crops. Assumptions are made for incorporation into the supply models, about

resulting shifts in land availability and usage, and government policy support for

growers in this context.

The resulting output suggests that an aggregate supply of between 43 and

175 million tonnes (depending on the scenario) of fermentable carbohydrate 2 is

feasible. These quantities represent an equivalent amount of ethanol to replace

between 7 and 20% of all transport fuel and would be sufficient to supply likely

total demand for bio-bulk chemicals, between eight times and forty times over.

SCENARIO Miscanthus Straw Surplus



Others - Ryegrass


‘Gasohol’ 89.7 M 55.7 M 25.7 M 9.3 M 180.4 M

‘Algae Age’ 55.7 M 13.6 M minor 68.8

‘Synfuels’ 20.9 M 55.7 M 13.6 M 90.2 M

‘Tech Stagnation’ 22 M 21.7 M 43.7 M

Figure 3: Total Supply of fermentable carbohydrate (not tonnes of commmodity) in

each scenario

As a digression it is interesting to consider the maximum purchase prices that

might be feasible for Miscanthus, depending on the relevant end-use industry

in the different scenarios; bioethanol, bio-bulk chemicals, and thermochemical.

Theoretical price points can be derived from the market price of the relevant

end-product, taking account of total production cost in each case and the cost

proportion of the feedstock. Price points are overlaid as ‘demand functions’ on the

Miscanthus supply curve as below:

Price [€/]


€ 90,00

€ 80,00


€ 60,00

€ 50,00

€ 40,00

€ 30,00

0 10.000 20.000 30.000 40.000 50.000 60.000 70.000 80.000 90.000 100.000

Supply Quantity / kt

Poss Price for Bulk Chems

Figure 4: Supply curve for Miscanthus in Europe with price points

Max Price for Bioethanol

(benchmark current ethanol)

Max Price for Thermochemical (benchmark diesel, oil at $126/bbl)

Max Price for Bioethanol (benchmark petrol, oil at $126/bbl)

Price to POWER Industry

Other conclusions from the MBA thesis as well as a list of references can be

found at

1: The author is indebted to John Clifton

Brown of IGER, Aberystwyth UK for

sharing raw yield data of Miscanthus

for all NUTS2 administrative regions in

the EU. Cultivation cost data is based

on primary research with Miscanthus

producers in th UK in 2008.

2: Note the unit mass of fermentable

carbohydrate. Different feedstock crops

have different carbohydrate content.

The assumption is made that 1 tonne

of plant carbohydrate (Starch, cellulose,

or hemiocellulose) yields 1 tonne

fermentable sugar (glucose, sucrose,

dextrose, xylose), which is a little crude

but holds theoretically true.

The author is not an economist nor a

professional research scientist. This

article summarises an MBA thesis

which drew on the body of existing

literature on industrial biosynthesis

as well as primary research with

supply-side industry professionals.

The analysis is original. The author’s

intention is to add information and

stimulate discussion in the area, not to

claim absolute accuracy.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 37


Basics of PLA

Figure 1: Methods of PLA Recycling

Total Fossil Energy [GJ/ t plastic]

Industrial composting

Article contributed* by

Dr. Rainer Hagen,

Vice President and Product Manager,

Uhde Inventa-Fischer GmbH,

Berlin, Germany

Most attractive method of disposal based on public acceptance

No recovery of material and energy

Mechanical recycling

Loss of product properties cannot be recovered


Burning (energy recycling)

• Recovers ‘green energy’

Chemical recycling

Back into polymerisation

Collecting and sorting to be solved yet









fossil fuel

PA 6

fossil raw material


Source: M. Patel, R. Narayan, in Natural Fibers, Biopolymers and Biocomposites, A.

Mohanty, M. Misra, L. Drzal, Taylor & Francis Group, 2005, Boca Raton.


Figure 2: Consumption of Fossil Resources by PLA vs.

Polymers from Fossil Feedstock - ‘cradle to gate’



Polylactide or Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a synthetic, aliphatic

polyester from lactic acid. For industrial applications, such

as fibres, films and bottles, the chain length n should be

between 700 and 1400. This is significantly higher than

with partially aromatic polyesters like PET and PBT where

n is between 100 and 200. Therefore, the requirements on

both raw material purity and technical effort are much


At temperatures below its glass transition point (e.g.

55°C, depending on comonomer content) PLA is as stable

as PET or PBT. Only in an industrial composting facility,

the high temperature (60°C) and humidity required for the

hydrolysis are achieved. After hydrolysis, PLA is biologically

degradable by common micro-organisms. Lactic acid, the

monomer building block of PLA can frequently be found

in plants and animals as a by-product or intermediate

product of metabolism. Lactic acid is non-toxic.

Non-depleting properties of PLA

Lactic acid can be industrially produced from a number

of starch or sugar containing agricultural products.

Competition between human food, industrial lactic acid

and PLA production is not to be expected: For example,

using PLA as substitute for 5% of the German packaging

plastics consumption requires only 0.5% (sugar beet)

to 1.25% (wheat) of the agricultural area available. At

the same time, approximately 30% of the available area

lies fallow mainly for economic reasons. Research is in

progress on processes and micro-organisms that produce

lactic acid from cellulose coming from agricultural

residues such as maize stalks or straw.

Several recycling methods can be applied to waste PLA

(Fig. 1). Composting allows only moderate benefits. In

future, sorting, purification of PLA waste and re-feeding

into the polymerisation plant seems to be the most

attractive way of recovery.

PLA – like other biopolymers – is often criticised for the

need of process energy from fossil resources. Even if this

is the case at present, 1 kg of PLA represents less energy

equivalents than 1 kg of polymers from petrochemical

38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


feedstock (Fig. 2). Consequently, PLA producers can also

reap financial benefits by trading CO 2 emission certificates

(Fig. 3).

If process energy is supplied by biomass, e.g. biogas,

the fossil energy required for 1 kg PLA can be cut by half,

thus duplicating the benefits from trading CO 2 emission

certificates. Additionally, significant potential exists

for saving process energy by improving lactic acid and

polymerisation technologies.

Process Routes to PLA

Several Process Routes have been developed or are

practised on industrial scale: Ring Opening Polymerisation

(ROP), Direct Polycondensation in high boiling solvents

(DP S), and Direct Polymerisation in bulk followed by chain

extension with reactive additives.

ROP is the route which delivers by far the highest

proportion of PLA chips available on the market. The

other routes produce only minor amounts or did not get

past the pilot scale. Figure 4 depicts the steps of a ROP

process, starting from lactic acid. In the first part lactide

is formed, which – after fine purification – is converted by


Processing of PLA

A major advantage of PLA is the possibility to process

the polymer on common process equipment. Especially

the converters of polyolefins do not require a change

to other process equipment. They only need to change

the handling of granulate. It is very important to dry the

polymer before processing otherwise it will degrade.

Water and high temperatures (up to 240°C) facilitate fast


PLA is a polymer which can be processed by:

• injection moulding

• sheet extrusion

• extrusion blow moulding

• thermoforming

• stretch blow moulding

• injection stretch blow moulding

• fibre spinning

• non woven spinning, spun bonding

Properties of PLA

PLA is a crystal clear, transparent material when

amorphous that becomes the hazier the higher the

crystallinity. Crystallized material is opaque. When

producing lactide, meso-lactide is formed as a by-product.

It is difficult to separate the meso-lactide from the L-

lactide in the purification step. When polymerizing L-

[kg CO 2 eq/kg]










PA 6


Source: M. Patel, R.N arayan, in Natural Fibers, Biopolymers and Biocomposites, A.

Mohanty , M. Misra , L. Drzal, Taylor & Francis Group, 2005, Boca Raton.

Figure 3: CO 2 Emissions by PLA vs. polymers from fossil

feedstock - ‘cradle to gate’

Water to



Concentrated Lactic Acid



Crude Lactide

Highly Purified Lactide

Polylactide with Monomer

Lactic Acid

Figure 5: Ring opening Polymerisation




Formation of Cyclic Dimer

Lactide Purification

Ring Opening Polymerisation



see Fig. 5

Figure 4: Steps of a PLA Process with Ring

Opening Polymerisation



Lactic Acid


bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 39


Table 1: Properties of PLA Types

Type T m

T g

σ n

E b

PLLA 160-180 °C 55-65 °C 45-55 Mpa 3-5 %

PL / DLA 55 °C 50-200 %

sc PLA 220-230 °C 60 °C 3-5 %

sbc PLA 185-195 °C 55 °C 5-10 %

T m - melting temperature

T g - glass transition temperature

E b - elongation at break

σ n - tensile strength at break

lactide with small contents of meso-lactide a co-polymer

is formed. Increasing meso-lactide leads to decreasing

crystallinity. With more than 10-15% meso-lactide the

polymer is amorphous.

By varying the amount of meso-lactide the properties of

the polymer can be adjusted for specific applications.

One of the reasons for the limited consumption of PLA

up to now is the low thermal resistance. The Tg (glass

transition temperature) is about 55°C depending on

comonomer content to a small extent (Table 1).

Methods of improving thermal resistance are to prepare

a stereo complex (sc PLA) or a stereo-block copolymer

(sbc PLA). Melting point and heat distortion temperature

(HDT) will increase significantly.

Improving the thermal properties can extend the

applications of PLA considerably in the future.

There are also various additives that improve the

properties of PLA with respect to impact strength, melt

viscosity, HDT, crystallinity etc.


PLA combines all prerequisites of sustainability with

important properties of well established polymers.

Applications have already been found in many niches of

packaging and textile products. Within those niches fast

growth of consumption is expected to continue depending

on the availability of PLA polymer.

High research activity is dedicated to overcome typical

weaknesses of PLA – low impact strength and low heat

distortion temperature – and to develop tailor-made

PLA grades in order to serve special applications. These

activities will conquer new niches for PLA and will help to

increase PLA consumption at high velocity.

Other growth factors are the availability and prices of

crude oil, agricultural products and production plants and


Within the foreseeable future PLA will not become a

commodity polymer like PE, PP, PS – this is considered to

be an advantage both for PLA producers and converters.

However, this could change in the long term.

*: The article is based on a contribution to a book, submitted

for publication in T. Haas, M. Kircher, T. Köhler, G. Wich, U.

Schörken, R. Hagen, White Biotechnology, in R. Höfer, Ed.,

Sustainable solutions for modern economies, The Royal

Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, forthcoming 2009, ISBN


40 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

Pland Paper ® ( PLA and Paper )

means PLA coated on paper with no additives. This eco-friendly paper is made from all renewable materials

and carried the same characters just like PE coated paper. Food Containers made from this paper are safe

to load hot coffee and soup, because Pland Paper ® is all Nature made.

For more information, please visit or contact

Pland Paper

WeiMon Industry Co., Ltd. - 2F, No.57, Singjhong Rd., NeiHu, District, Taipei City 114, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Environmental Materials Division TEL: +886-2-27953131 ext. 142


The Current Status

of Bioplastics Development

in Japan

Article contributed by

Isao Inomata,

Adviser, JapanBioPlastics Association,

Tokyo, Japan

Fig 1: Envelopes with a biomass-based plastic window

Fig 2: Packaging of fresh food


Today global warming is a major concern for many people

all over the world. That is why bioplastics is the subject of a

good deal of attention. Bioplastics are the key material which

will contribute to the sustainable supply of useful plastics for

everyday life without increasing carbon dioxide concentration in

the air (Carbon Neutral Concept). In various business sectors

in Japan many companies have undertaken efforts to utilise

biomass-based plastics in their product lines.

Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPA) was established in 1989,

initially as biodegradable Plastics Society (BPS). With about

240 member companies JBPA today continues to promote the

recognition and the business activities of biodegradable plastics

and biomass-based plastics.

JBPA is working hard on a global networking cooperation with

other areas in the world. Cooperation already started with BPI

(USA) and European Bioplastics e.V (Europe) in 2001, with BMG

(China) in 2004, and with TBIA (Thailand). One declared goal is

to establish a globally harmonised standard and certification

system for biodegradable plastics and biomass-based plastics.

The definition of bioplastics

Bioplastics in JBPA’s definition comprises both biodegradable

plastics and biomass-based plastics. As in many other countries,

there is still some confusion in Japan about the different concepts

of Biodegradable plastics and Biomass-based plastics.

Basically the two concepts are completely independent of

each other. Some bioplastics are biobased and others are

biodegradable. Many bioplastics however, such as PLA or PHA

meet both criteria.

The group of biomass-based plastics is constantly growing

and, because of the recent developments in biochemistry, many

monomer chemicals for plastics will be able to be manufactured

from biomass resources at a similar cost to petroleum based

plastics in the near future.

The development of polyolefins from bio-ethanol, so-called

bio-polyethylene and bio-polypropylene, is a typical example and

their market relevance will significantly increase in the future.

42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Fig 3: membership cards

Fig 4: Kids‘ shoes: mixed PLA/PET fabric (upper) and

soft PLA compound (sole)

Fig 5: wrapping film cutter

Big concern of Japanese government

about the bioplastics

In 2002 the Japanese government decided on two

strategic policies called ‘Biotechnology Strategy

Guidelines’ and ‘Biomass Nippon Strategy’.

In the ‘Biotechnology Strategy Guidelines’ the Japanese

government set down a clear target for a remarkable

increase in the demand for biomass-based plastics. In

response to this strategy many products were launched

onto the market.

Many producers are now using biomass-based materials,

especially for everyday packaging products, and are

confident of finding a high level of consumer acceptance.

For example, a postal envelope with a biomass-based

plastic window (Fig. 1) was the first registered biomassbased

plastic product to be listed in the ‘Green Purchasing

Law’ of the Environment Ministry of Japan. It is now widely

used by municipal offices and companies in Japan that

have a high level of environmental concern.

The packaging of fresh food (Fig. 2) however, is one of

the ideal fields of applications for biodegradable plastics.

Here compostability can be used as just one of their end

of life options. On the other hand, due a lack of sufficient

composting infrastructure in Japan, preference is given in

many cases to the concept of biomass-based products.

Some of the products, such as shrink sleeves and

cap seals, have succeeded in utilising the characteristic

properties of biomass-based plastics. These are the

results of an improvement in the material itself as well as

the processing technology of the biomass-based plastics.

Most of the technological development has been done to

utilise PLA as the base plastic.

BiomassPla certification systems

To respond to market concerns and the requests from

the industry, JBPA started the BiomassPla certification

system in 2006 to clearly distinguish between products on

the market made from biomass-based plastics and those

made from petroleum based plastics, and to promote

BiomassPla product development (see bM 02/2008, p.


In this system the definition of biomass-based plastics


“High-polymer materials produced from raw materials

which can be obtained by chemical or biological synthesis

and that contain substances derived from renewable

organic resources. (Excludes chemically unmodified nonthermoplastic

natural organic high-polymer materials.)“

The most important aspect of JBPA’s definition is to

utilise the biomass resources as raw materials for their

production, not for simply compounded mixtures.

JBPA’s system is based on:

1) The positive list system for all biomass-based plastics

and their compounds, film etc.

2) Biomass-based plastic ratio requirement: minimum

25% of the products measured by C 14 measurement

(ASTM D6866-05)

3) No components having any non-usable material as

decided by JBPA

At present more than 60 products are already registered

in this system.

Biomass-based plastics products in

the Japanese market

The first product registered according to the BiomassPla

Certification system is the membership card of the main

sales chain of automobile related products (Fig. 3). This

also shows the high level of concern regarding the ‘Carbon

Neutral Concept’ in the Japanese automobile industry.

The kids‘ shoes shown in (Fig. 4) are made from a mixed

PLA/PET fabric in the upper part. The sole is made of a

soft PLA compound with good elastic properties.

A full body shrink-sleeve for beverage bottles was

launched on the market in spring 2008. It is now one of the

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 43


Fig 6: Textile applications Fig 8: Mobile phone housing Fig 9: Note book PC housing

most popular products made of biomass-based plastics

which can be found in most convenience stores in Japan.

Fig. 5 shows a wrapping film cutter that was originally

made of steel. It was then produced from PLA because of

its excellent cutting performance together with its safety,

and the advantage of having no metal parts to dispose of.

In the field of textile applications many high grade

products have been launched on the market as shown in

Fig. 6.

Fig 7: Needle carpet made of PLA

(at G8 World Summit Meeting Hokkaido 2008)

At the G-8 world summit meeting and the related

conference in Hokkaido, Japan, a needle carpet made of

PLA caught the attention of the top politicians worldwide

(Fig. 7).

Applications in durable products

A most impressive area of application in Japan is in the

field of durable products.

Japanese companies have been making significant

efforts to utilise biomass-based plastics for durable

products such as consumer electronics and automobile

products on the basis of the latest material chemistry and

processing technology improvements.

The housing for the NTT DOCOMO mobile phone (Fig. 8)

is made of a kenaf-fibre-reinforced PLA composite

developed by Yunitika. Fujitsu presented a notebook PC

with a housing made of a PLA/PC nano-blend developed

by Toray (Fig. 9)

Fuji-Xerox launched a copying machine for which PLA

blend materials were used in the movable parts.

One of the first automobile related products was a PLAbased

floor mat presented by Toyota in 2003.

And many Japanese car manufactures are continuously

developing and launching various products (as can

be seen in this and previous ‘automotive’ issues of

bioplastics MAGAZINE).

44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


February 25-27, 2009

GPEC (Global Plastics Environmental Conference)

Disney‘s Coronado Springs Resort

Orlando, Florida, USA

March 02-04, 2009

Sustainability in Packaging

Rosen Plaza Hotel

Orlando, Florida, USA

March 11-13 , 2009

9 th International Automobile Recycling Congress

The Westin Grand Munich, Arabellapark

Munich Germany

March 12, 2009

Conference on sustainable packaging within

the framework of Anuga FoodTec

Kölnmesse, Cologne Germany

March 16-18 , 2009

World Biofuels Markets

Brussels Expo

Brussels, Belgium

April 23 , 2009

Bioplastics Processing and Properties

Loughborough University, UK

June 22-26, 2009

NPE2009: The International Plastics Showcase

McCormick Place

Chicago, Illinois, USA

September 9-10, 2009

7th Int. Symposium „Materials

made of Renewable Resources“

Messe Erfurt

Erfurt, Germany

Anz_SusPack_4c_210x148_en:09-01-26 27.01.2009 11:32 Uhr Seite 1

September 2009

2 nd PLA Bottle Conference

hosted by bioplastics MAGAZINE

within the framework of drinktec

Munich / Germany

September 28-30, 2009

Biopolymers Symposium 2009

Embassy Suites, Lakefront - Chicago Downtown

Chicago, Illinois, USA

You can meet us!

Please contact us in advance by e-mail.

© | Ernesto Solla Domínguez | Oktay Ortakcioglu | Hanquan Chen

Conference on

sustainable packaging

March 12 th 2009

Koelnmesse, 09:00 – 17:00

In the course of the

Anuga FoodTec

With simultaneous


The future of

food packaging


Conference incl. catering 350€ plus

VAT. With the purchase of the ticket

you will receive a free pass for the

international trade fair Anuga Food-

Tec (March 10 th – 13 th 2009)


Dominik Vogt

Phone: +49 (0) 22 33 – 48 14 49

The discussions about environmental protection, recycling and resource

shortages during the last few years have enhanced the search for “sustainable

packaging solutions”. The conference aims at giving the participants

an overview of the political framework, market developments, influence

factors, new options and ecological assessments.



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bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 45

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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 articles.

Bioplastics (as defined by European Bioplastics

e.V.) is a term used to define two different

kinds of plastics:

a. Plastics based on renewable resources (the

focus is the origin of the raw material used)

b. à Biodegradable and compostable plastics

according to EN13432 or similar standards

(the focus is the compostability of the final

product; biodegradable and compostable

plastics can be based on renewable (biobased)

and/or non-renewable (fossil) resources).

Bioplastics may be

- based on renewable resources and biodegradable;

- based on renewable resources but not be

biodegradable; and

- based on fossil resources and biodegradable.

Amylopectin | Polymeric branched starch

molecule with very high molecular weight (biopolymer,

monomer is à Glucose).

Amyloseacetat | Linear polymeric glucosechains

are called à amylose. If this compound

is treated with ethan acid one product

is amylacetat. The hydroxyl group is connected

with the organic acid fragment.

Amylose | 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].

Blend | Mixture of plastics, polymer alloy of at

least two microscopically dispersed and molecularly

distributed base polymers.

Carbon neutral | Carbon neutral describes a

process that has a negligible impact on total

atmospheric CO 2 levels. For example, carbon

neutrality means that any CO 2 released when

a plant decomposes or is burnt is offset by an

equal amount of CO 2 absorbed by the plant

through photosynthesis when it is growing.

Cellophane | Clear film on the basis of à cellulose.

Cellulose | Polymeric molecule with very high

molecular weight (biopolymer, monomer is

à Glucose), industrial production from wood

or cotton, to manufacture paper, plastics and


Compost | A soil conditioning material of decomposing

organic matter which provides nutrients

and enhances soil structure.

Compostable Plastics | 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 p38].

Composting | 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

[bM 03/2007].

Copolymer | Plastic composed of different


Fermentation | Biochemical reactions controlled

by à microorganisms or enyzmes (e.g.

the transformation of sugar into lactic acid).

Gelatine | Translucent brittle solid substance,

colorless or slightly yellow, nearly tasteless

and odorless, extracted from the collagen inside

animals‘ connective tissue.

Glucose | Monosaccharide (or simple sugar).

G. is the most important carbohydrate (sugar)

in biology. G. is formed by photosynthesis or

hydrolyse of many carbohydrates e. g. starch.

Humus | 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 soil.

Hydrophilic | 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).

Hydrophobic | 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).

Microorganism | Living organisms of microscopic

size, such as bacteria, funghi or yeast.

PCL | Polycaprolactone, a synthetic (fossil

based), biodegradable bioplastic, e.g. used as

a blend component.

PHA | Polyhydroxyalkanoates are linear polyesters

produced in nature by bacterial fermentation

of sugar or lipids. The most common

type of PHA is à PHB.

46 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Readers who know better explanations or who

would like to suggest other explanations to be

added to the list, please contact the editor.

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

previously published in bioplastics MAGAZINE)

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.

PLA | Polylactide or Polylactic Acid (PLA) is

a biodegradable, thermoplastic, aliphatic

polyester from lactic acid. Lactic acid is made

from dextrose by fermentation. Bacterial fermentation

is used to produce lactic acid from

corn starch, cane sugar or other sources.

However, lactic acid cannot be directly polymerized

to a useful product, because each polymerization

reaction generates one molecule

of water, the presence of which degrades the

forming polymer chain to the point that only

very low molecular weights are observed.

Instead, lactic acid is oligomerized and then

catalytically dimerized to make the cyclic lactide

monomer. Although dimerization also

generates water, it can be separated prior to

polymerization. PLA of high molecular weight

is produced from the lactide monomer by

ring-opening polymerization using a catalyst.

This mechanism does not generate additional

water, and hence, a wide range of molecular

weights are accessible (bM 01/2009).

Saccharins or carbohydrates | Saccharins or

carbohydrates are name for the sugar-family.

Saccharins are monomer or polymer sugar

units. For example, there are known mono-,

di- and polysaccharose. à glucose is a monosaccarin.

They are important for the diet and

produced biology in plants.

Sorbitol | 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.

Starch | Natural polymer (carbohydrate) consisting

of à amylose and à amylopectin,

gained from maize, potatoes, wheat, tapioca

etc. When glucose is connected to polymerchains

in definite way the result (product) is

called starch. Each molecule is based on 300

-12000-glucose units. Depending on the connection,

there are two types à amylose and

à amylopectin known.

Starch (-derivate) | Starch (-derivates) are

based on the chemical structure of à starch.

The chemical structure can be changed by

introducing new functional groups without

changing the à starch polymer. The product

has different chemical qualities. Mostly the

hydrophilic character is not the same.

Starch-ester | One characteristic of every

starch-chain is a free hydroxyl group. When

every hydroxyl group is connect with ethan

acid one product is starch-ester with different

chemical properties.

Starch propionate and starch butyrate |

Starch propionate and starch butyrate can

be synthesised by treating the à starch with

propane or butanic acid. The product structure

is still based on à starch. Every based à

glucose fragment is connected with a propionate

or butyrate ester group. The product is

more hydrophobic than à starch.

Sustainable | 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 environment).

Sustainability | (as defined by European

Bioplastics e.V.) has three dimensions: economic,

social and environmental. This has

been known as “the triple bottom line of

sustainability”. This means that sustainable

development involves the simultaneous pursuit

of economic prosperity, environmental

protection and social equity. In other words,

businesses have to expand their responsibility

to include these environmental and social

dimensions. Sustainability is about making

products useful to markets and, at the same

time, having societal benefits and lower environmental

impact than the alternatives currently

available. It also implies a commitment

to continuous improvement that should result

in a further reduction of the environmental

footprint of today’s products, processes and

raw materials used.

Thermoplastics | 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 [01/09] Vol. 4 47

Suppliers Guide

1.3 PLA

1.6 masterbatches

3.1.1 cellulose based films

1. Raw Materials


Global Business Management

Biodegradable Polymers

Carl-Bosch-Str. 38

67056 Ludwigshafen, Germany

Tel. +49-621 60 43 878

Fax +49-621 60 21 694

Division of A&O FilmPAC Ltd

7 Osier Way, Warrington Road


MK46 5FP

Tel.: +44 1234 88 88 61

Fax: +44 1234 888 940

1.4 starch-based bioplastics


Avenue Melville Wilson, 2

Zoning de la Fagne

5330 Assesse


Tel. + 32 83 660 211



Cumbria CA7 9BG


Contact: Andy Sweetman

Tel. +44 16973 41549

Fax +44 16973 41452

4. Bioplastics products

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

Tel. + 41 22 717 5428

Fax + 41 22 717 5500

1.2 compounds

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 2154 9251-26

Tel.: +49 2154 9251-51

Transmare Compounding B.V.

Ringweg 7, 6045 JL

Roermond, The Netherlands

Tel. +31 475 345 900

Fax +31 475 345 910

BIOTEC Biologische

Naturverpackungen GmbH & Co. KG

Werner-Heisenberg-Straße 32

46446 Emmerich


Tel. +49 2822 92510

Fax +49 2822 51840

Plantic Technologies GmbH

Heinrich-Busold-Straße 50

D-61169 Friedberg


Tel. +49 6031 6842 650

Tel. +44 794 096 4681 (UK)

Fax +49 6031 6842 656

1.5 PHA

Telles, Metabolix – ADM joint venture

650 Suffolk Street, Suite 100

Lowell, MA 01854 USA

Tel. +1-97 85 13 18 00

Fax +1-97 85 13 18 86

Tianan Biologic

No. 68 Dagang 6th Rd,

Beilun, Ningbo, China, 315800

Tel. +86-57 48 68 62 50 2

Fax +86-57 48 68 77 98 0

Sukano Products Ltd.

Chaltenbodenstrasse 23

CH-8834 Schindellegi

Tel. +41 44 787 57 77

Fax +41 44 787 57 78

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

Tel. + 41(0) 22 717 5428

Fax + 41(0) 22 717 5500

3. Semi finished products

3.1 films

Huhtamaki Forchheim

Herr Manfred Huberth

Zweibrückenstraße 15-25

91301 Forchheim

Tel. +49-9191 81305

Fax +49-9191 81244

Mobil +49-171 2439574

Maag GmbH

Leckingser Straße 12

58640 Iserlohn


Tel. + 49 2371 9779-30

Fax + 49 2371 9779-97

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

Sidaplax Belgium: +32 9 210 80 10

Plastic Suppliers: +1 866 378 4178

alesco GmbH & Co. KG

Schönthaler Str. 55-59

D-52379 Langerwehe

Sales Germany: +49 2423 402 110

Sales Belgium: +32 9 2260 165

Sales Netherlands: +31 20 5037 710 |

Arkhe Will Co., Ltd.

19-1-5 Imaichi-cho, Fukui

918-8152 Fukui, Japan

Tel. +81-776 38 46 11

Fax +81-776 38 46 17

Forapack S.r.l

Via Sodero, 43

66030 Poggiofi orito (Ch), Italy

Tel. +39-08 71 93 03 25

Fax +39-08 71 93 03 26

Minima Technology Co., Ltd.

Esmy Huang, Marketing Manager

No.33. Yichang E. Rd., Taipin City,

Taichung County

411, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

Tel. +886(4)2277 6888

Fax +883(4)2277 6989

Mobil +886(0)982-829988

Skype esmy325

natura Verpackungs GmbH

Industriestr. 55 - 57

48432 Rheine

Tel. +49 5975 303-57

Fax +49 5975 303-42

48 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4


Via Fauser , 8

28100 Novara - ITALIA

Fax +39.0321.699.601

Tel. +39.0321.699.611

Pland Paper ®


2F, No.57, Singjhong Rd.,

Neihu District,

Taipei City 114, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Tel. + 886 - 2 - 27953131

Fax + 886 - 2 - 27919966

8. Ancillary equipment

9. Services

Bioplastics Consulting

Tel. +49 2161 664864

Marketing - Exhibition - Event

Tel. +49 2359-2996-0

10. Institutions

10.1 Associations

Suppliers Guide

Simply contact:

Tel.: +49-2359-2996-0


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



8752 Näfels - Am Linthli 2


Tel. +41 55 618 44 99

Fax +41 55 618 44 98

6. Machinery & Molds

BPI - The Biodegradable

Products Institute

331 West 57th Street

Suite 415

New York, NY 10019, USA

Tel. +1-888-274-5646

FAS Converting Machinery AB

O Zinkgatan 1/ Box 1503

27100 Ystad, Sweden

Tel.: +46 411 69260

Molds, Change Parts and Turnkey

Solutions for the PET/Bioplastic

Container Industry

284 Pinebush Road

Cambridge Ontario

Canada N1T 1Z6

Tel. +1 519 624 9720

Fax +1 519 624 9721

European Bioplastics e.V.

Marienstr. 19/20

10117 Berlin, Germany

Tel. +49 30 284 82 350

Fax +49 30 284 84 359

10.2 Universities

Michigan State University

Department of Chemical

Engineering & Materials Science

Professor Ramani Narayan

East Lansing MI 48824, USA

Tel. +1 517 719 7163


Stubenwald-Allee 9

64625 Bensheim, Deutschland

Tel. +49 6251 77061 0

Fax +49 6251 77061 510

7. Plant engineering

University of Applied Sciences

Faculty II, Department

of Bioprocess Engineering

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres

Heisterbergallee 12

30453 Hannover, Germany

Tel. +49 (0)511-9296-2212

Fax +49 (0)511-9296-2210

Uhde Inventa-Fischer GmbH

Holzhauser Str. 157 - 159

13509 Berlin


Tel. +49 (0)30 43567 5

Fax +49 (0)30 43567 699

bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 49

Companies in this issue

Company Editorial Advert

A&O Filmpac 48

Aldi 21

Alesco 48

Amcor Flexible Packaging 9

Arkhe Will 48

Avantium 5


Biograde 5

BioPak 5 49

Biopolymer Network 8

Biotec 48

Braskem 7

Depron 24

DuPont 7, 26 48

European Bioplastics 21, 32, 42 49

European Plastics News 8

Europlatiques 27

FAS Converting 49

FH Hannover 49

Fiat 16

FKuR 7 2, 48

Forapack 48

Ford 12

Formax Quimiplan 9

Fraunhofer UMSICHT 7

Frost & Sullivan 7

Fuji 44

Gehr Plastics 8

Glycan Biotechnology 25

GP Plastics Corp. 6

Green Power 11

Hallink 49

Honda 15

Huhtamaki 48

Ilip 26

Innovia 5, 9


Lexus 14

Lucite International 36

Maag 48

Company Editorial Advert

Mann + Hummel 49

Mazda 15

Merquinsa 9

Metabolix 9

Michigan State Univ. 28 49

Minima Technologies 48

NatureWorks 5, 13, 24, 25

Nestlé 9

Nova Institut 7 45

Novamont 10, 16, 21 49, 52

NPE 17

Pantos Produktions- und Vertriebsgesellchaft 21

Plantic 5, 27 48

plasticker 21

Plastics Engineering Associates Licensing 25

Plastral 5

Plush Chocolates 27

Polymediaconsult 49

PolyOne 48

Purac 18, 22

Reifenhäuser 7

Ritter Pen 7

Royal Cosun 5

Sainsbury‘s 9

Salomon 26

Sidaplax 48

Storopack 24

Sukano 48

Sulzer Chemtech 18, 22

Synbra 20, 22

Teamburg Marketing 49

Telles 48, 51

Tianan Biologic Materials 48

Toray 44

Toyota 13, 44

Transmare 48

Uhde Inventa-Fischer 38 49

Unitika 44

Valfrutta 26

Wei Mon Industries 41, 49

Wiedmer 49

Next Issue

For the next issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE

(among others) the following subjects are scheduled:

Editorial Focus:

Beauty & Healthcare

End-of-Life Options


Industrial Composting

Next issue:

Mar/Feb 06.04.2009

Month Publ.-Date Editorial Focus (1) Editorial Focus (2) Basics Fair Specials

May/Jun 02.06.2009 Rigid Packaging / Trays Material Combinations Basics of PHA

Jul/Aug 03.08.2009 Bottles / Labels / Caps

Non-Food-Sourced Bioplastics

Sep/Oct 05.10.2009 Fibers / Textiles / Nonwovens Paper Coating

Land Use for Bioplastics

Basics of Starch Based


Nov/Dec 30.11.2009 Films / Flexibles / Bags Consumer Electronics Anaerobic Digestion

NPE Preview

(22-27 June)

50 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4

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

with a low environmental impact. The result of Novamont's

innovative research is the new bioplastic Mater-Bi ® .

Mater-Bi ® is a family of materials, completely biodegradable

and compostable which contain renewable raw materials such as starch and

vegetable oil derivates. Mater-Bi ® performs like traditional plastics 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.

Inventor of the year 2007

Mater-Bi ® : certified biodegradable and compostable.

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