ioplastics magazine Vol. 4 ISSN 1862-5258


Bottle Applications | 14

Non Food Sourced Bioplastics | 36

Land Use For Bioplastics | 46

04 | 2009

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Guest Editorial

As in the last years, bioplastics MAGAZINE carries reports about the latest bottle applications in the most

thirsty period of the year, which points to the fact that from year to year we see considerable progress in this

sector. In this issue for example, bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke with Primo Water about their developments,

and reports about Naturally Iowa’s achievements for the introduction of PLA bottles.

So, producers and users are obviously making good progress with regard to the technical and environmental

performance of such bottles. Yet a few questions seem to require further attention. For example, we still

need to define and implement ‘best practice’ for the end of life (or let’s better say, re-use and recovery) of

bioplastic bottles. In the technical community for example, the influence of PLA on the recycling of PET is

still under discussion. This is quite understandable, as the PET recycling industry needs to secure their well

established business and they need to evaluate the potential influence of any other materials, such as PVC,

clarified PP or PLA. The findings of NatureWorks, which are documented in this issue, are a very important

contribution to this discussion. Such studies will certainly support dialogue and confidence building. The

PET industry seems anyway more than interested in learning about PLA. They know perfectly well what it

means to introduce a new material to existing markets and to manage the various questions (all coming

at the same time), because they lived through this some 20 years ago. Looking at their experiences we will

realise that the technical sorting of the bottles is one of the core issues, and we also need to find out what

happens along the whole recovery chain. Will at least a considerable share of the bottles find their way

into sorting plants? This is the question about the existence and availability of collection systems… Will all

sorting plants, dependent on their geography, be equipped with NIR detection? Can mixing

of the different material streams destined for recycling safely be avoided? Regardless

of such questions, the goal of developing the recycling of PLA and other bioplastics is

very promising and the industry is certainly on the right track. It will be further helpful to

team up with the PET recycling industry with the aim of achieving good separation of the

material streams and, by the way, also for clarification of the influences of the so-called

‘oxo-degradable’ PET bottles (please see NAPCOR’s advice on page 28).

A further editorial focus in this issue is the question of ‘Land use for production of

Bioplastics’. Obviously the existence of hunger in this world is not caused by bioplastics, but

rather by factors such as distribution, logistics and politics. On the other hand, increasing

the demands placed on agricultural resources needs careful consideration of the market

mechanisms in order to ensure that our industry will deliver sustainable solutions also in

terms of social responsibility. Interesting approaches concerning resource supply can be

found in the reports about algae and potato-waste streams as potential sources.

We wish all readers an enjoyable holiday season – with not too many algae in your

swimming water …


Joeran Reske

Joeran Reske is Manager Bioplastics at Interseroh, a leading supplier

of secondary raw materials in Europe. Joeran is also Vice Chairman of

European Bioplastics

bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/08] Vol. 3


Editorial 03

News 05

Application News 40

Event Calendar 51

Suppliers Guide 52

July/August 04|2009


Andy Sweetman, New Chairman 10

of European Bioplastics

Events review

NPE Review 12

Bioplastics hot topic at SPE‘s ANTEC 2009 13

Bottle Applications

Coca-Cola Biobottle 14

PLA Bottles - Recyclable and Compostable 16

Green Bottles at Capitol Hill 20

Extrusion Blow Moulding of Bioplastics 22

Using NIR Sorting to Recycle PLA Bottles 24

Non Food Bioplastics

Algae to Plastics 36

Hungry for sustainable, durable bioplastics? 37


Bioplastics - from Walkman to 38

Ultra-Slim OLED TVs


Novel Device For Aerobic Biodegradability 44



Land Use for Bioplastics 46

Land Use For Bio-Polyolefins 50

NAPCOR Bans Degradable Additives 28


Stereocomplex PLA Offers High Durability 29

Biodegradable High Barrier for Packaging 30

Polyamides Based on Succinic Acid 32

PSM –The Renewing of a Brand 34


Publisher / Editorial

Dr. Michael Thielen

Samuel Brangenberg


Mark Speckenbach, Jörg Neufert

Head Office

Polymedia Publisher GmbH

Dammer Str. 112

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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


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bioplastics magazine

ISSN 1862-5258

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bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


Hasso von Pogrell is

European Bioplastics‘

New Managing Director

Since March 2009 Hasso von Pogrell is the new Managing Director of

European Bioplastics, the association of the European bioplastics industry.

Born in Brazil, educated in Portugal, the United States and Germany, Mr.

von Pogrell holds a degree in economics from the University of Cologne.

During the last 14 years he has held leading positions in associations

of the German construction, retail and optical industry. In his preceding

position before joining European Bioplastics, he was Director General of

the German Sawmill Industry Association.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mr. von Pogrell as new Managing

Director in the association. He brings several years of managing

experience in stakeholder associations and suits that job perfectly“, said

Andy Sweetman, newly elected Chairman of European Bioplastics.

Now, after nearly 150 days in the new job Hasso von Pogrell adds: “It‘s

a big pleasure and an honour for me to take a leading role in the team of

European Bioplastics. I see quite a few challenging tasks lying ahead of

us and I‘m looking forward to continuing to build on European Bioplastics‘

success for the coming years.“

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


Bioplastics Awards 2009

Now in its fourth year, European Plastics News (Crain

Communications) announce the Bioplastics Awards as the

only global initiative to recognise achievement in the field of

bio-sourced polymers.

As media partner of the event and member of the judging

panel bioplastics MAGAZINE encourages all readers to supply

suggestions for the Bioplastics Awards 2009. The entry

deadline is Friday 18th September 2009.

Categories recognise innovation in R&D or processing,

reward outstanding applications in packaging and nonpackaging

markets, acknowledge imaginative marketing

concepts, and highlight the role of retailers and individuals

in the development of the bioplastic marketplace. The

categories are carefully selected to provide bioplastics

developers, producers, processors and end-users with

the perfect opportunity to direct the spotlight onto their


Best Innovation in Bioplastics

Recognising innovation in the bioplastics sector, this

category is open to any company or organisation. Judging

will be determined on innovation, novelty and potential

benefit to the future development and/or commercialisation

of bioplastics.

Best Bioplastics Processor

Open to any company processing bioplastics, this

category will be judged on the quality of the product being

manufactured, its innovation, marketing effort and customer


Best Bioplastics Application – Packaging

Open to any bioplastics product used in a food packaging

application. Products can be entered by anyone involved in

the development, with judging determined on innovation,

market impact, customer response and sustainability.

Best Bioplastics Application – Non-Packaging

Open to any bioplastics product used in a non-packaging

application. Products can be entered by anyone involved in

the development, with judging determined on innovation,

market impact, customer response and sustainability.

Best Bioplastics Marketing Initiative

Open to material producers, processors, brand owners

and end users. Entries will be judged on impact, clarity of

message, focus and effectiveness.

Best Bioplastics Retailer/Brand Owner

Open to any retailer or brand owner bringing products to

the market using bioplastics. Judging will be determined on

enthusiasm for bioplastics, profile achieved, market support

and impact. Key consideration will be given to how the

entrant has addressed sustainability issues.

Personal Contribution to the Bioplastics Industry

This is a special award given by the European Plastics News

editorial team to an individual that has made an outstanding

contribution to the development of the bioplastics sector.

Where and when

A shortlist will be compiled and published in November

2009. Winners will be announced online in December 2009

and published in the following editions of European Plastics

News and bioplastics MAGAZINE. Winners certificates will be

mailed in January 2010 - MT

PURAC Receives Frost & Sullivan Innovation Award

PURAC, a leading lactides producer for the bioplastics industry, has been awarded, together with its partners Sulzer Chemtech

and Synbra Technology, the 2008 Frost & Sullivan European Polylactic Production Technology Innovation of the Year Award.

This prestigious award recognizes PURAC’s innovations in the area of polylactic acid based (PLA) bioplastics. Together with

Sulzer Chemtech and Synbra Technology, PURAC has developed a new cost-effective polymerization process to produce highquality

polylactic acid from a renewable source which can subsequently be converted into a variety of value added applications

such as expanded PLA based biofoam (see bM 05/2008 and 01/2009).

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

European Bioplastics

Says “No“ to Oxo‘s


Industry association European Bioplastics has published

a position paper distancing itself from the so-called ‘oxobiodegradable’

industry. The paper sheds some light on

the ‘oxo’-technology, its failure to live up to international

established and acknowledged standards that effectively

substantiate claims on biodegradation and compostability,

and the implications resulting from the different


“Bioplastics are still a relatively young industry”, says Andy

Sweetman, Chairman of the Board of European Bioplastics.

“Inherent implications made on the environmental

suitability of our products are subject to close scrutiny by

all kinds of stakeholders. It is, therefore, vital that claims

on biodegradability or compostability are backed by

internationally accepted standards”, he adds.

“We just cannot allow that the public, who are generally

very sensitive to ecological issues, be further confused by

claims on biodegradability and compostability resulting

from conflicting approaches. If certain products that claim

to be biodegradable or compostable are proven not to fulfil

acknowledged standards, this is liable to impact negatively

on our own members’ products, even though they do fully

comply”, Sweetman further states. It should, under all

circumstances, be avoided that products carrying the

compostability mark of European Bioplastics, the seedling,

be associated in any way with so-called ”oxo-biodegradable”

products and the like.

Products carrying the seedling (see page 9) have

undergone rigorous independent testing beforehand. Only if

proven to comply with the strict standards on biodegradability

or compostability, such as ISO 17088, EN 13432 or other

similar standards, can the tested material or product be

awarded the seedling.

“This is also why we so vigorously fought against the

attempt of the ‘oxo-biodegradable’ industry to water-down

the criteria of the EN 13432, requesting longer timeframes for

materials to decompose. It would not have been in the public

or the composting industry’s interest to have compromised

the strict criteria of EN 13432 which ensures the materials

are fit for purpose”, the chairman adds. “Fortunately, our

position is fully shared by the experts of the plastic and

packaging sectors, as was evident during the last meeting of

the relevant Working Group of The European Committee for

Standardization (CEN) on July 9, 2009, where the requests

for revision of the standard were rejected.”

In the next issue bioplastics MAGAZINE will publish extracts

from the position paper, the complete version of which can

be downloaded from

interpack 2011 –

Again a Promising

Product Think-Tank

Five years after the launch of the special show

concept ‘Innovationparc‘ the bioplastics theme has

become such an established fixture that it will form

an integral part of the regular ranges on display at

interpack in 2011 (to be held in Düsseldorf,Germany

from 12 to 18 May). interpack is the world‘s most

important trade fair for the packaging sector,

including packaging in glass, metal and aluminium,

paper and cardboard as well as conventional plastics,

and its relevant processing industries.

Bioplastics made their debut at the ‘Innovationparc

Bioplastics in Packaging‘ in 2005 represented by 20

exhibitors on 250m² of rented exhibition space. Three

years later this theme was featured four times as

prominently at interpack 2008 with 40 companies on

1000 m². Commenting on this, Bernd Jablonowski,

the Director of interpack, said: “The development

of bioplastics over the past few years confirms our

approach of using the innovationparcs to address

trend themes that promise ‚substance‘ for the

future.“ For interpack 2011, the association European

Bioplastics expects further interest on the exhibitors‘

part. “Four months before registration documents are

to be sent out, there are already signs of a doubling

of the exhibition area occupied by the bioplastics

industry compared to 2008,“ says Hasso von Pogrell,

Managing Director at European Bioplastics.

Companies wishing to exhibit in the Bioplastics

segment of interpack 2011 can register with Messe

Düsseldorf from October 2009 on (Mr Grosser, Tel.:


Official deadline for registrations is

February 28, 2010.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


Australian Biograde


Cardia Bioplastics

Rapidly expanding Australian based global supplier

of resins derived from sustainable resources Biograde

has rebranded its business and product range to reflect

changing technology and market direction. Under the new

Cardia Bioplastics ® name, the company will continue to

expand internationally as a developer, manufacturer and

marketer of sustainable resins for packaging and plastic


Cardia Bioplastic‘s manufacturing plant and Product

Development Centre are in Nanjing, China. The company

has offices in Europe and the Americas, and a network

of leading distributors across Australia, the Americas,

Europe and Asia.

“Growth for our business is fuelled by the global trend

towards sustainable packaging,” said managing director

Dr Frank Glatz. “Our key people are skilled plastics

industry leaders widely recognised for their sustainable

resins expertise. We hold a strong patent portfolio and

a track record for creating innovative products with our

proprietary technology.“

Cardia Bioplastics is a registered name of Biograde

Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Cardia Technologies


Biodegradable Bags

Project in Thailand

In conjunction with the BioPlastics Asia 2009 forum, the

National Innovation Agency (NIA) of Thailand, Deutsche

Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ:

German Technical Cooperation), Thai Bioplastics Industry

Association (TBIA) and BASF recently announced that

they have joined forces in pilot projects to promote the

use of biodegradable bags. The inaugural pilot project,

which will run from July to December 2009 in the Samut

Songkhram Province, aims to use biodegradable bags

to collect household organic waste in the most efficient

way and produce high-quality compost that will serve as

organic fertilizer for the purpose of soil improvement.

“Biodegradable plastics present an important

contribution to efficient biowaste management.

Additionally, as a secondary raw material postcomposting,

it can also be used to provide an economical

and ecologically viable utilization possibility – fertilizer

in this case. This kind of organic waste recycling will

be an important waste management model and further

the evolving bioplastics market in Thailand as well”

said Dr Supachai Lorlowhakarn, Director of NIA. The

NIA successfully developed the National Roadmap for

the Development of the bioplastics industry in Thailand,

which was approved by the Cabinet on 22 July 2008.

NIA will support the cost of biodegradable plastic

bags and project management to the Development

of Environment and Energy Foundation (DEE) for the

separation, collection and organic treatment / composting

of waste. The composting process will be managed by

TCM Environment, with its state-of-the-art bio-digester

that will convert the organic waste collected, into endproducts

that can be used as fertilizer. For the production

of the biodegradable bags, TBIA will compound starch

with BASF’s Ecoflex, a fully-biodegradable, compostable

polyester which is tear-resistant, puncture-resistant,

waterproof, printable and elastic.

“Thailand has an abundant supply of renewable

resources, such as tapioca for the production of starch.

As such, starch will be an important raw material for the

bioplastic industry development in Thailand. The pilot

project in Thailand is another step to build up the domestic

market and elaborate on the application of bioplastics

for the entire life cycle” said Somsak Borrisutthanakul,

Chairman, TBIA - MT.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

8 weeks later


New Legislative

Approach on

Bioplastics in Latvia

Mirel Bioplastic


Compostable by BPI

Metabolix recently announced that Mirel bioplastic

resins (PHA) produced by Telles have been certified

compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute

(BPI), an independent North American certifier of

compostable material. BPI certification shows that Mirel

base resins comply with the specifications established in

the American Society for Testing and Materials standard

ASTM D6400 for composting in a professionally managed

composting facility.

In May Mirel resins received certifications from Belgiumbased

Vinçotte of ‘OK Compost“ for industrial composting

and ‘OK Compost HOME“ for home composting.

“Materials certification is an important process for the

bioplastic industry to embrace,“ said Bob Findlen, Vice

President of Sales and Marketing for Telles. “Product

manufacturers, brand owners, and their customers

need to have confidence that the biodegradability

and compostability claims of materials suppliers

are substantiated by scientific data and third party


Homo ecos:, the Latvian representation of the

bioplastics industry, has initiated a cabinet ordinance

that is preparing to implement EN 13432 and EN 14995

standards into national legislation. European Bioplastics,

the European representation of the bioplastics industry,

supports the new legislative approach in Latvia.

A cabinet ordinance initiated by homo ecos: is currently

under way to define biodegradable plastics as certified

compostable according to EN 13432/14995. “At the

moment we are strongly committed to the translation of

the European standards for compostable bioplastics EN

13432 and EN 14995 into Latvian. This is necessary so that

the standards can be taken over in national legislation,“

says Andrejs Viks, spokesperson and board member of

homo ecos:. A tax on natural resources in Latvia grants

packaging made of biodegradable plastics a significantly

reduced tariff compared to conventional plastic materials.

The new ordinance makes certification and labeling

mandatory for bioplastics products if they want to profit

from the lower tariff.

“European Bioplastics welcomes the initiative by homo

ecos:. Eastern Europe is a market of great possibilities

for our industry.“, states Andy Sweetman, Chairman of

European Bioplastics. “It is good to see the visibility of

our products growing and the support for bioplastics

strengthened in Latvia. We are looking forward to further

improve our collaboration locally in all fields of work.“

Homo ecos: is the newest member of the Congress of

the European and National Bioplastics Organisations and

Networks (CEBON), which is coordinated by European

Bioplastics. The concept of homo ecos: is to assemble

different sustainable technologies under the roof of one

representation. Next to bioplastics, projects in the field of

paper and renewable energies are envisaged.

The „seedling“ quality

symbol stands for approved

compostability. It is awarded

to certified products following

certification based on

european standards EN 13432

and EN 14995.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


Andy Sweetman,

New Chairman

of European Bioplastics

End of April the industry association European Bioplastics

elected their new board to be chaired by Andy Sweetman

(Innovia Films), After his first 100 days in the job,

bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke with Andy Sweetman.

bM: What are your general thoughts about the association. Is it

a development from a German to a European ‘thing‘ or is it even

recognized and heard globally?

AS: It is gratifying to see how European Bioplastics has

transformed itself over the past 5 years from an essential national

association in Germany, to become the voice of the Bioplastics

industry on a Pan-European basis. During that time it has also

witnessed significant growth from representing a small number

of different companies and technologies into an association

directly representing over 70 different companies and acting as

the voice for the entire industry. Beyond that many other regions

of the world look to European Bioplastics for advice and guidance

on the growth and positioning of the Industry.

In the board elections this spring we said goodbye to a number

of board members who have overseen this transition from a small

national organisation to a larger and truly European association. A

special word of thanks must go to these people who have given so

much of their personal time to allow this to happen. Obviously with

so much change at once it can be difficult to maintain continuity.

However at the same time it brings fresh views and a fresh drive

to move things forward. What I am especially pleased about is that

the new board directly represents the different types of company

we have within the association. We have board members from

companies manufacturing raw resins and polymers and others

who process these into finished products; we have materials

that are compostable but not necessarily renewable, and others

whose interest is principally around renewability. This ensures

all the different 'schools‘ are well represented.

bM: What are your personal targets for the next one to three


AS: I hope that my personal targets for European Bioplastics

are closely aligned with the targets of the board and our

membership, namely:

• To ensure the different backgrounds of our member companies

and their product streams are fully represented, regardless of

whether one‘s focus is more on composting or renewability or

a mixture of both.

10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

• To concentrate on providing tangible proof of the

various benefits of bioplastics within the wider context

of packaging and non-packaging applications.

• To show the benefits of readily renewable raw


• To define the advantages of the various end of life

options that bioplastics can bring.

• To ensure that LCA methodology can also highlight the

benefits of bioplastics more effectively.

• To ensure that strong, clear and independent

certification schemes are in place for both composting

and for the measurement of biobased content. In

particular to ensure the industry has an effective

choice of providers for these schemes and that there is

maximum compatibility behind the schemes offered by

the different providers.

bM: Where is the association going?

AS: I think we must continue to grow within our

European base, but at the same time strengthen our links

with similar associations and stakeholder groups inside

and outside of Europe. We already have good links with

associations such as the Japanese BPS and the BPI in

the United States. We have provided strong support to

the recently formed Australasian Bioplastics Association,

including the licensing of the seedling logo for their use

‘down-under‘. I‘d like to see us continue to proactively

support similar activities in other regions.

Realistically we will remain an essentially European

organisation, but our position of expertise and leadership

can extend much more widely in terms of supporting the

activities of local associations around the world.

bM: What do you think about bioplastics in the current

economic situation?

AS: These are tough times for any industry, the toughest

I think any of us have ever known. Our industry is young

and realistically most materials within the bioplastics

world are still relatively low scale and higher cost. They

are therefore unlikely to be part of the ‘value‘ lowest-cost

categories that do best in a recession.

However the issues of improving waste management

and the needs of business to drive towards sustainability

do not simply disappear because of a recession.

What I think many of us are seeing is that retailers,

brand owners and other companies almost see this as

an opportunity to ‘get their ducks in a row‘ as we say in

English; to prepare for the future and make intelligent,

positive moves without having to necessarily rush into

decisions this year.

I think many of us will actually look back on this period

as one when sales growth was less impressive, but when

the foundations were built for real progress afterwards.

bM: Thank you Mr. Sweetman - and good success …



Hans-Josef Endres, Andrea Siebert-Raths

Technische Biopolymere

Rahmenbedingungen, Marktsituation,

Herstellung, Aufbau und Eigenschaften

628 Seiten, Hardcover

Engineering Biopolymers

General conditions, market situation,

production, structure and properties

number of pages t.b.d., hardcover,

coming soon.

New Book!

This new book is available now. It is written in German , an

English version is in preparation and coming soon. An e-book is

included in the package. (Mehr deutschsprachige Info unter

The new book offers a broad basis of information from a plastics

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of the biopolymer market, the different materials and suppliers

as well as production-, processing-, usage- and disposal

properties for all commercially available biopolymers.

The unique book represents an important and comprehensive

source of information and a knowledge base for researchers,

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industry as well as universities.


Definition of biopolymers

Materials classes

Production routes and polymerization

processes of biopolymers


Comprehensive technical properties

Comparison of property profiles

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Disposal options

Data about sustainability and


Important legal framwork

Testing standards

Market players

Trade names



Current availabilities

and future prospects

Current application


Future market development

Bestellen Sie das deutschsprachige Buch für EUR 299,00.

order at, by phone

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bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 11

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NPE Review

Even if NPE, ‘The International Plastics Showcase’ in Chicago

from June 22 to 26, 2009 had a decrease in the number of

visitors by 30%, a good portion of the approximately 44,000

visitors were very interested in bioplastics. At least this was our

impression when we attended our booth in the West hall.

After a comprehensive preview of this big plastics show in the

last issue, we just add a few more small notes here.

API S.p.A. from Mussolente, Italy presented

APINAT biodegradable elastomers. Apinat is

available in softer grades with 60-90 Shore A

and in harder grades with 35-85 Shore A. The

biodegradability meets EN 13432 and ASTM 6400

standards. Apinat can be processed using all

methods for plastics, such as injection moulding.

extrusion blow moulding, calendering and hard/soft

over- or co-moulding onto most of the biodegradable

plastics commercially available.

Polyvel, Hammonton, New Jersey, USA have

developed in conjunction with NatureWorks a series

of masterbatches based on Ingeo PLA designed for

use in film, foam, injection moulding, blow moulding

and sheet extrusion. Their clarifier S-1378 not only

improves the clarity of PLA but it also raises the heat

deflection temperature, as stated in Polyvel’s NPE

brochure. Another clarifier for PLA (S-1417) can be

used to reduce the cycle time.

Jamplast, Ellisville, Missouri, is the largest

distributor of biopolymers in North America. The

family-owned company is a one-stop source for

biopolymers, engineering polymers and commodity

grade thermoplastics. Jamplast is currently an

authorized distributor of NatureWorks biopolymers,

Cereplast biopolymers, Merquinsa Pearlthane,

PSM North America and others. At NPE Jamplast

hosted a luncheon with presentations from Mark

Verbruggen (NatureWorks), Frédéric Scheer

(Cereplast) and Daniel Tein (PSM North America).

PolyOne launched three new products at NPE: The

Resound platform of biopolymer compounds is formulated

with a 30% minimum bio-derived content and offers a

substantial boost in performance for current and future

bio-based materials. Key improvements include levels of

heat tolerance and impact resistance unobtainable with

neat bioplastics, as stated by PolyOne. Resound compounds

combine compatible engineering thermoplastic resins

with bio-based polymers such as PLA, PHB, PHBV, and

biopolyesters. Future grades may take advantage of biopolymer

resins currently in development but not yet commercially

available. Initial Resound grades feature heat resistance

(HDT) up to 120°C (248°F) and impact resistance up to 53 J/m

(12 ft-lb/in).

Versaflex BIO TPEs (Thermoplastic Elastomers) for injection

molding are formulated with 63 to 70 % renewable resources,

compared to typical compounds that use a maximum of 15 or

20 %. The Versaflex BIO family of TPEs compares favorably

to typical styrenic-based TPEs The translucent grades are

available in a range of 40 to 70 Shore A hardness.

Merquinsa and PolyOne announced the world’s first halogenfree

flame-retardant biobased thermoplastic polyurethane

jointly developed by the two companies. Merquinsa’s Pearlthane ®

ECO technology, a polyether polyurethane based on natural

renewable sources will be marketed globally by PolyOne as

part of the OnFlex TM family of thermoplastic elastomers. The

minimum amount of

natural renewable

sources in the

polyurethane resin 50%

(as certified by ASTM D


OnFlex for wire and

cable applications

12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Bioplastics hot topic at SPE‘s ANTEC 2009


The Bioplastics Special Interest Group (SIG) at the Society

of Plastic Engineers (SPE) was created in September 2008

for the purpose of providing a unified forum for promoting

open exchange of scientific and engineering knowledge

related to polymeric materials that are fully or partially

biobased with the ‘Cradle-to-Cradle’ emphases. The areas

of interest include synthesis, characterization, processing,

structure-property relationships, degradation, product

design and development, application, modeling, regulations

and compliance and life-cycle analyses. To achieve these

objectives, the Bioplastics SIG collaborates closely with

other interested technical divisions of SPE, national and

international organizations, associations, and institutions

to coordinate dissemination of the accumulated knowledge

and understanding through appropriate channels.

ANTEC 2009 on June 22 in Chicago was the first opportunity

to support the above mentioned mission of the Bioplastics

SIG. The two day session provided a great forum to bring

the exports together, discuss new results of research and

practical aspects of this field. The Monday morning session,

which covered papers about the properties of PLA, PLA foams

and PLA composite materials, was opened by a keynote

lecture given by Mr. Richard Bopp from NatureWorks, titled

‘Advances in Ingeo Biopolymer Technology for Durable


The afternoon session was dedicated to synthesis of and

properties of thermoplastic starch and other bioplastics.

This session was opened by an overview of renewable fillers

for thermoplastics - challenges and opportunities, a keynote

lecture, given by Prof. Leonardo Simon from University of

Waterloo, Canada.

The Tuesday sessions were organized jointly with the

Flexible Packaging division, focusing on sustainability. The

morning session dealt with processing costs, environmental

impact, life cycle estimation and screw design considerations.

Mr. James Huang as a keynote speaker from Bemis Company,

Inc. gave a presentation about the design considerations for

food packaging using bioplastic materials, while Mr. Eric

Greenberg from Eric F. Greenberg, P. C. also as a keynote

speaker, gave an overview about the laws associated

sustainability. The afternoon session started with another

keynote talk, given by Prof. Rafael Auras from Michigan

State University, covering the assessment of sustainable

packaging systems. The rest of the presentations dealt with

property improvements (impact, rheological, thermal) of

bioplastic polymers for packaging applications.

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bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 13

Bottle Applications

Coca-Cola Biobottle Uses

Biobased Ethylene Glycol

By Michael Thielen

Conventional Dasani bottle

to be replaced in select

markets by PlantBottle

In the last issue bioplastics MAGZINE reported about the planned launch of Coca-

Cola‘s PlantBottle. This new plastic bottle will be made partially (up to 30%) from

plants. As promised this issue will present a more comprehensive view to this new


As stated by Coca-Cola the PlantBottle is a 100% PET plastic beverage bottle. The

PET resin used for these bottles is sourced from up to 30% plant-based renewable

material. Currently, PlantBottle is made from a blend of petroleum-based and existing

sugar cane/molasses-based materials. The long-term focus is on the development

of plastic bottles made from lignocellulosic plant waste material such as wood chips,

corn stover or wheat stalks. Coca-Cola‘s goal is to bring plastic bottles to market that

are fully recyclable and made from 100% renewable raw materials.

But for the time being, the status-quo is the PlantBottle with up to 30% plant-based

renewable material. In a direct conversation with Coca-Cola bioplastics MAGAZINE

questioned how the 30% can be understood. PET is made from mono ethylene glycol

(MEG) and terephthalic acid (TA). Lisa Manley, Director of Sustainability Communications

of The Coca-Cola Company explains that currently the mono ethylene glycol is being

produced from renewable resources such as sugar cane and molasses (a by-product

when producing sugar from e.g. sugar cane). Based on a molecular weight ratio of the

MEG used to make the PET vs. the molecular weight of the final PET, exactly 31.25%

of the PET is contributed by the MEG. Thus if all MEG used to produce the PET were

made from renewable resources, the renewable content would be 31.25%. Now as

all the MEG can be biobased (not necessarily must), Coca-Cola states that up to 30%

of the PET will be made from plants. That is how the ‘up to 30%‘ statement is to be


Would the biobased content be calculated according to ASTM 6866, based on the

amount of renewable carbon, the picture would look slightly different.

(mono ethylen glycol + terephthalic acid PET + water) or

C 2

H 6

O 2

+ C 8

H 6

O 4

C 10

H 8

O 4

+ 2 H 2


(the carbon atoms printed in green being plant based or renewable C 14 and those

printed in red being fossil based C 12 )

This leads to the conclusion that if all MEG would be plant based, the content of

renewable carbon in the PlantBottle PET would be 20%.

This is not at all meant to criticize. It is just to clarify the facts. Coca-Cola‘s approach

is absolutely positive as the replacement of as much fossil based carbon in plastics

applications as possible is a very important goal. Thus the PlantBottles help to

reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared with petroleum-based PET and to reduce

dependency on oil which is a finite and non-renewable resource. And to come back

to the goal of a 100% biobased bottle, Coca-Cola is of course carefully watching the

development in the field of creating a biobased terephthalic acid as Lisa Manley points


14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

The product is partly biobased but is not biodegradable.

However, since it is a PET like any other it is fully

recyclable. PlantBottle is the first plastic bottle (partly)

from renewable sources that can be recycled along

with other PET bottles in the existing PET recycling

infrastructure. And - again, as it is a PET bottle as any

other, PlantBottle has exactly the same performance

as the current PET bottle; no differences between shelf

life, weight, chemical composition or appearance of the

PlantBottle versus existing (petroleum based) PET plastic


Lisa Manley emphasizes that PlantBottle does not

compete with food products or scarce land for food. She

explains that they are very excited about this innovation

and that Coca-Cola do all they can to ensure the sources

are sustainable ones. And even if Coca-Cola won‘t

disclose the exact suppliers for competitive reasons she

points out that Coca-Cola did an LCA study to make sure

that different potential supply points were directionally

the right way to go from an environmental point of view.

For example Coca-Cola looked for suppliers that grow

their agricultural products in areas of the world where the

irrigation of the crops is largely rain fed. Another fact that

Coca-Cola took into consideration was that the suppliers

set up their operation with the intent to grow sugar cane

and produce molasses for non-food use.

The plans for the market introduction comprise pilot

launches of Dasani and sparkling brands in select

markets in 2009 and vitaminwater in 2010. PlantBottle

beverage containers will be identified through on-package

messages and in-store point of sale displays. Being asked

why the PlantBottles are not (yet?) planned to be used

for the big brands like Coca-Cola Lisa comments that of

course there still is a cost issue. But over the long-term,

the cost of plant-based material is expected to be more

stable than the cost of equivalent material made from

petroleum. As the demands increases it is expected that

the supply increases and the prices fall. So we will all be

curious how this development will evolve.


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bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 15

Bottle Applications

PLA Bottles - Recyclable

and Compostable

Among the increasing number of companies offering their

products in PLA bottles is the privately held Primo Water

Corporation, headquartered in Winston-Salem, North

Carolina, USA. bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke with Tim Ronan, VP

Marketing & PR of the ‘UPonGREEN‘ certified company which

was incorporated in 2004.

bM: What did you do before introducing PLA bottles?

TR: Our mission is to help people live better lives by offering

the world‘s best tasting water in environmentally friendly ways.

In 2005 we started with three and five gallon polycarbonate water

cooler bottles with a unique ‘Zero Waste‘ bottle recovery system

where the bottles never end up in a landfill (bringback - reuse

40-50 times - recycle). Since 2008 we have been offering Energy

Star rated stylish, contemporary water coolers/dispensers. We

developed that unique system and are now the largest branded

water cooler bottle company in the USA.

bM: When and why did you start your PLA-bottle activities?

TR: After almost two years of product and in-market testing,

we launched nationally in April 2008 in all Kroger grocery stores.

We introduced Primo into a huge but somewhat controversial

category of bottled water because we knew there was a better

way to offer the convenience of single serve bottled water while

not using a valuable, non renewable or sustainable, depleting

resource - oil. By using Ingeo PLA from NatureWorks, we are

using a renewable, sustainable resource and still provide the

consumer what they need in a convenient package for refreshing,

clean, great tasting bottled water.

Producing the Ingeo resin is also much more environmentally

friendly. In production, it emits 75% less greenhouse gases,

uses 49% less fossil fuels and 45% less energy versus oil based

PET resin production. So from the very beginning, the Primo

bottle, made from plants, is better for our environment in

multiple ways vs. PET.

bM: What did you expect from the project?

TR: We expected everyone to be amazed that you could make

a bottle out of plants and have it look just like any other bottle.

And they were amazed. When we tell people “this bottle is made

from plants, not crude oil“ their reaction is always “Wow! Really?

That’s great!“ We are educating the public. Many people in the

US don‘t know how widely oil is used in packaging, especially

beverage bottles. We are introducing an innovation in packaging

that is better for our environment today and tomorrow but

doesn’t change anything the consumer has to do.

16 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Bottle Applications

bM: What products are you currently bottling in PLA and planning

in future?

TR: We are only bottling Primo water today. There are other

beverages that are compatible with PLA including some fruit

juices, ready to drink teas, milk. PLA does not react well to

carbonated beverages today. We certainly will keep open our

options for expanding our offering but are concentrating on

bringing some new news, good news, to the bottled water


bM: What is Primo‘s policy as to ‘end of life‘ of the bottles? Are you

taking PLA bottles back too to reuse / recycle them or the like?

The best ‘new life‘ scenario, a phrase I like better than ‘end of

life‘ by the way, is recycling because when recovered, PLA can be

recycled 100% back into lactic acid which means it could go 100%

back into another Primo bottle. In the US Recycled PET plastic

oil based bottles are only being recycled back into new bottles

at about 8% or so. Most goes into carpeting and strapping. We

encourage recycling of our bottle and all beverage bottles. We

all need to do a better job at recycling plastic beverage bottles,

as our rate of recovery is only 24.6% of the 5.8 billion pounds

of plastic beverage bottles available in the US (2007 data). The

Primo bottle can be sorted automatically using NIR equipment,

a technology that is installed in most major recycling facilities.

Black light ‘off’

And for those recyclers that do not have NIR we invested in

developing technology that supports manual sorting. We add a

special ‘light signature‘ into our preform so when our bottle is

put under low wattage black light, it fluoresces and can easily be

distinguished from PET bottles. This is intellectual property that

we invested in to help the industry. It’s pretty cool!

Another very unique feature about our Primo bottle is that

it’s compostable (under proper composting guidelines). It proves

‘this Primo bottle is different!‘ Composting is a growing desire,

especially on college campuses. We‘ve done four tests and each

one is very consistent in its results. Michigan State University

School of Packaging recently conducted two tests that showed

the Primo bottle almost totally decomposed in two weeks! It was

completely gone in four weeks. Tests at Community Recycling

and Resource Recovery, Inc., Lamont, California showed almost

complete degradation of our bottle in two weeks. Dave Baldwin,

the General Manager of the facility said “it‘s the fastest I‘ve ever

seen a package decompose in my facility. Amazing.“ The tests

show that under proper composting conditions (heat, moisture,

microbe‘s present) Primo bottles will completely decompose

back into CO 2

, water and biomass in less than 60 days - easily.

It‘s a great ‘return to nature‘ use and it doesn‘t go in the landfill.

That‘s what most important. So the Primo bottle has multiple

options for its ‘new life‘ - a term I‘m trying to get people to

use. ‘End of life‘ means it‘s over. We want Primo to signal the

next life of the plastic. Of course even greenhouse-gas-neutral

incineration for energy recovery is an option too, but that should

be the last step when no recycling or composting is available.

Black light ‘on’

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 17












Week 0 Week 1 Week 2 Week 4 Week 8

bM: What are your future plans?

TR: We‘ll continue listening to consumers. They want

to be more environmentally friendly but they need simple

solutions. If they chose bottled water for refreshment and

hydration because it fits their lifestyle and needs, especially

versus high sugar beverages, the simple choice is to chose

a brand whose bottle does not use depleting, non renewable

resources and has multiple recovery options. Why choose an

oil based bottle when there’s a better environmental option

and, you’re getting great tasting water? There‘s no difference

in cost to making that decision and consumers feel like

they‘re doing something for their environment and for their

children‘s future environment. They want to feel less guilty

about drinking bottled water and Primo is that solution.

We‘ll keep looking for ways to bring environmentally

friendly packaging to consumers while not sacrificing the

convenience of bottled water and other beverages. And, we‘ll

continue working with the industry on new, efficient and

effective solutions to managing these new environmentally

friendly materials, too.

bM: Anything else you‘d like to add?

TR: Everyone needs to realize that we must make changes

in how we package consumer goods, especially food products.

Some new packaging, using new innovative resins, might not

be perfect today. But they also need to realize that there isn‘t

any package today that is perfect either. Take little steps and

be open to changes that are better for our environment today

and tomorrow. We all need to be in this together.

bM: Thank you very much, Mr. Ronan.

Natalia, adorning our cover-photo in

this issue, says: “Bottles made from

renewable resources - a good idea! I work

with Corvaglia, one of the leading suppliers

of caps and closures for the beverage

industry. We are also evaluating the use

of bio-based plastics for our products.”

18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

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Bottle Applications



The first decade of the 21 st century has

witnessed a steady growth and evolution

in consumer interest in products

with demonstrated ‘green‘ benefits.

This trend toward environmental responsibility

has also influenced governmental

policy-making in the United States. For

example, at the U.S. Department of

Agriculture, the BioPreferred Vendor program

(bM 02/2006) gives preferential vendor status

to those organizations and products which fulfill

the requirements of the program. A good measure of the

growth of the BioPreferred program was the recent GSA Expo 2009

in San Antonio, where over 8,000 government purchasing directors

and agents met with BioPreferred and other government vendors.

The BioPreferred products were among the most popular and wellreceived

items at the show.

Article contributed by Clark Driftmier,

President of Fairhaven Strategy Group,

Boulder, Colorado, USA

Another positive development at the Federal level is the new ‘Green

the Capitol‘ initiative which is a broad program to bring mainstream

environmental responsibility to government, specifically to the U.S.

Capitol building and the many offices of the House of Representatives.

Recycling stations have been placed everywhere. Café’s and food

service venues serve bottled water in bio-packaging. There is even

a composting program for food waste, bio-packaging and other

compostables. This program, under the direction of Perry Plumart, is

growing rapidly and will expand into other areas of Capitol operations

over the next several years.

20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Bottle Applications


(Photo: iStock)

Capitol Hill

Naturally Iowa, a publicly-traded company from Clarinda,

Iowa, USA is one innovative company taking advantage of

these positive trends. Naturally Iowa was the world’s first

beverage company to use PLA bio-packaging exclusively

for its organic and natural dairy products (bM 02/2007). The

company’s new Green Bottle TM Spring Water, made with

water that recently won the world bottled water tasting

competition, is made with PLA bio-packaging (bM 06/2008).

Company founder and CEO Bill Horner, a farmer and

agricultural entrepreneur, has been successful securing

BioPreferred vendor status and subsequently gaining

distribution with several governmental agencies, including

USDA and the US Capitol. Green Bottle Spring Water is

now the exclusive bottled water supplier to the ‘Green the

Capitol‘ initiative, is served to Congressional representatives

and staff in House offices, and can also be found in the

commissaries at USDA headquarters in Washington DC.

Green Bottle Spring Water was also featured recently at the

GSA Expo 2009 and was the exclusive bottled water provider

for the Expo.

Bill Horner sees several important initiatives as he

builds the business for Green Bottle Spring Water. According

to Horner, “Our business for Green Bottle Spring Water

will grow as we expand into a greater number of venues

where consumers are oriented in favor of environmentally

responsible products that also have superior taste. It’s also

important that disposal and ‘end of life’ issues are resolved,

which for traditional PET packaging presents a major hurdle.

As many are aware, there is a significant backlash against

PET or PC packaging, both for the disposal and waste issues

and also due to increasing concerns about the potentially

harmful health impacts of BPA (in the case of polycarbonate

water bottles). Bio-packaging offers an excellent solution

and is the environmentally responsible packaging for

bottled water and many other products.” Horner continued,

“Fortunately for us, the governmental agencies and food

service providers that we have contacted have shown an

understanding of these issues and a strong desire to create

greener options for their agencies and staff.”

Horner noted several important trends which will drive

the growth in sales of products using bio-packaging.

“Governmental interest will continue to grow rapidly,” said

Horner. “I believe that there will be a rapid acceleration of

bio-plastics adoption by governmental agencies, and they

will use the BioPreferred program to help demonstrate

a positive commitment to environmental stewardship. As

a result, this support will significantly reduce the use of

petroleum-based plastics for foods and other products sold

at these agencies. City governments will also adopt similar

policies, as evidenced by the recent actions in San Francisco

and other U.S. municipalities to restrict or even prohibit

the use of PET bottles. There will also be an increased

push in school systems, especially at the Primary level, to

reduce or restrict the use of PET bottles for environmental

reasons. The alternative, beverages and other foods using

bio-plastics, will see greater acceptance and adoption by the

food service providers who work with school systems and

other institutions.”

Looking to the future, Horner was sanguine about the

prospects for bio-packaging. “When I founded Naturally

Iowa” said Horner, “the company based its mission on the

benefits of bio-packaging and committed ourselves fully

to environmental responsibility. Starting with our dairy

products, and continuing with Green Bottle Spring Water,

every product we have introduced has shown both the promise

and the practicality of bio-packaging. Other companies have

followed a similar path, and I’m very encouraged by what

I now see in the stores, in food service and institutional

sales. From bottled water to trash bags to shampoo to baby

spinach, products with bio-plastic packaging are growing in

both breadth and depth. The next five years will be a period

of significant growth for our industry. We plan for Naturally

Iowa and Green Bottle Spring Water to fully participate in

this growth. We will continue to be a good partner in the

promotion of bio-plastics as the best, most environmentallybeneficial

way to package products.”

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 21

Bottle Applications

Extrusion Blow Moulding

Fig 1: oval and round bottle made

by W. Müller, Troisdorf, Germany

By Michael Thielen

Besides films and bags, rigid packaging such as trays or

clamshells, and bottles, are all part of the huge range

of packaging applications where bioplastics are increasingly

being used. However, when talking about bioplastic bottles

most people immediately think of stretch blow moulded PLA

bottles, which look very similar to PET bottles. The first bottles

that appeared on the supermarket shelves in the early 1990s

were however, extrusion blow moulded shampoo-bottles. Under

the brand name Sanara the German company Wella marketed

a shampoo that was packed in extrusion blow moulded PHBV

(Biopol by ICI, see bM 02/2009). After market introduction in Japan

in 1991 and the USA in 1995 these applications disappeared.

Since then I have seen an increasing number of bottle samples

that have been extrusion blow moulded from different types of

biopolymer. Having worked in the blow moulding industry for almost

15 years I am prepared to say that most of the bottles that

came into my hands were of a rather poor quality in terms of

rigidity, wall thickness distribution or surface appearance.

The most recent example that I found did however really

attract my interest. This generic oval bottle (shampoo or

ketchup style) was made from a mix of different grades of

Bio-Flex ® (PLA/Copolyester blend) developed by FKuR/

Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Germany. The bottles are not yet in the

market for any commercial application, but I was impressed by

their nice pearlescent, slightly glossy surface, their perfect wall

thickness distribution - and the subjective rigidity that comes

close to conventional HDPE bottles.

It all started when a sales manager from W. Müller GmbH

of Troisdorf, Germany (a supplier of extruders, heads and

auxiliaries for blow moulding machines) came across the

BioFlex resins from FKuR. For test runs on W. Müller‘s own

brand laboratory machine an existing ketchup bottle mould and

a small round bottle mould were chosen.

In order to find the optimum grade for this kind of application,

two types of BioFlex were blended in different ratios. Firstly, not

all thermoplastic materials can be extrusion blow moulded - a

certain melt strength is needed because the extruded tube-like

parison needs to hang freely below the die-head of the blow

moulding machine. However, even the softer grade BioFlex

F 2110 could be processed into a parison and subsequently

inflated into the mould to form a bottle. This bottle was, however,

rather soft. So, in the next steps, BioFlex F 2110 was dry blended

with the more rigid BioFlex F 6510. The most promising results

were achieved with a mix of 80% BioFlex F 6510 and 20%

BioFlex F 2110.

22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Bottle Applications

of Bioplastics

The W. Müller WMB 4-100 single station blow moulding

machine is a shuttle type machine equipped with a continuous

single parison head S1/60 (60mm max. die diameter). The

40mm extruder (L/D=25) was run with a standard PE-screw and

a smooth barrel. “Basically the BioFlex resins can be processed

on standard blow moulding equipment without any hardware

modifications, “says Michael Lang, Laboratory Manager at W.

Müller, “The only issue that needs attention is the temperature

profile in the extruder and head,“ he adds. The temperatures

were all in the range of 170-180°C.

The final bottles are currently being tested in different longterm


Company Joh. Sieben from Heinsberg, Germany blow

moulded the square bottle shown in Fig 2. Mr. Karl Schütt,

Technical Manager of Joh. Sieben told bioplastics MAGAZINE that

even bottles made from 100% BioFlex F 6510 easily survived a

droptest from a height of 1.5 m.

One well known challenge for BioFlex in this kind of application

is its limited barrier against water vapour and (depending on

the product to be filled) against other media such as oxygen or

aromatic compounds. However, the production of a multilayer

structure, for instance with a barrier layer embedded between

an inner and outer layer of the base material, is technologically

an easy task in extrusion blow moulding. And there are already

a few biodegradable barrier materials available. Such materials

are, for example, Nichigo-G (an amorphous vinyl alcohol, see

page 30), PGA and others. Future experiments will be carried

out to determine whether these resins are suitable for use in

improving the barrier properties.

Even if today‘s bioplastic bottles are almost exclusively

stretch blow moulded from PLA, extrusion blow moulding

with its tremendous versatility with regard to possible shapes

and freedom of design for hollow articles - not only for

packaging applications - offers a huge potential for bioplastics


Fig 2: Square Bottle made by

Joh. Sieben, Heinsberg, Germany

Fig 3: Piggy bank blow moulded from

100% BioFlex F 6510 on a Kautex KEB 5 at

Dr. Reinold Hagen Stiftung Bonn, Germany

In any case, most of the 120 customers at W. Müller‘s open

house a few weeks ago were as impressed as I was when the

BioFlex F bottles were presented for the first time to a broader

public. In addition W. Müller showed a 3-layer bottle made from

HDPE as the inner and outer layers and with a middle layer

made from a starch based biopolymer by Cardia Bioplastics ®

of Australia.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 23

Bottle Applications

Using Near-Infrared

to Recycle

Article contributed by

Tim Vanyo, Principal Applications

Engineer, NatureWorks LLC

Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA

In the last several years, new plastic bottles made from renewably

resourced Ingeo (polylactic acid) PLA have entered

the market. Brand-owner and retailer demand for

such bottles continues to be strong, signifying society’s demand

for more sustainable products and market development.

Since Ingeo bottles look and feel similar to PET bottles,

recyclers often assume that material identification between

the two is difficult and have been concerned that appreciable

contamination of PET with PLA may result.

In order to continue to introduce Ingeo biopolymer into the

plastic bottle market in a responsible way, NatureWorks LLC

and Primo Water Corp. conducted a commercial-scale bottle

recycling evaluation to determine whether automated systems

being used today in the recycling industry are capable of

separating PLA bottles from PET bottles with good accuracy

and efficiency. In this evaluation, near-infrared (NIR) equipment

was used since it is a common sortation technology in large

recycling operations and can accurately identify many different

types of polymers.


The objective of the work was to determine whether plant

made PLA materials can be effectively separated from the

PET plastic bottle recycling stream and does not appreciably

contaminate downstream recycled PET (rPET) extrusion

processes. The test involved spiking in a known level of Primo’s

PLA bottles into a PET deposit stream during the sortation

process. That level was chosen so as to simulate market share

significantly above today’s level. The field tests, held earlier

this year at major recycling and rPET sheet extrusion facilities,

were conducted under actual operating conditions. A TITECH

near-infrared optical sorter already being run at the facility

was used for the test.

Step 1.

Set-up and

calibrate NIR


for PLA bottle


Step 2.

Spike known amt.

of PLA bottles

into clear PET

deposit bale

during largescale


Step 3.


sorting process


Step 4.

Make lab plaques

and compare test

flake to control

flake after the

washing process.

Step 5.

Complete largescale

PET sheet

run. Determine

how spiked PLA

level affects PET

sheet quality.

Is PET sheet

spiked with PLA

sellable and

accepted by


Figure 1 - Process Flow for NIR Sortation Study using PLA Bottles

24 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Bottle Applications


PLA Bottles

The objectives of this work:

• Determine whether NIR equipment now in the field is able

to recognize PLA’s NIR signature and capable of sortation at

commercial-scale production rates

• Process and evaluate using existing equipment under

normal processing conditions

Fig 2: Flake Samples (Left – rPET Control Flake;

Right – rPET Test Flake)

• Determine sorting process efficiencies

• Compare the clear rPET test flake (spiked with PLA bottles)

with the clear rPET control flake in terms of haze and color

in lab plaque samples

• Validate the impact clear rPET test flake (spiked with PLA)

has on commercial sheet quality (haze and color) and endproduct

value (sellable or not).

Field test

The process flow in figure 1 illustrates the steps carried out

for this sortation study.

Tests were conducted on a commercial recycling line where

a feedstock of PET bottles was being run at over 2,000 kg/hr.

For the test, Primo bottles, made with Ingeo biopolymer, were

inserted into the PET stream at a volume assuming Primo

were the fourth largest water brand in North America (a level

significantly higher than Primo’s current market share). The

spiking level was achieved by adding in a calculated number of

Primo bottles matched to the measured throughput of the PET

feedstock on the sorting line.

Current industry guideline suggests levels of more than

1,000 parts per million (ppm) of PLA in the PET post-sort

stream would cause contamination. The amount of Primo

bottles that entered the recycled PET stream after NIR sorting

was measured at 453 ppm. The low amount of PLA in the

recycled PET was due to high efficiency in sorting the PLA from

PET using the NIR Titech sorter already in use at the facility.

The sorter was calibrated and fine-tuned by a technician for

PLA recognition before the test run without any significant

problems. The Titech NIR sorting efficiency test results are

summarized in [Table 1].

Using the control and test rPET flake from the sorting tests,

commercial sheet was made to determine how the spiked PLA

material would affect PET sheet extrusion and product quality.

1.3 mm (0.021-0.022 inch) sheet was made on an existing


TITECH sorter effective width

Type of sorting (for PET)

Table 1: TITECH NIR Sorting Efficiency

Results for PLA Bottles


40 inches


Bale spiking level 0.68 %

PLA spiking level in clear PET flake 0.75 %

Total line throughput

Removal efficiency 3 %

2118 kg/hr

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 25

Fig 3: Sheet samples: (Left Sample

– Using rPET Control Flake; Middle &

Right Samples – Using rPET Test Flake)

CIELab, 10 degrees, D65










rPET control

rPET test (w/ PLA)

50/50 blend

commercial sheet extrusion line. The control and test rPET

flake was dried normally at typical PET conditions and no

drying problems were noted by the sheet manufacturer.

At the beginning of the run, sheet was made first using

the rPET control flake (70% rPET control flake/30% virgin

PET). Right after, and without stopping the extrusion

process, sheet was then produced using the rPET test

flake (70% rPET test flake/30% virgin PET representing

a PLA bottle flake content of 317 ppm). Samples were

taken over the course of the run (6 hrs.) for color and haze











Table 2: 3mm Lab Plaque Color and Haze Comparison

In order to compare the commercial sheet samples

an independent testing laboratory was engaged. Clean

flake from both the rPET control and rPET test material

was provided to Plastic Forming Enterprise (PFE) from

the sheet manufacturer. PFE, a third-party plastics and

recycling test lab, produced and analyzed 3 mm plaque

samples made from the rPET control and test flake.

PFE’s analysis concluded there was no appreciable color

or haze difference between the rPET control and rPET test

plaque samples [Table 2]. Also, there was no appreciable

color or haze difference throughout the 6 hour course of

the commercial sheet run.

For all commercial intents, the rPET sheets were

identical and both sold successfully in the end market.






The study showed that PLA can automatically be sorted

from PET using Near Infrared (NIR) technology down to

very low levels. (only 453 ppm PLA bottles entered the

recycling stream after NIR sorting). This amount does

not result in any measurable effects for the recycled PET.

These results compare favorably with TiTech’s NIR sorting

claims of high purity (up to 98%) and efficiency (up to 95%)

using their technology. The findings of this field test should

help pave the way for further market development.

Fig 4: Schematic of a typical NIR-Spectrum,

PLA and PET peaks clearly distinguishable

26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

2 nd PLA Bottle


14-16 September 2009

Munich, Germany |

Holiday Inn City Centre

within the


Programme of

Organized by

PLA, a ‘green’ alternative for PET?

PLA for hot-fill applications?

Barrier enhancement for PLA bottles?

End-of-Life Options for PLA bottles?

Automatic sorting of PLA / PET?

Experiences from bottlers using PLA?

Want to hear more about these topics? All these subjects and many more such as labels and caps, additives

and colorants, challenges and opportunities … are being openly discussed at the 2 nd PLA Bottle Conference.

Visit to see the programme and to register.

Bottle Applications

Photo Erema Engineering

Recycling Maschinen und

Anlagen Ges.m.b.H


Degradable Additives

The (US) National Association for PET Container Resources

(NAPCOR) recently urged restraint in the use

of degradable additives in PET packaging. NAPCOR,

the trade organization for the PET packaging industry, is

concerned that no data has been made publicly available to

substantiate or document: 1) the claims of degradability of

PET resin products containing degradable additives; 2) the

effect of degradable additives on the quality of the PET recycling

stream; 3) the impacts of degradable additives on the

products made from recycled PET; and 4) the true impact on

the service life of these products.

“We urge manufacturers of PET resin and packaging to

refrain from introductions of degradable additive−containing

products until data is made available for review and

verification so we can better understand these products and

their potential ramifications,” said Tom Busard, NAPCOR’s


In 2007, 1.4 billion pounds of PET post consumer containers

were recycled in the United States. The post consumer

recycled PET infrastructure depends on the quality of the

recyclate and its suitability for a variety of next−life product

applications. The value of recycled materials, such as PET,

is an important economic driver for curbside recycling

programs throughout the country.

“Without the testing and data necessary to understand

the potential impacts of degradable additives in PET, it’s not

an overstatement to say that they could potentially put the

whole PET recycling system at risk,” said NAPCOR Executive

Director Dennis Sabourin. “We don’t yet understand the

impacts that these additives could have on the quality of the

PET recycling stream, let alone the impacts on the safety

and functionality over time of next−use PET products like

recycled−content PET packaging, carpeting, or strapping.”

NAPCOR calls for restraint: proper testing and verification

must be conducted before degradable additives are

introduced into the consumer product stream. Moreover,

NAPCOR calls on brand owners and decision makers to fully

consider the impacts behind the use of degradable additives

in light of the larger issues of sustainability, climate change

and resource conservation.

Founded in 1987, NAPCOR is the trade association for

the PET plastic industry in the United States and Canada.

NAPCOR is committed to being the credible voice and

champion of the PET industry; to facilitate solutions to PET

recycling; and to provide education on the benefits of PET


28 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


Stereocomplex PLA

Offers High Durability

Comparable to PET

Teijin Limited from Osaka, Japan, announced that it has upgraded its BIOFRONT

bioplastic with substantially improved resistance to hydrolytic degradation in hot

and humid conditions, creating new opportunities for the plant-based material’s

use in high-heat and high-humidity applications, such as automotive and electronics.

The new Biofront is at least 10 times more hydrolytic resistant than conventional

commercial bioplastic, meaning that Teijin’s plant-derived bioplastic now offers virtually

the same level of durability as polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Biofront, which was first developed in 2006 and launched in the following year, is the

world’s first mass-produced stereocomplex PLA, made with plant-based Poly-L-lacticacid

polymer (conventional polylacticacid polymer) and their enantiomer poly-D-lacticacid

polymer. This highly stable stereocomplex structure, based on Teijin’s polymer technology,

has made possible the melting point that is over 40°C higher than that of poly-Llacticacid

polymer, putting Biofront’s heat resistance on a par with oil-based polybutylene

terephthalate (PBT). As with other bioplastics, however, its polymers were susceptible

to hydrolytic degradation in hot or humid conditions, meaning that Biofront had limited

applications in certain conditions compared to regular PET.

In response, Teijin developed new technology to control reactions against high heat and

humidity at the molecular level of polymers. The result is the nearly complete elimination

of such reactions without any impact on Biofront’s intrinsic heat-resistance properties.

By proving levels of hydrolytic and hygrothermal resistance similar to engineering

plastics such as PBT and PET, the new Biofront is now suitable for a much wider range

of applications. In addition to offering increased durability in its existing capacity as a car

seat fabric, the new Biofront can be used in components and materials exposed to harsh

conditions in high-temperature or high-humidity environments

Pillar cover and front panel

made of Biofront

This new technology will be one of the core

technologies used in the production of Biofront at the

medium-volume pilot production plant scheduled to

be launched in early August at Teijin’s Matsuyama

plant in Ehime Prefecture. Production is expected to

be expanded thereafter, with the aim of positioning

Biofront at the core of the Teijin Group’s ‘Green

Chemistry’ business.

Teijin Limited recently announced that it had

transferred its 50% ownership in NatureWorks LLC

back to Cargill and terminated the joint-venture

contract with Cargill regarding NatureWorks as of

June 30.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 29


Biodegradable High

Barrier for Packaging

Soarus LLC from Arlington Heights, Illinois,

USA recently introduced ‘Nichigo G-Polymer ®’ ,

a unique multi-functional barrier and water

solution polymer developed by its parent company,

Nippon Gohsei of Japan. Unique properties of

Nichigo G-Polymer include:

1. Biodegradability

2. Water solubility at room temperature

3. Non-foaming when dissolved in water

4. Outstanding gas barrier (200-fold better oxygen

barrier dry versus EVOH)

5. High clarity

6. Extrudability with wide melt temperature

processing window

7. In water solution:

A. Chemical reactivity - receptive to

crosslinking agents

B. Protective colloid for acrylic emulsions

C. Dispersing agent for inorganic materials

8. Polymer design flexibility to meet specific

application needs

Nichigo G-Polymer is a totally new high amorphous

content vinyl alcohol resin where crystallinity can be

tailored down to the point of total amorphous character.

Nichigo G-Polymer combines two typically traded-off

functions; although it may be an amorphous resin, it

also has crystalline-like functions. Such combination

functions are evidenced by the excellent gas barrier

properties and good chemical resistance of Nichigo

G-Polymer similar to PVOH (polyvinyl alcohol) and

EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymer) resins, along

with surprisingly excellent water solubility and far

lower crystallinity.

Nichigo G-Polymer also has superior extrusion

properties, orientability, shrinkability and

transparency. It can be used in all extrusion

processes. The resin is particularly suited for

processes such as melt-spinning, oriented film,

transparent containers, injection molding and

more. Nichigo-G is biodegradable (as to Japanese

Compostability test JS K690, similar to EN 14851.

Certification tests according to ASTM 6400 are in

progress). Thus the resin lends itself to a variety of

applications such as new packaging materials that

are environmentally friendly.

Not only does it have excellent oxygen barrier but

the highest level of hydrogen barrier. It therefore has

potential use in household power fuel cell systems

and fuel-cell powered cars, hydrogen gas stations,

and the like.

Nichigo G-Polymer, when used in combination with

other resins in applications such as bicomponent

fibers, nonwoven fabrics, filters, polymer alloys, and

multi-layer films, makes possible the development

of high-strength, flexible, antistatic, and hydrophilic

functional products.

Another unique characteristic of Nichigo G-

Polymer is water solubility. It dissolves very rapidly

in water, even cold water. It has superior solubility

characteristics, which include low foaming and good

viscosity stability at low temperatures. Furthermore,

its impact on the environment is minimal, being that

it is biodegradable, it does not require antifoaming

agent, and it results in increased operating and

energy efficiency. This excellent water solubility

property of the material paves the way for its use in

applications such as water soluble films, fibers, and


Because Nichigo G-Polymer is a reactive vinyl

alcohol polymer, chemical reactions such as

acetalization, urethane formation, and others take

place with ease, making possible functional products

with extremely uniform quality and structure.

30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4



High Transparency

High Solubility

High Reactivity

Amorphous content

Article contributed by

James D. Swager, Soarus LLC, MSI Technology

Arlington Heights, Illinois, USA

Conventional vinyl alcohol resin




Hydrogen bonding strength


High Gas Barrier

High Bonding Strength

High Dispersability

Another valuable application is its use as

a functional polymer protective colloid agent

in emulsion polymerization of various acrylic

emulsions. With Nichigo G-Polymer it is possible

to manufacture emulsions with good stability and

stable viscosity at low temperatures. This allows

the creation of surfactant-free acrylic emulsions

and emulsion powders, which until now have been

difficult to achieve. The functionality of the polymer

makes possible the crosslinking of films produced

from such emulsions, as well as improves the

adhesion properties to various polar substrates

such as cellulose. Such acrylic emulsions and

emulsion powders are already being manufactured

and sold by Nippon Gohsei.

Finally, Nichigo G-Polymer has the exceptional

ability to improve the dispersion and stability of

inorganic compounds in water systems. Therefore

it has applicability as a sintered binder and coating

agent for silica, aluminazol, and other inorganic

compounds used in the manufacture of electronic

parts and inkjet papers.

With all of these multi-functional, high performance

characteristics, the new resin opens the

door to a wide range of application development.

The initial grades in the G-Polymer product line

have been established. Nippon Gohsei has set up

a semi commercial facility at its Kumamoto plant

(Uto City, Kumamoto JAPAN) for annual production

of 300 tons in 2009. There are also commercial

production facilities for 2000 tons per year, to be

ready in 2009 at its Kumamoto and Mizushima

(Kurashiki city, Okayama JAPAN) plants. Nippon

Gohsei is also considering expanded production

capability including USA production sites.

OTR (cm³ 3µm/m² day atm)





EVOH (44mol%)

EVOH (29mol%)


Nichigo G-Polymer

Temperature : 20°C


0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100


EVOH 29mol%

EVOH 44mol%

Nylon 66

Nylon 11


Article contributed by Andrea Springer,

Fraunhofer UMSICHT,

Business Unit Renewable Resources,

Oberhausen, Germany

Polyamides Based

on Biotechnological

Succinic Acid

The Fraunhofer research group develops innovative

biobased polymers.

The aim of one particular research group at

Fraunhofer UMSICHT, funded by the German Agency for

Renewable Resources (FNR), is the development of polymers

based on renewable raw materials. The main targets of the

project described in this article are polyesters and polyamides

based on biotechnologically produced succinic acid.


Polyamides are high-value polymers. Thanks to their

excellent thermal and mechanical properties they are mainly

used in special applications. The focus of the research group

is the synthesis of polyamide 44 from the monomers succinic

acid and 1,4-diaminobutane.

The properties of polyamide 44 are expected to be similar

to those of polyamide 46 which is already available on the

market. Polyamide 46 is, as shown in fig. 1, a product in

the mid price range which is primarily used in demanding


For polyamide 44 equivalent uses and similar or higher

prices are expected. Thus it appears that industrial

production of PA 44 can be competitive.

From renewable raw material to the polymeric


Succinic acid is a dicarboxylic acid with a 4-carbon chain

(fig 2). It is regarded as a favourable platform molecule in

a sustainable chemical economy. Succinic acid can easily

be produced from renewable resources by biotechnological

high priced,





Figure 2: Chemical Structure

of Succinic Acid (C 4

H 6

O 4



low priced,





mid priced,



PA 6


PA 66

PA 46




Figure 1: Price ranges, production

volumes and requirements of polymers

32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4






Succinic acid









Succinic acid



Polyester 44

Polyamide 44

Figure 3: From renewable raw materials to

industrial end products

synthesis, and there are different chemical pathways for the

derivation of other important chemicals (see fig. 3) such as

solvents, intermediates or monomers for the production of

technical polymers.

Presently, succinic acid is produced by a chemical process

starting from crude oil via maleic acid anhydride. White

biotechnology offers a good alternative to this petrochemical

pathway. Succinic acid as an intermediate of the citric acid

cycle and one of the end products of anaerobic metabolism

can easily be produced via biotechnological processes.

In the literature Anaerobiospirillum succiniciproducens,

Actinobacillus succinogenes and Mannheimia

succiniciproducens MBEL55E are mentioned as natural

overproducers and potential candidates for industrial scale

biotechnological succinic acid production. Handicaps of

these micro-organisms are the expensive media, their slow

growth and the low space/time yields. Worldwide research

groups working on this subject pursue different ways to

become competitive with the petrochemical route - mainly

cost and yield optimisation as well as genetic modification of

the micro-organisms.

On account of the observable market fluctuations

concerning volumes and prices the process under

development needs to be operable with different renewable

raw materials. Furthermore, cost reduction and yield

increase by optimisation of the fermentation medium is being

investigated. After the fermentative production downstream

processes purify the succinic acid for the following steps:

‘chemical conversion‘ and ‘polymerisation‘.

Chemical reactions convert succinic acid into technically

relevant platform chemicals and into the monomers for

polycondensation. The development of the synthesis routes

takes into account the use of already existing petrochemical

plants, so that no large investments are needed.

Together with the products from its chemical conversion,

especially 1,4-diaminobutane and 1,4-butandiole, succinic

acid is used in polycondensation reactions leading to

polyesters and polyamides. Their properties can be adapted

according to market needs by copolymerisation. The overall

process plant design should be suitable for large scale


Expected properties and possible applications

The expected properties of polyamide 44 will be similar

to those of existing polyamides, which are characterised

by good strength together with a high degree of hardness

and stiffness. Furthermore, high abrasion resistance and

dimensional stability are typical for polyamides.

Estimates of the physical data of PA 44 can be extrapolated

from those of polyamide 66 and PA 46. PA 44 will be

characterised by an extremely high melting point and a

very high crystallinity, but also by high moisture absorption.

These qualities lead to the following three possible product


• Thermally and/or mechanically high resistant parts

(preferably in water-free surroundings), for example

oil-immersed gearbox or pump parts and other engine

compartment units, soldering electrically resistant boxes

and electronic components

• Tear-proof fibres with high water absorption, e. g. for

outdoor wear or textile adhesives

• Hydrophilic and strong polymer membranes, e. g. for the

use in filter technology

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 33


PSM –The

Renewing of a Brand

Article contributed

by Daniel Tein,

VP of North American Sales,

PSM North America,

Warrenville, Illinois

As the world of bioplastics becomes more and more a mainstream industry,

it seems it is also destined to become more and more confusing.

Everything from inadvertent greenwashing to intentional misrepresentation

is now commonplace in the eco-movement of bio-materials.

Unfortunately, PSM (plastarch material) from PSM (HK) Co. Ltd in Hong Kong

is not exempt from such treatment. PSM’s claim to fame is its large percentage

of starch content. This allows it to maximize the heat stability of the

finished product. There are few, if any, bioplastics available today that can

really match up to PSM’s heat tolerance. This makes PSM, which uses only

non-GMO (non-genetically modified) starch sources, a very appealing material

for a wide swath of applications. As a material, PSM is ASTM D6400-04

compliant up to a full 2.5mm of thickness, has a melting point of 156°C, and

softening point around 127°C.

Despite its success, or perhaps due to it, there has been quite a few

instances of counterfeit PSM, both in resin form, and in finished products. PSM

is currently manufactured in China with plans to expand production globally.

Coincidentally, much of the counterfeit products in question originate from

China and Southeast Asia. Other companies have been producing and selling

‘PSM‘ resin, only to have the finished product become moldy within weeks.

Counterfeit products in certain niche markets have become out-of-hand. For

example, nearly 90% of the starch cutlery sold in the USA is made from plastic

blended PSM. PSM North America have started stating, ‘if you didn’t buy it

from us or a source authorized by us, assume it’s not PSM’.

Despite these unfortunate distractions, PSM is looking forward to

improving the material for use in more applications. Previously, PSM was

limited heavily to thermoforming and injection molding applications. Recent

engineering breakthroughs now allow PSM to be used in extrusion blow

molding, injection blow molding, as well as blown film applications. Foaming

applications currently are still limited to packaging void fill. Commercialized

PSM applications vary widely from foodservice and green construction

materials to packaging and consumer goods. PSM does not intend to stop

there. It is planned to introduce PSM for use in foam extrusion and coating


When asked how a manufacturer using Polypropylene could make an

immediate ecological impact with their products, the answer is easy: “PSM is

incredibly compatible with PP such that a dry mix is all that is needed; there

is no need to re-pelletize or compound. Even if a relatively small percentage

of PSM is blended with PP, this can be a first step towards eco-friendliness

without impacting product performance or base cost. By mixing with plastics,

plastics processors can immediately have a partly biobased component to

their offerings, however – not biodegradable – of course. This allows the

producer to tell a sustainable/renewable story. For a compostable compliant

product, PSM should be used as a 100% standalone material.”

34 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


for Plastics




• International Trade

in Raw Materials,

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from the Industrial Sector

and the Plastics Markets

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BIB 2010

The Business Directory for Innovative Biomaterials (BIB) enters the second round!

In the second, extended edition of the Business Directory for Innovative Biomaterials (BIB 2010) companies in the field of biomaterials are

invited to place their innovative products and services. Through the business directory, which is sent with a circulation figure of at least 5,000

copies and as a PDF free of charge to biomaterial decision makers in industries and science, potential customers and matching suppliers can

easily get in touch.

Already the successfully launched BIB'09 provided for the first time an overview over the entire market for the new biomaterials. The 116 pages

long book presents 50 companies and actors from six countries. 90% of its print edition have been distributed by now. Our advertisers are greatly

satisfied with the market response. Free download on

Information and contact

In our understanding, biomaterials comprise materials, which contain at least 20% renewable raw materials. Among these count bio-degradable

and durable bioplastics, innovative derived timber products like Wood-Plastic-Composites (WPC) or thermally modified timber as well as natural

fibre reinforced plastics. In the centre of attention are manufacturers and suppliers of biomaterials and products made of biomaterials as well as

raw material suppliers, mechanical engineering companies, associations and research institutes operating in the wide field of biomaterials.

For further information and reservations, please go to

Your contact person is:

nova-Institut GmbH

Mr. Dominik Vogt

Phone: +49 (0) 22 33 – 48 14 49

Fax: +49 (0) 22 33 – 48 14 50


Send us images of your products, your product and company profiles as

well as the fax schedules A and B (see until

August 15 th 2009 – the professional layout and type setting is done for

you by our agency SSP!

Use the Business Directory BIB 2010 for your marketing!

nova-Institut GmbH | Chemiepark Knapsack | Industriestrasse | 50354 Huerth | Germany | |

Non Food

... growing algae ...

Algae to


Article contributed by Ross O. Youngs

Chief Executive Officer

Univenture, Inc.

Marysville, Ohio, USA

The newly formed company Algaeventure Systems is the

latest quest of Univenture, Marysville, Ohio, USA, a media

packaging company with a twenty-year history of innovation

and packaging. The challenge began as Univenture sought

bio-based feedstocks as a material option for its products. An

exhaustive analysis was conducted on a wide range of bio-based

materials throughout the world. Besides criteria such as product

performance, material availability, potential supply chain or

logistical issues, one aspect remained consistently important -

material costs.

One of Algaeventure Systems’ studies included a comparative

analysis of yield per acre of the primary bio-based sources. Here

was found that algae are capable of doubling its biomass in as

little as two hours. In addition, algae produce fifty percent of the

world’s O 2

while accounting for only 1% of the world’s biomass. The

extraordinary yield results motivated a deeper study of algae.

As Algaeventure Systems have discovered, algae can be grown

most effectively and economically when co-located for capital and

operational savings. Collocation examples would be coal-fired

power plants, wastewater treatment plants, food manufacturing

facilities or animal waste facilities. Nutrients are provided by

these sources for the growth of the algae as well as waste heat to

maintain the proper water temperature for optimal algae growth.

Algae contain lipids or hydrocarbons that can range from C10 to

higher than C50 that can provide the raw material for refining to

bio-diesel. When enough lipids are obtained from within the algae

cell it is possible to hydrocrack that oil. Thus precursors to polymer

molecules can be obtained, which in further polymerization steps

can be processed into plastics. Essentially any product today that

is made based on petroleum could in the foreseeable future be

replaced with algae.

As algae grow naturally or in a system, such as Algaeventure

Systems‘ Rapid Algae Farming (RAF) system, CO 2

is used to make

the biomass while oxygen is released. If algae growth systems are

co-located with a coal-fired power plant for example, the CO 2


the facility can be fed as nutrients to the algae. When the carbon

from the algae is used for making plastic, the carbon becomes

sequestered in an eco-friendly bio-plastic.

Algaeventure Systems (AVS) developed the Harvesting,

Dewatering Drying technology (AVS HDD) - a system designed to

emulate nature. The AVS HDD system utilizes very little energy

and makes the economic viability of algae as a petroleum source

foreseeable in the near future. The energy costs before the AVS

HDD technology was $875 per ton to remove the water from algae.

The energy costs with the AVS HDD is $1.92 per ton. With the most

significant cost barrier behind them, Algaeventure Systems can

now explore the limitless opportunities that algae can bring.

Algaeventure Systems is actively innovating technologies to help

make algae a viable bio-based renewable resource for plastics

and other products.

36 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Hungry for

Non Food




Article contributed by Michèl Verdaas

Product Manager Solanyl Bioplastic

Rodenburg Biopolymers B.V.

Oosterhout, The Netherlands

Article contributed by

Michèl Verdaas, Product Manager Solanyl


Rodenburg Biopolymers B.V.,

Oosterhout, The Netherlands

As experienced during the food crisis of 2008, renewable technologies have a strong impact on the

way agricultural land and irrigation water is used. Or at least, that clearly is the public perception

nowadays. One solution to avoid the ‘food vs. renewable raw materials‘ discussion is to use alternative

raw material streams instead of ‘food grade crops”. As inventors and producers of the bioplastic Solanyl,

Rodenburg Biopolymers has been confronted with the mentioned public perception as well. We spend quite

some time to explain our customers and their end customers that our product is not based on raw material

that could have been food and that this material is indeed GMO-free.

The starch used in our production process solely originates from the potato-processing industry as a byproduct

stream. Traditionally, the several by-product streams are used for live stock feed, but in Holland

there is an abundance of such by-products. The type of by-product used for Solanyl amounts at least 100

tonnes/year just in Holland. Already in 1998 Rodenburg identified this stream as a high potential material for


As one may expect, this stream as is, needs further treatment before it can be used as raw material for

starch-plastic. The technology to do so, including the conversion into TPS, obviously is Rodenburg’s ‘Coca-

Cola secret‘. The resulting starch-plastic is fully biodegradable and certified compostable (EN 13432) up

to 1.7 mm thickness. The material is engineered for injection moulding and over time Rodenburg gained

experience to deliver a wide range of grades that will meet many demands. Research has always been an

important part of Rodenburg’s activities and at the moment efforts are focused on the next generation Solanyl

to add thermoforming and blow-moulding as processing technologies.

Rodenburg has a fully owned subsidiary in Brazil and a joint venture in Canada, called Solanyl

Biopolymers Inc. Partly through the efforts of Solanyl Biopolymers inc. the Clean Air Tree Kit

( has been developed. The package in the shape of a globe is based on Solanyl combined with

PLA shrink wrap film. Another application is the ‘Greenbadge’. This is a name badge for fairs and events

to which you can attach your business card ( These, and other applications such as

brooms for street cleaning, a storage box, frisbees, a piggy bank, and a brochure holder can be seen in the


Rodenburg’s philosophy to use a by-product stream is a conscious one and this approach can also be

applied to other agricultural waste streams. Therefore Rodenburg thinks that the next generation of

bioplastics should focus more than ever on the raw material side of the production chain. By carefully

choosing components we can prevent an unjustified public blemish on the green products the bioplastics

industry is creating nowadays.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 37


Bioplastics -

from Walkman

to Ultra-Slim


Sony uses annually around 1.4 million tons of various

materials such as plastics, metals, papers, etc.,

worldwide. In order to contribute to the creation of

a sustainable society, Sony promotes the use of materials

made from renewable resources. One typical renewable material

is bioplastics made, from biomass resources.

Sony has, since 2000, been continuously increasing the

use of bioplastics in its electronics products. At this point

in time, Sony has applied the use of bioplastics to twenty

parts in over ten products, including Walkman ® casings and

the accessory cap of digital SLR cameras. Not only is the

application of bioplastics environmentally friendly, it is also

beneficial in hedging the price risk of fossil-based plastics,

because such prices are expected to go up in the long term.

Thus products with bioplastics pose an attractive offering to


Bio-polyamide for Ultra-slim TV

Sony recently applied bio-polyamide and its blend to some

parts of the Ultra-slim OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode)

television, XEL-1, manufactured for the European region.

Polyamide 11 is applied in the use of the terminal cover on

the back of the television, and ABS/ polyamide 11 blend is

used in the bottom casing and in the battery cover of the

remote controller. This is the world’s first application of high

performance bioplastics for use in a television set.

In applying ABS/polyamide 11 for the remote controller reuse

of existing mould tools originally designed for ABS was a

prerequisite. Re-use of tools is one of the effective measures

in consumer electronics to save manufacturing costs. It

requires high precision to manufacture electronics products,

thus the mould shrinkage had to be strictly controlled. For

this reason, ABS/polyamide blend, which has a similar

shrinkage ratio and mouldability to ABS, was adopted.

In applying ABS/polyamide 11 for the product casings,

good surface appearance of the moulding was required.

Flash, flow marks, or sink marks were not permissible. With

conventional plastics such as ABS it is comparatively easy

to achieve good appearance, because they have a relatively

wide range of moulding conditions, and moulders have

sufficient experience to handle them. However, the biopolyamide

exhibited completely different flow properties, so

mould tests had to be carried out a number of times before

finally identifying the optimum moulding conditions.

PLA sheet for contactless IC card

Sony also applied bioplastic to contactless IC cards. The

contactless IC cards are now widespread as e-money or

security cards and employ Sony FeliCa contactless smart

card technology. Highly secure and tamper-resistant, FeliCa

cards also support speedy data transfer. Card data can

be rewritten, so that cards can be used for a long period

of time. The card consists of a printed circuit board with IC

chip, antenna inside and plastic lamination sheets on both

sides. Sony themselves developed the PLA-based lamination

sheets. This new bioplastic IC card has been adopted as a

student and faculty ID card by Shohoku College in Kanagawa,


38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Characteristics of bioplastic application in Sony

In general, the main applications of bioplastics are in non-durable

goods such as packaging, but Sony aims to further develop its

applications in durable goods since the company uses significantly

more plastic in electronics products. Thus the durability of the material

is an important requirement. However, compostability of the material

is not a priority, because in many countries electronics products are

required by law to be recycled. Additionally, compostability sometimes

conflicts with durability, and in this case, the products are designed to

prioritize durability rather than compostability.

In consumer electronics, ABS, PC and PC/ABS blends are mainly

used, thus bioplastics are required to satisfy the same level of physical

properties as these plastics. Regarding content ratio of biomaterials,

blends of bioplastics and conventional plastics are permissible,

because the main objective in using bioplastics is to reduce the use of

fossil-based materials by using renewable materials. Thus polymers

from bio-based monomers and fossil-based monomers are also



Applying new materials to products requires various technologies. It

needs not only polymer technology, but also compounding, moulding,

design, and material evaluation technology. Thus close collaboration

with suppliers to aggregate the technologies and accelerate

commercialization is extremely important.

Sony‘s product category is very wide, including consumer electronics,

games, and non-consumer electronics and devices. Each product has

its own requirements with regard to material properties, such as heat

resistance, shock resistance, flame resistance, stiffness, durability,

and printability. No bioplastic can satisfy all requirements, thus it is

expected that many kinds of bioplastics and material combinations will

be introduced in the market. By applying significantly more bioplastics

to products, Sony are doing their best to contribute to the creation of

a sustainable society.

Article contributed by

Yuko Fujihira, Researcher,

and Hiroyuki Mori,

Senior eco-products producer

Sony Corporation, Tokyo, Japan


bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 39

Application News

Water Inc. Introduces

PLA Shrink Labels

Printpack Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, USA, is printing and converting Earthfirst ®

PLA shrink film labels for Body Glove Water Filtration Systems, manufactured

by 3M and distributed by Water, Inc.. The label is part of Water Inc’s commitment

to producing sustainable packaging.

The Body Glove water filters are the latest addition to the ECO products for

eco-friendly consumers. The package was designed to build the product line

with as many environmental considerations as possible. Cartridges, tapered in

design, make a paper label difficult to fully wrap around the recyclable filter

housing, therefore, the printed full sleeve shrink label was the ideal label since

it conforms to the shape of each cartridge. Each label covers the entire filter

from top to bottom and has a 360-degree image area with room for a complex

graphic design that sets it apart from the rest of the water filter industry. The

PLA film shrinks quickly requiring less heat. This label allows the consumer to

understand what the water filter will do for them and the environment.

PLA Desktop Accessories

Mako Plastics Ltd., Vaughan, Ontario, Canada noticed a lack of

true variety and style in desk top accessories offerings and very little

sensitivity to the environment. Up until recently, most manufacturing

gave only secondary attention to the eco-market and offered recycled

plastic products as a means to lower production costs not to conserve

the environment.

Thus Mako decided to start creating and manufacturing its own unique

line of desk top accessories, now offered under the brand name ‘Carta‘.

All Mako Collection Carta products are made of Ingeo PLA material by


Jeff Lloyd, National Sales Manager of Mako Plastics: “Our strategy is to

focus 100% of our efforts on the market for eco-friendly manufacturing

and product development. By focusing all of our efforts and energy

on this particular niche, we expect to quickly develop and maintain

a leadership position. We believe that our singular focus will give us

significant advantages.“

Mako continues to develop and introduce new Carta products helping

consumers make smart choices, work better while enjoying our unique


40 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Application News

SunChips PLA

Snack Bag

SunChips, Frito-Lay’s

popular line of multigrain

snacks, announced in April

in Plano, Texas, USA, that

in 2010 it will introduce the

first fully compostable snack

chip bag made from plantbased

materials. The change

is designed to significantly

improve the environmental

impact of its packaging.

Recently, the SunChips

brand took the first step towards this transformational

packaging. The outer layer of packaging on 10 ½ oz size

SunChips snacks bags is made from PLA. By Earth Day

2010, PepsiCo‘s Frito-Lay North America division plans

to rollout a package for its SunChips snacks where all

layers are made from PLA material so the package is

100% compostable.

“We know environmentally-friendly packaging is a

priority for our SunChips consumer,” said Gannon Jones,

vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay North America.

“(The) launch of packaging made with 1/3 renewable

materials is an important first step towards having a fully

compostable chip bag in market by Earth Day 2010.”

This packaging innovation is line with the commitment

by PepsiCo, Frito-Lay’s parent, to reduce the company‘s

impact on the environment through water, energy and

packaging initiatives.

Gucci Shoes

With a Heel Made

From Liquid Wood

The shoes designed by Sergio Rossi, a subsidiary of

the Gucci group, are made from renewable resources.

The heel is made from a liquid wood that was developed

by Fraunhofer researchers in collaboration with their

colleagues at the Fraunhofer spin-off Tecnaro GmbH.

The days are gone when one could recognise at once

shoes produced by ‘green’ and ecologically friendly

methods. The new shoe by Sergio Rossi/Gucci, the

‘EcoPump’, has an elegant and rather attractive look

about it, but it also has an additional plus point: it is

made from renewable resources. The heel is made from

a liquid wood. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for

Chemical Technology (ICT) in Pfinztal and Tecnaro GmbH,

a Fraunhofer spin-off business, jointly developed the

material, known as ARBOFORM ® .

But what are we supposed to understand by the term

‘liquid wood’?

“For paper manufacturing the pulp and cellulose

industry separate wood into its three main components

- lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose“, explains Emilia

Regina Inone-Kauffmann, team leader at the ICT. “The

lignin is however not used in the production of paper. Our

colleagues mix the lignin with fine natural fibres from

wood, hemp or flax, and natural additives such as wax.

They use this to produce plastic granules that can be

melted and injection moulded“.

There are already several products being made from

this bio-plastic material, such as car parts, figures for

Christmas cribs, loudspeaker cases and urns. “For the

shoe we had to make some technical modifications to the

material in order that the heel will stand up to the loading

to which it is submitted,“ says Jürgen Pfitzer, managing

partner of Tecnaro GmbH. “We managed to do that by

making a slight change to the composition“.

Photos: Business Wire

42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

World Fair for Beverage and Liquid Food Technology

Photo: iStock [m]


Plastic Cards

Plastek Cards, headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, USA, is

proud to introduce biodegradable plastic cards. One of

three new plastic cards is made from PLA. “We are very

pleased to add these new eco-friendly biodegradable

plastic cards to our product line,“ said Peter Tung, Director

of Plastek Cards. “We hope to do our part in reducing

waste and helping protect the global environment.“

The PLA corn cards are a new family of Plastek Card‘s

eco-friendly biodegradable plastic cards. They are

manufactured from polylactic acid (PLA). Corn cards look

and feel just like the PVC cards, and in addition to the

environmental advantages of PLA the durability, life span

and printing of the PLA corn cards are all very similar to

PVC plastic cards.

wob München


Go with the flow.

Tamper Evident

Products from Clarifoil

Clarifoil, the makers of cellulose acetate films for labels,

seals, carton windows and lamination, have published

a free brochure and samples of their growing range of

Integuard tamper evident labels and seals. Integuard

tamper evident film has been specially engineered

to retain tensile strength necessary for automatic

processing but fragment if removal is attempted for

instance in store, enabling store staff to tell at a glance if

the pack is intact.

Effective tamper evidence is desirable in all sectors

such as pharmaceuticals, perfume, cosmetics and

high end food and drink products, all areas where

Clarifoil special-effect films are widely used for pack

enhancement. Another area of application is high priced

electrical goods, as in mobile phones or MP3 players.

Clarifoil Marketing Manager Marion Bauer said:

“Tamper evidence continues to concern manufacturers

and retailers and we want to provide packaging and label

designers and producers with up to date information

about Integuard and its uses. They can use the samples

provided to test their own products”.

Buy your ticket online!

14–19 September 2009

New Munich Trade Fair Centre


Tel. (+49 89) 9 49-1 13 18 . Fax (+49 89) 9 49-1 13 19

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 43


Novel Device For Aerobic

Biodegradability Testing

More and more resources are being invested by industry

in the field of biodegradable packaging. But

just how biodegradable are these products? Have

all of them really been tested or is ‘biodegradable‘ just a

marketing argument?

Wetlands Biosciences has developed a reproducible

and cost effective test for the biodegradability of plastic

materials. It is able to function with a high degree of

autonomy, that limits labour costs and has a high degree of

scientific accuracy through auto-calibration and continuous

validation. The device can be used both by research centres

and testing and certification laboratories.


Average cumulated grammes of CO 2

by test

Aerobic biodegradability of polymers can be examined

by the method described in ISO standard 14855-1. In this

procedure pieces of the test material of a defined size (2x2 cm)

are mixed with mature municipal compost and incubated at

58°C for up to 6 months. The biodegradability of the material

is assessed by comparing the amount of CO 2

produced by

the mixture with the theoretical maximum evolution of CO 2

from the test material, corrected for the evolution from

the compost itself and the organic and inorganic matter



A group of three 3-litre glass vessels with airtight lids and

one inlet and outlet were used per experimental sample. The

first group of three, the positive control group, contained 46 g

of microfibrous cellulose (Sigma-Aldrich) in 400 g of compost.

The second group contained 46 g of polylactic acid (PLA), cut

into pieces measuring 2x2 cm, in 400 g of compost. The last

group, the blank sample, contained only 400 g of compost. At

the start of the experiment all mixtures were humidified to

the extent that manual squeezing of the compost produced a

small amount of fluid. Vessels were aerated from the bottom

by a diffuser and were made independent by virtue of the use

of a separate pressure regulator for each individual vessel.

Aeration flow was set individually for each vessel with a high

44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Article contributed by

Rob Onderwater,

Christian-Marie Bols and

Céline Dubois

Wetlands Biosciences SA,

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium


precision manual valve. During the experiment the humidity

of the compost was kept at around 50%, and the oxygen

concentration was maintained above a minimum of 6% by

regulating the flow of aeration. The compost was regularly

mixed to ensure maximal homogeneity and minimize the

formation of preferential routes for the aeration.


For all vessels the initial aeration flow rate was set at 0.5

litres/min. The vessels in the positive control group with

cellulose started to produce significantly more CO 2

than the

blank sample group after 4 days. In order for the carbon

dioxide concentration to be within range of the sensor,

the flow rate was increased in the positive control group

to 0.6 litres/min after 5 days, but was decreased again to

0.5 litres/min after 7 days. The vessels in the experimental

group with PLA only started to produce significantly more

carbon dioxide than the control group after 15, 28 and 32

days respectively. Initially carbon dioxide production in the

PLA sample group was slightly inhibited as compared to the

control group which resulted in a difference in cumulative

production of carbon dioxide only being evident after 26, 36

and 42 days respectively. Carbon dioxide production in the

blank sample group remained very stable throughout the

experiment with a small difference between the vessels. In

the blank sample group 1.75 +/- 0.35 g of CO 2

was produced

in the first 10 days. In the positive control group 70.3 +/- 1.72

g of CO 2

was produced after 108 days (2.5% variability).


Positive control (Cellulose): At the beginning of the

experiment an intense activity was observed, evidenced by

the strong CO 2

increase. This phase is facilitated by the fact

that the cellulose was added in the form of powder. After this

phase, a strong, but stable activity remains before reaching

a plateau phase due to the depletion of cellulose.

PLA: The PLA was in the form of film in 2x2 cm pieces and

not in the form of powder or in crushed form. The advantage

of using the PLA in this way is that it was possible to observe

its degradation visually. The launching phase is slower than

in the positive control sample, this can be explained by

the difficulty of the micro-organisms in degrading the PLA

presented in this form. According to literature, the first phase

of mineralization comes from the degradation of short chains

which are immediately available to the micro-organisms.

This was noted by the PLA pieces becoming firstly opaque

and the subsequent formation of blisters on the material.

The remaining fragments of highly crystalline PLA are much

more resistant to degradation. Therefore, after a period of

weak mineralization, which is relatively long, an increase in

CO 2

evolution and progressive fragmentation of the material

was noted.

Blank: The CO 2

release comes only from the internal

activity of the already matured starting compost without

addition of degradable material. A weak and stable release

of carbon dioxide is thus observed over the experimental


NB: Each agitation and re-humidification of the bioreactors

excited the activity of the micro-organisms temporarily,

which resulted in a spike in CO 2



The newly developed device was shown to function

autonomously over an extended experimental period

with limited intervention required (periodic agitation

and humidification). Sensor integrities were maintained

throughout the period and validation values remained

OK. Values measured showed a high degree of accuracy,

and little variability was observed among the vessels

of the positive controls and among the vessels of the

blanks. Variability among the vessels of the clearly highly

biodegradable PLA was shown to be primarily due to the

onset of mineralization.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 45


Land Use for Bioplastics

Article contributed by

Michael Carus and

Stephan Piotrowski,

nova-Institut GmbH,

Hürth, Germany

There is an ongoing public, political and industrial debate, with wide-reaching implications,

on the competition between food, animal feeds and industrial markets for agricultural

raw materials. This has created a lot of confusion and insecurity within the

bioplastics industry. The German automotive industry in particular has decided not to use

bioplastics based on potential foodstuffs such as sugar, starch or edible oil. This article offers

some basic facts for this debate, which will be back on the agenda as soon as the world

economy recovers and food prices rise again. The bioplastics industry should be well prepared

for this debate.

Should we use food crops for bioplastics when people are starving?

This question is really misleading. People have been using agricultural raw materials for

energy and materials as long as mankind has been on the earth. It is quite common to use

agricultural feedstock for biomaterials and this has been done on a large scale for decades.

The additional impact of bioplastics is extremely small.

The reason for hunger is not a shortage of land for food or animal feed production. We have

more than enough space to produce sufficient food to feed everybody. And we are producing the

food already. The main reasons for hunger are distribution, logistics and financial resources.

Or in other words, mankind is producing enough food and there are still huge areas free or

unused. These areas can be used for energy and industrial raw material production without

any harm, without any impact on food and animal feed production. Using these areas for

energy and industrial materials will provide additional income to many farmers, who will

be able to buy food for their families. After all, three out of four poor people in developing

countries live in rural areas.

Deciding which crops are cultivated for fuel or industrial use on free agricultural areas

should only be questions of efficiency, economy, ecology, sustainability etc. – but not a

question of whether this crop could be also used as food or animal feed. This is the wrong


Very often food crops are the most efficient industrial crops too, because they have been

optimised by selective breeding over the last 50 years. Using less efficient, non-food crops for

fuel or industrial materials would mean the inefficient use of farmland.

There is no real reason not to use food crops to produce fuel or industrial materials,

especially if they are the most efficient crops for these applications.

46 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


Residential area;

road and rail (ca. 3%)




arable land







area in




forest land

Fig 1: ‘Free’ potential agricultural area in 2006 and the

global demand for agricultural land in 2020



570 in Mio. ha

Source FAO 2008, OECD 2007, OECD-FAO 2007, FAPRI

2007, nova 2007, FAO 2000


Protected area

(ca. 10%)

year 2006 year 2020

The global demand on land in 2020:

1. Increasing demand of food per capita due to an ca. 96 Mio. ha

increase in purchasing power (more meat, ...)

2. Increasing demand of food due to population growth ca. 64 Mio. ha

3. Residential area, road and rail ca. 32 Mio. ha

4. Biofuel in the most important Biofuel countries ca. 18 Mio. ha

∑ 210 Mio. ha

Availability and use of arable land

There are 3,300 million hectares of naturally irrigated

potential arable land available on this planet. They are used

for crop cultivation (1,500 million hectares), residential

areas, road and rail (100 million hectares), protected areas

(330 million hectares) and potential forest land (800 million

hectares), so there are still 570 million hectares left. Those

areas are in Russia, Kazakhstan, Africa and South America

– often far away from any agricultural infrastructure. Until

2020 further huge areas will be put into production for crops,

but still 360 million hectares are expected to remain ‘free‘

for other agricultural uses (see Figure 1). To activate this

potential, huge investments and reform in rural areas will

be necessary.

Even in the European Union about 8 million hectares are

free and could be used for bioenergy or biomaterials. Most

of this land is located in the new member states in Eastern


Even more important than activating new agricultural

areas is to increase productivity on areas already in use.

Modern agricultural processing can increase the productivity

up to ten times compared to traditional farming. Even in the

European Union there is still much scope for productivity

increases. In Romania, for example, yields for most crops

are less than 50% of the corresponding yields in the EU-15,

despite good quality soils.

As the OECD and FAO state: “Finally, over the longer term,

agricultural supply is facing increased uncertainties and

limitations on the amount of new land that can be taken into

cultivation. Public and private investments in innovation and

increasing agricultural productivity, particularly in developing

countries, would greatly improve supply prospects by helping

to broaden the production base and lessen the chance of

recurring commodity price spikes” [1]

In July 2009 the world leaders pledged to commit $20

billion over three years for a ‘food security initiative‘ to

develop sustainable agriculture in poor countries. Addressing

the G8, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf said, “I am

convinced that you will ‘walk the talk’ not only for natural

ethical considerations but also for sound economic reasons

and, last but not least, to ensure peace and security in the

world” [2]. This commitment will trigger further investment

in agriculture and will ease the supply situation.

Some facts about biofuels and bioplastics

From a mass flow perspective, the amount of raw materials

used for the production of bioplastics is very small compared

to the amount of raw materials used for biofuels.

Different estimates by the nova-Institute show that the

impact of biofuels was about 250 times more significant

than the impact of bioplastics on food markets, agricultural

prices and land competition in 2008.

92% of the cultivated land in the world is used for food

and animal feed production, 6% for industrial materials and

2% for biofuels. That means that even the impact of biofuels

is very limited. Agricultural land used for bioplastics is less

than 0.1%.

Some facts about food prices and recent food price


Compared to other raw materials the price increase for

agricultural raw materials has been moderate over the last

six years (see Figure 2). In inflation-adjusted terms, price

levels in 2008 were even much lower than in the 1970s (see

Figure 3).

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 47




















nova-index 17

corn silver orange juice

soybeans copper platinum

wheet cocos crude oil

live cattle coffee heating oil

lean hogs sugar petroleum gas

gold cotton













Real (inflation adjusted)


nova-index energy

crude oil

heating oil

petroleum gas

nova-indices, January 1978 = 100

The commodities are equally balanced among all indices



“The commodity price spikes witnessed in the last couple of years,

and in particular most recently, are exceptional when viewed from the

perspective of the last decade or so, but not so much so when seen in

a longer historical context … the recent price spike is neither the only,

nor even the most important one to occur in the last 30-plus years.

In inflation adjusted terms, today’s prices fall well short of the peaks

achieved in the early 1970s, and neither current maize nor wheat

prices are averaging much above levels achieved as recently as the

mid-1990s” [1].

Until now biofuels have had only a small effect on world food prices.

But, while smaller than the increase in food and animal feedstuffs,

biofuel demand is the largest source of new demand for decades and a

strong factor underpinning the upward shift in agriculture commodity


The medium-term impact of biofuels on crop markets should not

be overestimated at least until 2017, having had an influence on cereal

and oilseed prices of 3% to a maximum of 10% [3].





nova-index agriculture





Fig. 2: nova price indices for agricultural and non-agricultural

commodities and energy

Fig 3: Inflation adjusted price movement of wheat

Note:Real prices deflated by USA GDP deflator; 2007 = 1

(Source OECD-FAO)









Recently the impact of bioplastics has been

about 250 times lower than the impact of biofuels,

hence lower than 0.1%. Therefore, the impact of

bioplastics on the world food market is negligible.

Additionally, producing biofuels or bioplastics

means in most cases also producing high value

protein-rich by-products that can be used as

animal feed.

The main driver for the price increase of

agricultural products is the fast growing demand

for meat and milk products (see Table 1). According

to a special Biofuels Digest report, ‘Fat vs Fuel’,

70 % of US corn and soy production is devoted to

animal feed, not food for humans, and not fuel.

Feed for animals is to provide meat, dairy and other

livestock by-products. According to the FAO and

the USDA, US meat consumption has increased to

62 kg per person since the 1950s, with a resulting

increase in grain usage of 170 kg per person (i.e.

the grain which is fed to cattle and poultry). Cheese

consumption has increased faster than milk’s

decline, and Americans consume an extra 81 kg of

milk, which uses up another 29 kg of grain.

Today 2050

People on our planet 6.5 Billions 9.0 Billions (+38%)

Meat Production 229 Mio. t 465 Mio. t (+103%)

Milk Production 580 Mio. t 1.043 Mio. t (+90%)

Table 1: Increasing meat and milk demand

worldwide (Source: Ernährungsdienst 2008)

High prices for agricultural raw materials are

good for some and bad for others. Unpredictable

movements in food prices can still provide problems

in the future. With high prices the consequences in

terms of hunger or malnutrition, especially in poor

urban areas, will surface. But with low prices the

consequences for poor farmers will be disastrous.

Until recently, hundreds of millions of farmers

could not lift themselves out of poverty because of

low food prices. 75% of the world‘s hungry people

are still living in rural areas and are dependent on

agriculture for their livelihoods. Over time, high

agricultural prices should benefit them.

In poorer urban areas of the world the expenditure

for food makes up, on average, about 50% of an

individual‘s disposable income. As such, price

increases in these regions have dramatic effects.

This percentage climbs to 65% if the food prices

rise by 30%. In wealthy countries, these effects,

on the other hand, will be limited to 1 to 2% of an

individual‘s income.

Apart from this, the hunger issue is, however,

only partially attributable to the demand for biofuels

48 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


and is much more attributable to bad policy and the poor

performance of the markets [4].


To sum up, the target should be to cultivate crops

that use the land most efficiently for their intended

purpose, independently of whether these are food or

non-food crops. Even if an increasing share of arable

land is used for energy and industrial material use there

is still much scope for the expansion of agricultural

areas and even more scope for productivity increases.

However, biofuels have so far had a very small impact

on food prices and the impact of bioplastics was, at

250 times less, clearly negligible. Even if they did have

a significant impact, a higher agricultural price level,

together with the international commitment to support

sustainable agricultural development, is necessary for

more investment in the agriculture sector to increase

the production and secure the supply in the future.

Although high food prices certainly have adverse effects

for some, they will lead to the activation of agricultural

land that is currently not in production and also to higher

productivity on land already cultivated, which would

increase the aggregate production of food, animal feed

and renewable raw materials. Furthermore, high prices

for agricultural products are necessary for poor farmers

in developing countries to sustain their livelihoods.


Experts of the nova-Institute department

‘resource management’ are continuously

analyzing the raw material markets and

especially the markets for agricultural raw

materials in industrial applications.


[1] OECD-FAO 2008: Agriculture Outlook



[3] OECD 2008: Biofuel Support Policies –

an economic assessment

[4] Banse, M., Nowicki, P., van Meijl, H. (LEI

Wageningen UR) 2008: Why are current world

food prices so high? Report 2008-040.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 49


Plantation of sugar cane in Brazil

(Photo: Ricardo Azoury, istockphoto)


Land Use For


Companies such as Braskem or Dow announced the production of

polyolefins (polyethylene, polypropylene) from sugar cane based

bio-ethanol. In Triunfo, Brazil, Braskem is implementing a project

to produce green polyethylene on an industrial scale with a capacity for

200,000 tonnes/year, with operations projected to begin in 2011 and recently

the company announced first the investment of R$ 8.25 million in

the expansion of research on development of green polypropylene based

on renewable resources.

A venture owned by Dow and Crystalsev announced they will grow 8

million tonnes of sugarcane and turn that into 350,000 tonnes of Dowlex.

Being asked about the recurring question concerning sugar cane

plantations and the Brazilian rainforest, J.C. Grubisich, CEO of Braskem

stated that in Brasil the rainforests are in the north of the vast country,

whereas the sugarcane plantations are in the southeast. In addition,

land and climate in the north – the rainforest area - isn’t appropriate for

sugarcane production. Jeff Wooster of Dow presented a map at a recent

conference in Orlando, Florida, showing where sugar cane is being

harvested (see map above).

And to be a little more precise about the land use, Jeff Wooster explained

that in Brazil by governmental regulation a portion of the land for any new

project such as the sugar cane plantation for bio-polyethylene is required

to be maintained in a natural state. Dow plans to maintain 25-30% of the

land area for its project for environmental conservation purposes.

For the projected 350,000 tonnes of LLDPE, roughly a total area of

160,000 ha (620 sq. mi) of land will be required, Wooster estimated. “We

will be planting new trees on some of the land and protecting existing

sensitive areas as well,” he said. “For example, the land along waterways

will remain covered with grass and trees in order to prevent erosion and

run-off into the waterways. So, only about 70% of the 160,000 ha area (net

area about 110,000 ha) will be planted to sugar cane.“ - MT

(Luciana Bueno, istockphoto)

50 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4


Event Calender

September 03, 2009

NVC Kurs Nachhaltige Verpackungsinnovationen

Hotel Novotel Düsseldorf City West

Düsseldorf, Germany

September 8-10, 2009

Biopackaging 2009

Copthorne Tara Hotel

Kensington, London, UK

September 9-10, 2009 2009

7th international symposium

Mess Erfurt, Germany

September 9-10, 2009

7th Int. Symposium ‘Materials made

of Renewable Resources‘

Messe Erfurt

Erfurt / Germany

September 14-16, 2009

2 nd PLA Bottle Conference

hosted by bioplastics MAGAzINE

within the framework of drinktec

Munich / Germany

September 16-17, 2009

International Conference: Bio polymers

in applications of films

Würzburg / Germany

September 28 - October 01, 2009

4th Biopolymers Symposium 2009

Embassy Suites, Lakefront - Chicago Downtown

Chicago, Illinois USA

October 06-07, 2009

3. BioKunststoffe

Technische Anwendungen biobasierter Werkstoffe

Duisburg, Germany

October 22, 2009

Timeproof biopolymers:

durability of biobased materials

PEP (Pôle Européen de Plasturgie)

Bellignat, Franceopéen de Plasturgie)

October 26-27, 2009

Biowerkstoff Kongress 2009

within framework of AVK and COMPOSITES EUROPE

Neue Messe Stuttgart, Germany

October 29, 2009

NVC Kurs Nachhaltige Verpackungsinnovationen

Hotel Novotel Düsseldorf City West

Düsseldorf, Germany

November 10-11, 2009

4th European Bioplastics Conference

Ritz Carlton Hotel

Berlin, Germany

December 2-3, 2009

Dritter Deutscher WPC-Kongress

Maritim Hotel

Cologne, Germany

March 16-17, 2010

EnviroPlas 2010

Brussels, Belgium

June 22-23, 2010

8th Global WPC and Natural Fibre

Composites Congress an Exhibition

Fellbach (near Stuttgart), Germany

You can meet us!

Please contact us in advance by e-mail.

bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4 51



Suppliers Guide

1. Raw Materials

2. Additives /

Secondary 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

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

PURAC division

Arkelsedijk 46, P.O. Box 21

4200 AA Gorinchem -

The Netherlands

Tel.: +31 (0)183 695 695

Fax: +31 (0)183 695 604

1.2 compounds

BIOTEC Biologische

Naturverpackungen GmbH & Co. KG

Werner-Heisenberg-Straße 32

46446 Emmerich


Tel. +49 2822 92510

Fax +49 2822 51840

Cereplast Inc.

Tel: +1 310-676-5000 / Fax: -5003

European distributor A.Schulman :

Tel +49 (2273) 561 236

FKuR Kunststoff GmbH

Siemensring 79

D - 47 877 Willich

Tel. +49 2154 9251-0

Tel.: +49 2154 9251-51

Natur-Tec ® - Northern Technologies

4201 Woodland Road

Circle Pines, MN 55014 USA

Tel. +1 763.225.6600

Fax +1 763.225.6645

Transmare Compounding B.V.

Ringweg 7, 6045 JL

Roermond, The Netherlands

Tel. +31 475 345 900

Fax +31 475 345 910

1.3 PLA

Division of A&O FilmPAC Ltd

7 Osier Way, Warrington Road


MK46 5FP

Tel.: +44 844 335 0886

Fax: +44 1234 713 221

1.4 starch-based bioplastics

BIOTEC Biologische

Naturverpackungen GmbH & Co. KG

Werner-Heisenberg-Straße 32

46446 Emmerich


Tel. +49 2822 92510

Fax +49 2822 51840

Plantic Technologies Limited

51 Burns Road

Altona VIC 3018 Australia

Tel. +61 3 9353 7900

Fax +61 3 9353 7901

PSM Bioplastic NA

Chicago, USA


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

1.6 masterbatches


Avenue Melville Wilson, 2

Zoning de la Fagne

5330 Assesse


Tel. + 32 83 660 211

Sukano Products Ltd.

Chaltenbodenstrasse 23

CH-8834 Schindellegi

Tel. +41 44 787 57 77

Fax +41 44 787 57 78

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

3.1.1 cellulose based films



Cumbria CA7 9BG


Contact: Andy Sweetman

Tel. +44 16973 41549

Fax +44 16973 41452



52 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

4. Bioplastics products

Pland Paper ®

7. Plant engineering

Suppliers Guide

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 |


2F, No.57, Singjhong Rd.,

Neihu District,

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

Tel. + 886 - 2 - 27953131

Fax + 886 - 2 - 27919966

Uhde Inventa-Fischer GmbH

Holzhauser Str. 157 - 159

13509 Berlin


Tel. +49 (0)30 43567 5

Fax +49 (0)30 43567 699

8. Ancillary equipment

9. Services

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 bioplastics.

For Example:

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


Via Fauser , 8

28100 Novara - ITALIA

Fax +39.0321.699.601

Tel. +39.0321.699.611

President Packaging Ind., Corp.

PLA Paper Hot Cup manufacture

In Taiwan,

Tel.: +886-6-570-4066 ext.5531

Fax: +886-6-570-4077


8752 Näfels - Am Linthli 2


Tel. +41 55 618 44 99

Fax +41 55 618 44 98

6. Machinery & Molds

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


Stubenwald-Allee 9

64625 Bensheim, Deutschland

Tel. +49 6251 77061 0

Fax +49 6251 77061 510

9. Services

Siemensring 79

47877 Willich, Germany

Tel.: 02154/9251-0 , Fax: -51

Bioplastics Consulting

Tel. +49 2161 664864

10.1 Associations

BPI - The Biodegradable

Products Institute

331 West 57th Street, Suite 415

New York, NY 10019, USA

Tel. +1-888-274-5646

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

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

Polymedia Publisher GmbH

Dammer Str. 112

41066 Mönchengladbach


Tel. +49 2161 664864

Fax +49 2161 631045

Sample Charge:

35mm x 6,00 €

= 210,00 € per entry/per issue

Sample Charge for one year:

6 issues x 210,00 EUR = 1,260.00 €

The entry in our Suppliers Guide is

bookable for one year (6 issues) and

extends automatically if it’s not canceled

three month before expiry.

35 mm





bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Companies in this issue

Company Editorial Advert

A&O Filmpac 52

Alesco 53

Algaeventure Systems 36

API 12

Arkhe Will 53

BASF 8 52

Bemis Company 13

bioplastics 24 35

Biotec 52

BPI 9 53

Braskem 50

Cardia Bioplastics 8, 23

Carl Hanser Verlag 5

Cereplast 12 52

Clarifoil 43

Coca-Cola 14

Community Recycling and Resource Recovery 17

Crystalsev 50

Dow 50

DuPont 52

Eric F. Greenberg 13

European Bioplastics 5, 7 53

European Plastics News 6

Fachhochschule Hannover 53

FAS Converting Machinery 53

FKuR 22 2, 52

Forapack 53

Fraunhofer Inst. F. Chemical Technology 42

Fraunhofer UMSICHT 22, 32 53

Frito-Lay 42

Frost & Sullivan 6

Gucci 42

Hallink 53

Homo ecos: 9

Huhtamaki 52

Innovia Films 10 52

Jamplast 12

Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPS) 11

Joh. Sieben 23

Maag 52

Mako Plastics 40

Mann + Hummel Protech 53

Merquinsa 12

Messe Düsseldorf (interpack) 7

Michigan State University 13, 17 53

Minima Technology 53

Company Editorial Advert


natura Verpackung 53

Naturally Iowa 3, 21

NatureWorks 3, 12, 13, 16, 24, 29

NaturTec 52

Neue Messe München (drinktec) 43

Nippon Goshei 30

nova Institut 46 35

Novamont 53, 56

Plantic 52

Plastek Cards 43

Plastic Forming Enterprise 26

Plasticker 35

Polymediaconsult 53

Polyone 12 52

Polyvel 12

President Packaging 53

Primo Water 1, 16, 24

Printpack 40

PSM 12, 34 52

Purac 6 52

Rodenburg 37

Sidaplax 15, 52

Soarus 30

Sony 38

SPE 13

SPI 12

Sukano 52

Sulzer 6

Synbra 6

Tecnaro 42

Teijin 29

Telles 9 52, 55

Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA) 8

Tianan 39, 52

TiTech 24

Transmare 52

Uhde Inventa-Fischer 19, 53

Univernture 36

University of Waterloo (Canada) 13

Vincotte 9

W. Müller 22 13

Wei Mon 41, 52

Wetlands Bioscience 44

Wiedmer 53

Next Issue

For the next issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE

(among others) the following subjects are scheduled:

Next issue:

Seo/Oct 05.10.2009

Editorial Focus:

Fibers / Textiles / Nonwovens

Paper Coating


Basics of Starch Based


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

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

54 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/09] Vol. 4

Salone del Gusto and Terra Madre 2008

Visitors of Salone del Gusto 180,000

Meals served at Terra Madre 26,000

Compost produced* kg 7,000

CO 2

saved kg 13,600

* data estimate – Novamont projection

The future,

with a different flavour:


Mater-Bi® means biodegradable

and compostable plastics made

from renewable raw materials.

Slow Food, defending good things,

from food to land.

For the “Salone del Gusto” and “Terra Madre”, Slow Food

has chosen Mater-Bi® for bags, shoppers, cutlery,

cups and plates; showing that good food must also

get along with the environment.

Sustainable development is a necessity for everyone.

For Novamont and Slow Food, it is already a reality.

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