Amyris, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMRS), a leading renewable chemicals and fuels company, and Michelin (EPA: ML), a leading innovator in the tire industry, announced that the two companies have signed a definitive agreement to collaborate in the development and commercialization of Amyris No Compromise® renewable isoprene, the chemical building block in rubber tires and other products that use synthetic and natural rubbers.
Under the agreement, Amyris and Michelin will partner to contribute funding and technical resources to develop Amyris’s technology to produce isoprene from renewable feedstocks. Amyris expects to begin commercializing this isoprene in 2015 for use in tire and other specialty chemical applications such as adhesives, coatings and sealants. Michelin is committed to off-take volumes on a ten-year basis. In addition, Amyris retains the right to market its renewable isoprene to other customers.
“This partnership will allow both companies to continue Michelin’s tradition of innovation in the tire industry and expand Amyris’s industrial biotechnology platform for new products,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “Growing demand for isoprene and a desire to increase the sourcing of sustainable raw materials create a great opportunity for Amyris to bring to market renewable solutions with No Compromise® performance that also reduce price volatility.”
Amyris’s technology, currently used to produce at commercial scale a 15-carbon molecule called farnesene, can also convert plant-based sugars into isoprene, a 5-carbon molecule and main ingredient in the production of synthetic rubber. Isoprene has traditionally been produced as a by-product of the thermal cracking of naphtha to produce ethylene or via C4 refinery stream synthesis. As the petrochemical industry adjusts to lighter cracking slates with the advent of shale gas, new sources of isoprene have become necessary.
About MichelinDedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks and motorcycles. Michelin employs 111,000 people in more than 170 countries and operates 70 production sites in 18 countries throughout five continents. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases and offers electronic mobility support services, on ViaMichelin.com. Research and innovation development is being taken care of in technology centres in Asia, Europe and North America. More information about Michelin is available at www.michelin.com/corporate.
Research aims to produce plastic from alternative sources, including residues from the sugarcane and dairy product industries
With the support of FAPESP and Braskem/Ideom, a UNESP study proposes the production of biodegradable plastics using lactic acid from alternative sources
Sustainable chemical processes that minimize the generation of residues and can be incorporated into the production of biodegradable plastics. With this in mind, researchers at the Industrial Microbiology Laboratory of the Biosciences Institute of the São Paulo State University (UNESP) in Rio Claro are conducting a study involving the production and extraction of lactic acid through the fermentation of residues from renewable resources, leading to a polymeric synthesis for the production of a polylactic acid (PLA). This material can be used to produce bioplastics and can be applied to various products, including food, drug and cosmetics packaging, as well as capsules for medicine and orthopedic implants in the biomedical industry.
The research project Study on the recovery and purification of lactic acid from a growth medium produced by isolated microorganisms for the production of biodegradable plastics, part of FAPESP’s Partnership for Technological Innovation Program (PITE), has been selected from a series of proposals arising from the FAPESP-Braskem/Ideom Cooperation Agreement, which targets the development of material with physical and chemical characteristics similar to those of petroleum byproducts, but causing substantially less harm to the environment. According to Jonas Contiero, a professor at UNESP’s Institute of Biosciences in Rio Claro and coordinator of the program, this is a highly complex study of a still costly process to recover and purify lactic acid. In order to reduce these costs, Contiero is attempting to increase production of the substance by using alternative nitrogen and carbon sources, in this case substrates generated by the sugar and ethanol industry and cheese production.
Although PLA’s resistance and crystallinity mean that it can also be used to produce fibers and films, the production process should maintain the compound’s biodegradability. According to Contiero, this process is cheaper than those currently being developed in the United States and Belgium, which obtain polylactate from corn starch and beet sugar, respectively, so commercial production could well be feasible. In addition, "the amount of lignocellulosic fibers in sugarcane industry residues or byproducts, i.e. bagasse and straw, give them a unique competitive advantage compared with other carbon sources, since these residues can also be used to generate energy for the operation of the production plant," explained the researcher.
Research and use
The project is a continuation of the research project Isolation and selection of microorganisms and the development of technology for the production of lactic acid, also supported by FAPESP, which selected potential microorganisms that produce one of the lactic acid isomers and improved the production parameters, with the beginning of extraction, purification and polymerization.
The level of purity necessary for the use of PLA depends on its application. For instance, for medical purposes, the material must provide maximum residual specifications of humidity, solvents, tin content and monomer specifications, among others. After the production of the polymer, chemical analyses are undertaken to ascertain the presence of these residues and determine the degree of purity, ensuring the final quality of the material and its use in the manufacturing industry.
Cereplast, Inc. (Nasdaq:CERP), a leading manufacturer of proprietary biobased, compostable and sustainable plastics, has appointed Dr. Michael Thielen as ombudsman for the new bioplastics symbol, effective October 1, 2011.
As ombudsman, Thielen will strive to gain widespread industry support of a single logo to represent bioplastics and will oversee all matters related to the usage and licensing requirements surrounding the symbol. In addition, Thielen will be responsible for maintaining the integrity of the symbol and will serve as liaison to industry participants, and to consumers, and will handle all public input regarding how the symbol is used. He will also promote public understanding of the symbol and of bioplastics in general. Thielen's role is independent of Cereplast's staff and management and he'll serve in this role as a third party, independent consultant.
"Providing consumers with a single identifying mark that is stamped on a product is a critical next step in helping consumers distinguish which products are made from bioplastics, as opposed to traditional plastics," said Michael Thielen, President of Polymediaconsult. "Having one centralized logo that is supported by the industry will streamline and simplify the message that product manufacturers want to convey to the public—that the product is made from environmentally conscious, bioplastic materials."
"The bioplastic symbol ombudsman will play an important role in bringing the industry together to support a single logo in an effort to simplify the way in which consumer products are identified as made from bioplastics," said Frederic Scheer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cereplast, Inc. "Thielen will act as liaison to the public to ensure that this symbol is used properly and in a way that provides maximum benefits to both industry participants and consumers. His respected and seasoned background working in the packaging technology sector, and his knowledge of plastics processing, makes him an ideal fit for the role of watching over and safeguarding how the symbol is used."
Thielen is the founder and president of Polymediaconsult, a communications consultancy specializing in technical writing and positioning for the plastics industry. He began his career in various management and public relations roles at plastics and packaging technology companies including Krupp, Thyssen-Krupp and SIG, and has served as editor and publisher of bioplastics MAGAZINE since 2006. Thielen earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering (plastics processing IKV) from the RWTH Aachen University in Germany. He also wrote several books and was a guest lecturer on the topic of plastics processing and packaging technologies at various universities of applied sciences in Germany, the United Kingdom and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
The bioplastics symbol was born on April 21, 2011 as a result of a nationwide design competition hosted by Cereplast. Thielen and six other renowned judges selected the winning symbol. The prestigious panel of judges also included Rebecca Minkoff, fashion designer; Karim Rashid, world-class industrial designer; and Dr. Gary Anderson, designer of the globally recognized "recycling symbol."
Bioplastics are environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional plastics—and are partially or fully biobased, (i.e. made from renewable resources including potatoes, corn, tapioca, sugar and algae)—and/or are biodegradable or compostable, providing consumers and manufacturers with a revolutionary option to help safeguard the environment and support a sustainable future.
The Cereplast, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=9567
Amyris, Inc., a leading renewable chemicals and fuels company, unveiled EvoShieldTM, its new product line of industrial lubricants. The announcement was made during a speech delivered by Amyris CEO John Melo at the Infineon Raceway of Sonoma’s inaugural Accelerating Sustainable Performance Summit.
EvoShield lubricants are a family of renewably-sourced solutions designed to satisfy the most advanced lubrication challenges without compromising quality or performance. EvoShield lubricants will be formulated from NovaSpecTM renewably-sourced synthetic base oils, derived from Amyris’s Biofene® and produced by Novvi, Amyris’s joint venture with Brazil’s Cosan.
“Novvi’s high-performance base oils, combined with advanced additive systems, will enable Amyris EvoShield products to perform in a range of applications under extreme conditions of temperature, moisture, dirt and wear, while improving upon key environmental metrics including renewability, toxicity and biodegradability when compared with petroleum-sourced lubricants,” said John Melo, CEO of Amyris. “We are on track to begin production this year and to redefine performance for the lubricants industry.”
These lubricants will provide ideal protection for equipment across a broad range of industrial applications, including hydraulic, compressor, turbine and gear oils, as well as specific formulations for marine and food-grade requirements.
“The Infineon Summit provides the ideal environment and platform to announce our new line of renewably-sourced, high-performance industrial lubricants,” said Jim Richardson, president of lubricants and fuels for Amyris. “Motorsports requires the highest-performing products to deliver under challenging and extreme conditions. These performance expectations are consistent with the needs of our industrial customers in a variety of different applications and we’re excited to introduce EvoShield’s capabilities at an event that emphasizes sustainability and highlights our environmental improvements over petroleum-based lubricants.”
As the Official Renewable Fuels Provider of the Raceway, Amyris also showcased the performance of its renewable diesel during the summit by powering a 2011 Audi Q7 TDI around the track. This demonstration marked the first on-road operation of a vehicle fueled by 100 percent neat Amyris renewable diesel.
Amyris is scaling its Biofene production in Brazil, Europe and the United States through five production arrangements, including manufacturing agreements with Antibióticos S.A., Biomin do Brasil Nutriҫão Animal Ltda., Paraíso Bioenergia S.A., Tate & Lyle and a joint venture with Usina São Martinho S.A., one of the largest sugar and ethanol producers in Brazil. Amyris has also established finishing capabilities with Glycotech, Inc. in North Carolina
LANXESS is strengthening its commitment to produce premium synthetic rubbers from bio-based raw materials. The German specialty chemicals company aims to commercially produce ethylene-propylene-diene monomer (EPDM) from bio-based ethylene by the end of the year. It will be the first form of bio-based EPDM rubber in the world.
EPDM is conventionally produced using the petroleum-based raw materials ethylene and propylene. Alternatively, LANXESS plans to use ethylene derived purely from the renewable resource sugar cane. This bio-based form of ethylene is produced by dehydrating ethanol from Brazilian sugar cane. The company Braskem S.A. will supply the bio-based ethylene via pipeline to LANXESS’ existing EPDM plant in Triunfo, Brazil.
“LANXESS’ ongoing search for alternatives to fossil fuels underlines its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions through sustainable production,” said Guenther Weymans, head of LANXESS’ Technical Rubber Products business unit. “We are very excited that our Brazilian plant will be the pioneer for bio-based EPDM.”
“LANXESS will contribute to broaden our portfolio of renewable chemicals’ clients. This agreement will bring the benefits of green ethylene to other important applications and markets. LANXESS has extensive automotive experience and an excellent reputation in this market, which makes it an ideal partner,” said Marcelo Nunes, Braskem’s Renewable Chemicals Director.
Triunfo currently produces 40,000 metric tons per year of regular EPDM rubber and it is expected that the first batches of the product Keltan Eco will amount to several hundred metric tons. The company’s other EPDM production sites are based in Geleen, The Netherlands, Marl, Germany, and Orange, Texas, U.S. All EPDM grades will be sold in the future under the brand name Keltan.
EPDM is used above all in the automotive industry but also in the plastics modification, cable and wire, construction and oil additives industries. Its properties include very low density, good resistance to heat, oxidation, chemicals and weathering as well as good electrical insulation properties. LANXESS will be showcasing Keltan Eco at its Rubber Day Germany, being held in Dusseldorf today, for the first time.
In addition, LANXESS is already seeking alternative sources to produce the premium synthetic rubber product butyl rubber, which is used predominantly in the tire industry. Together with Colorado-based Gevo, Inc, LANXESS is developing isobutene from renewable resources starting with corn. Isobutene is a key raw material needed in the manufacture of butyl rubber.
Last year, LANXESS started up a new on-site power plant at its Brazilian site in Porto Feliz, which produces iron oxide pigments. The innovative, highly efficient cogeneration plant for the production of electricity and steam is powered by bagasse, a fibrous component of sugar cane that is left over after sugar production. Thanks to the use of this renewable, environmentally friendly raw material, energy can be produced on a CO2-neutral basis for the site.
Global biopolymer leader Braskem and bioplastics compounding specialist FKuR have signed a compounding agreement for BioPE, Green PE. This strong partnership will result in the first tailor-made green polyethylene compounds available in Europe.
Braskem was seeking an experienced partner to increase their European market share and develop high value compounds for a diverse range of applications. “We chose FKuR as a partner because they have extensive compounding experience with polyolefins and bioplastics. Their extensive knowledge of the renewable plastics market and their excellent reputation in the bioplastics business convinced us they are the best partner,” declared Fabio Carneiro, Renewable Chemicals Commercial Officer.
“This agreement is a substantial and important step towards increasing our renewable plastics portfolio. The compounding of Green PE is a logical evolution of our strong worldwide expansion and company philosophy: Plastics – made by nature,” explained Dr. Edmund Dolfen, FKuR’s CEO.
In September 2010, Braskem became the world’s first producer of LLDPE and HDPE from renewable resources. The ethanol used to make Green PE is made from sugarcane produced in Brazil. The renewable resource ratio per product can reach up to 100%, depending on the application. As a result of Braskem’s technology and raw material source, each ton of green polyethylene produced captures up to 2.5 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Another advantage is that Green PE is 100% recyclable using existing processes. In addition, because Green PE is not biodegradable, the CO2 captured during the sugarcane cultivation process remains sequestered for the plastic's entire life cycle. Finally, Braskem’s Green PE has the same technical properties and processability as fossil-based polyethylenes. This means that Green PE processing does not require any new investments in equipment or technical adjustments, which represents a distinct advantage for the manufacturing industry.
Bioplastics or Biopolymers:
Bioplastics are a unique class of compounds produced from renewable resources and/or which enable the biodegradability of products made from them.
FKuR is a leading producer of biopolymer resins/blends for flexible packaging (Bio-Flex®) and rigid applications (Biograde®). For further information about FKuR go to: www.fkur.com.
Braskem is the largest producer of thermoplastic resins in the Americas and global leader in biopolymers. With 31 industrial plants in Brazil and the United States, Braskem produces over 15 million tons of thermoplastic resins and other petrochemical products per year. The company’s 2020 vision is “to be the world leader in sustainable chemistry, innovating to better serve the people.” For further information about Braskem go to: www.braskem.com.
Sijo Global Partners, a minority business enterprise, announced today that it has formed a strategic affiliation with DaniMer Scientific LLC, a recognized leader in biopolymer technology.
Sijo Global Partners, a minority business enterprise, announced today that it has formed a strategic affiliation with DaniMer Scientific which is headquartered in Bainbridge, GA. DaniMer is a recognized leader in biopolymer technology and for their innovative use of renewable materials supporting the plastics and resins industry. SijoGP will offer these bio-based plastics through a distribution and logistics agreement with DaniMer.
SijoGP will provide market leaders and brand owners access to DaniMer’s comprehensive line of bio based products which will include DaniMer’s renewable hot melt adhesive (RHMA). The new DaniMer RHMA provides high performance in its application while offering unique value supporting multiple end of life options including recycling or composting.
"This partnership with bioplastics technology leader, DaniMer, will enable SijoGP to make a difference in peoples’ lives by providing a renewable alternative to petroleum-based plastics that is crucial to meeting the sustainability initiatives of majority companies,” said Helen Jae Lee, President of SijoGP.
"We are excited and very pleased to announce DaniMer’s affiliation with SijoGP and to embark on this path to support the tremendous demand for bio based materials,” says Blake Lindsey, President of DaniMer Scientific. "SijoGP will be a valued asset for DaniMer in promoting our global presence and distribution capabilities.”
About Sijo Global Partners: Sijo Global Partners is a minority owned company that distributes polymers and resins that are biodegradable and made from biomass. SijoGP creates value for companies that are committed to the use of environmentally sustainable bioplastics. Please visit http://www.sijogp.com for more information
About DaniMer Scientific, LLC: DaniMer Scientific, an international corporation, believes people’s lives can be improved and the environment can be better protected by utilizing renewable resources to manufacture articles that are intended for short-term use. One of the company’s goals is to reduce dependence on petroleum, enabling people and communities to benefit from environmentally-friendly products. For more information about DaniMer Scientific, please visit: http://www.danimer.com
The Bioplastics Division of Teknor Apex Company will make three presentations at this month’s Biopolymers Symposium 2011, including a technical paper on the company’s innovative technology for resolving a long-standing property tradeoff that has limited the use of polylactic acid (PLA) bioplastic.
Sponsored by IntertechPira, the Symposium will take place September 26-28 in Denver, CO. All three Teknor Apex presentations will be delivered by Edwin Tam, manager of new strategic initiatives.
“The Teknor Apex technology for enhanced PLA eliminates a tradeoff between heat resistance and impact strength that has prevented use of the biopolymer in potentially important applications,” said Tam. “Recently we introduced two series of Terraloy® compounds based on different chemistries, one for injection molded items such as cutlery, and the other for thermoformed sheet products such as frozen food trays, restaurant takeout packaging, coffee lids, and microwavable containers.”
Tam will also serve as the instructor in a lead-off workshop called “Bioplastics 101” and present an overview of the U.S. bioplastics industry as part of a session on the business of biopolymers in the U.S. The session is being organized by the Bioplastics Council of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. Teknor Apex is a member of the Council.
Toppan Printing develops Japan's first packaging film using biomass polyethylene Used commercially for standing refill pouches and adopted for items such as hair care products
Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. has developed Japan’s first film for use in packaging materials that uses biomass polyethylene (PE). Full-scale sales will be launched from August 2011.
In order to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society, Toppan Printing engages in the development of products that are environmentally friendly. This new product is a film that partially uses a raw material derived from sugarcane and has a biomass ratio of up to 40% (ratio by weight). While using a raw material derived from plants, the film retains the same performance as existing films in terms of properties such as shock resistance and ease of tearing.
This product is being used for standing refill pouches for items such as hair care products.
Biomass plastic is a renewable resource that uses plant-based raw materials and can be used sustainably. It can contribute to the creation of a sustainable society as it enables a reduction in the use of fossil resources such as oil. In addition, since it is considered that the volume of CO2 generated during incineration and the volume absorbed during the growth of the plant cancel each other out, it is receiving attention as an environmentally friendly material that can reduce CO2 emissions in comparison with oil-based plastics.
As an initiative to mitigate global warming and reduce the use of oil, since 1991 Toppan Printing has been engaged in the development and commercialization of packaging materials using biomass plastics. In addition, Toppan Printing developed biomass packaging using polylactate in 2000 and it was adopted for the outer packaging for home electrical appliances. Since then, it has been used widely in sectors such as the food and clothing industries.
Polyethylene is a material that is the base for many types of flexible packaging. With the development of this biomass polyethylene film, it has become possible for the first time in Japan to provide biomass packaging materials in all areas of flexible packaging.
Overview of the product
This product achieves a reduction in the use of oil by replacing oil-based linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) with a film that partially uses LLDPE derived from sugar cane. For example, in the case of a standing refill pouch that uses the new film, by replacing part of the oil-based LLDPE that accounts for around 75% of the total material with LLDPE derived from sugar cane, it is possible to reduce CO2 emissions during incineration by up to 40%(*).
The film retains the same properties and suitability for processing as existing PE film and is ideal for packaging for everyday items such as shampoo and food products such as seasonings.
Toppan Printing is targeting sales of 12 billion yen in fiscal 2015 for its biomass plastic product business as a whole.
Using the know-how acquired in the development of this product, Toppan Printing will aim to expand the use of biomass PE as a packaging material for other products and proactively advance the development of packaging using biomass plastics such as biomass high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polylactate, and biomass PET.
* When 1 kg of this product with a typical structure is incinerated, 2.95 kg of CO2 derived from plastic is generated.
If the percentage of biomass in the product is 40%, the volume of biomass-derived CO2 released is 1.25 kg.
Because the CO2 derived from biomass is not counted, there is a 42.4% reduction (1.25/2.95=42.4%).
If the CO2 derived from ink and adhesives is included, the final CO2 reduction is around 40%.
Coca-Cola Great-Britain is today rolling out its innovative PlantBottle packaging, taking the next step on its journey seeking to develop a truly sustainable plastic bottle. The move will help decrease the company’s reliance on fossil fuels for its plastic and strengthen its contribution to greater use of renewable and recycled materials.
From today in Great Britain, all Coca-Cola, Coke Zero and diet Coke in 500ml bottles will be sold in PlantBottle packaging: PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles made partially from plants.
More than 200 million PlantBottle packages will hit the shelves in the UK this year, part of a rollout of genuine scale: globally this year more than 5 billion PlantBottle range packs will be on the market in 20 countries.
The company’s vision is that all its plastic bottles will be made from a combination of plant-based materials and recycled PET plastic by 2020.
The packaging has a lower reliance on non-renewable resources compared to traditional PET plastic bottles and is fully recyclable. With exactly the same visual appearance as ‘regular’ plastic bottles, consumers will be able to identify the new bottles through on-pack messaging and a new logo.
Just over half of all The Coca-Cola Company drinks globally are sold in PET plastic bottles and these are traditionally made entirely from petroleum and other non-renewable fossil fuels. By contrast, the new PlantBottle packaging in Great Britain is made from up to 22.5% plant-based material and up to 25% recycled PET plastic. The plant-based component of the new bottle is sourced from bioethanol from sugarcane. The Coca-Cola Company has been working closely with WWF and the Bonsucro organisation to choose sugarcane from plantations in Brazil, sources widely recognised by thought leaders for their environmental and social performance.
In launching the bottles today, Coca-Cola Great Britain is also calling on its consumers to play their part and keep recycling empty bottles. PlantBottle packaging can be recycled in exactly the same way alongside traditional PET bottles. The material in PlantBottle packaging can therefore be used, recycled and reused again and again.
Today’s announcement builds on the company’s leadership in the development of recycling initiatives for its packaging. The Coca-Cola Company was the first to introduce a bottle containing recycled plastic (in 1991) and has invested significant resources in recycling reprocessing and infrastructure in numerous countries where it does business. These efforts are all focussed on helping to “close the loop” on packaging re-use and with the ultimate goal of providing more sustainable packaging for consumers.
Jon Woods, Country Manager for Coca-Cola Great Britain & Ireland said today:
“We are absolutely committed to making a positive difference – to the health of our planet, individuals and communities. The PlantBottle package is a bottle we can all feel good about and is a significant step on our journey towards more sustainable packaging.
“It looks, feels and functions just like a normal plastic bottle, but it helps reduce our reliance on non-renewable resources.
“While we’re proud of today’s PlantBottle packaging, we’re already hard at work to evolve the next generation of packaging. We’re especially excited about the potential to develop recyclable plastic from natural, renewable resources like stems, fruit peels and bark, which can be sourced from almost anywhere in the world. We’re not there yet as a commercial product, but, working with our research partners, we think we’ll get there in the next three to five years.”
Patrick Laine, Director of Corporate Partnerships at WWF UK said:
“Coca-Cola’s aspiration to use packaging that is 100% sourced from renewable resources and compatible with existing recycling systems is highly commendable. This product launch is an important milestone for the industry in the journey to truly sustainable packaging.”
AT&T today announced plans to introduce new plastic in AT&T-branded accessory packaging, which is composed of up to 30 percent plant-based materials sourced from ethanol harvested from natural sugarcane. The sugarcane used is this plant plastic is a rapidly renewable agricultural crop and replaces nearly a third of the fossil fuels traditionally used in this accessory packaging with material made from plants.
The adoption of the new plastic is part of AT&T’s broader overall commitment to minimize its environmental impact. In March of 2010 the company announced its plans to slim down their accessory packaging; in 2010 and 2011, the company eliminated the use of over 500 tons of paper and plastic in that packaging.
Customers can expect to see the transition to the new packaging in stores and online starting October 2, 2011. The plastic will be used in packaging for AT&T-branded wireless accessories, which includes most device cases and power accessories.
“As a company we are committed to minimizing our own environmental impact, and we see the introduction of this plant-based plastic as an important step in the right direction,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president for devices, AT&T. “We are excited to be the first U.S. telecom company to use this plastic in our packaging and we hope other companies will join us in finding ways to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. We are actively working with our accessory suppliers to incorporate both less packaging and more sustainable plastic and paper.”
Prior advancements in AT&T’s efforts to reduce waste and minimize the overall environmental impact of accessory packaging include using soy and/or vegetable-based ink and recycled paperboard
On 22 and 23 November, European Bioplastics unites the global bioplastics industry to showcase and assess the latest trends and products as well as the development of the European market. The 6th European Bioplastics Conference will take place at the Maritim proArte Hotel in Berlin.
How will the bioplastics industry continue to drive the evolution of plastics? What exciting new developments will enter and influence the market? The 6th European Bioplastics Conference will update all interested stakeholders on these questions. Once more the hosting association European Bioplastics relies on the proven combination of an expert conference and an adjoint product exhibition.
One of the keynotes this year will be held by Maurits van Tol, Vice-President Bio-based Chemicals and Polymers at DSM, who focusses on the opportunities of biobased polymers worldwide. Amongst others Dow (USA), Rhein Chemie (Germany) and Avantium (Netherlands) will talk about investments, research projects and new developed materials.
Another highlight of this year’s conference is the Annual Global Bioplastics Award which will be presented by the Bioplastics Magazine. Applicants are invited to nominate their products, services or developments. More details and the entry form can be downloaded from www.bioplasticsmagazine.de/award.
“We are confident to satisfy every participants’ demand for exchanging and gaining information at the 6th European Bioplastics Conference. There will be ample opportunities to initiate cooperations and to network”, says Andy Sweetman, Chairman of European Bioplastics.
“We aim to set a new attendance record with 400+ participants in 2011”, adds Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics. More information about the event as well as the registration process is available at the conference website en.european-bioplastics.org/conference2011.
The most comprehensive U.S. bioplastics conference covering technologies & trends, developments in semi-durable, durable and consumer product applications, new guidelines and end of life strategies...Join hundreds of your colleagues in the bioplastics industry September 26-28, 2011 in Denver, CO!
This year's event promises to be bigger and better than before; our past attendees know that this is the premier U.S. bioplastics conference recommending it "to anyone interested in biomaterials and the future" (The Hershey Company) and noting that it is a "great opportunity to learn, debate and share ideas with really smart and motivated leaders making positive change." (Method)
Representatives from organizations like Eastman Chemical Company, General Mills, the Japan Bioplastics Association, Georgia-Pacific, SC Johnson & Son and many others have already registered for this year's dynamic event for the many networking and educational opportunities offered. Learn more about who is attending the Biopolymers Symposium 2011!
Pilot project with compostable bags for biodegradable waste successfully completed in Bad Dürkheim, Germany
- District of Bad Dürkheim approves the permanent use of organic waste bags made of the plastic Ecovio FS
Outstanding compost quality
Residents and local waste management companies satisfied
Effective immediately, the district of Bad Dürkheim has approved the permanent use of organic waste bags made of BASF’s compostable plastic Ecovio® FS. Residents and local waste management companies tested the bags over a period of three months. As shown by a survey, the residents of Bad Dürkheim are very satisfied with the new waste bags. And the organic composting plant Grünstadt owned by the waste management company GML Abfallwirtschaftsgesellschaft mbH also rated the results of the pilot project very positively. The bags made of Ecovio FS degrade completely and do not impair the quality of the compost. “The decisive factor for us was the high quality of the compost and the fact that the bags make it easier for residents to separate, collect and dispose of organic waste. This is why we have now approved the Ecovio bags for permanent use,” said Erhard Freunscht, first district councilor for the district of Bad Dürkheim.
Thanks to the Ecovio bags, the disposal of biodegradable garbage is cleaner, more hygienic and less complicated than with paper bags or old newspapers. The bags not only prevent noxious odors and keep out insects, but also mean that it is no longer necessary to wash and clean the container in which the organic waste is collected.
“In 2009, we already demonstrated that the bags degrade in the Grünstadt organic composting plant in a joint project with the environmental services company Veolia Umweltservice West GmbH and the waste management company GML Abfallwirtschaftsgesellschaft, said Jürgen Keck, head of BASF’s global business with biodegradable plastics. “In the latest three-month project, we wanted to find out whether the residents are satisfied with the Ecovio bags. It was also important for us to ensure that the very high quality of the compost in the Bad Dürkheim district is retained when the residents use the Ecovio bags,” explained Jens Hamprecht, responsible for global strategy and innovation management in BASF’s specialty plastics business unit.
At the beginning of the project in early April, the approximately 65,000 households in the district each received 10 bags made of the compostable plastic Ecovio FS. The residents were encouraged to collect their organic garbage in the bags and to dispose of them via the organic waste bin. The independent consulting company IBK-Solutions monitored the pilot project and analyzed the compost at the Grünstadt organic composting plant. In addition, the residents were surveyed about their use of the bags.
Unchanged compost quality
The analysis shows that the biodegradable organic waste bags did not have a detrimental effect on the quality of the compost. The plastic degraded completely. The organic waste bags made of Ecovio FS did not affect the composition of the compost: the density, content of water and salt, pH value, nutrients, percentage of organic matter and other components in the compost all remained unchanged. The appearance of the compost did not change either. These are important critieria because the organic composting plant sells the humus to customers such as winegrowers, fruit farmers and asparagus growers who use it to improve the soil. “Already after three weeks, no residues of the Ecovio film were found any longer in the compost. Moreover, there was no need to change the method normally used at the Grünstadt organic composting plant,” said Frank Schwarz of Veolia Umweltservice. Georg Kosak of IBK-Solutions stated: “Our analyses have demonstrated that Ecovio bags can be used to collect organic waste in the district of Bad Dürkheim without any problems and that this can be implemented in other collection regions and applied to other composting methods after a case-by-case examination.”
The survey revealed that almost 90 percent of the residents were satisfied with the Ecovio bags. More than half of the respondents said that the bags are very helpful for collecting organic garbage. Residents were particularly appreciative of the fact that it was easier to collect organic waste without soggy bags or foul odors. The analysis conducted by IBK-Solutions showed that the filled bags can be stored for at least two weeks without any liquid seeping through. As for the future, residents of the districts expressed a wish for bags in various sizes as well as carrying and closing systems. Additional points of sale were also requested. These suggestions are being studied by the bag manufacturer Weltplast as they introduce the bags on a permanent basis. The compostable Ecovio bags that are familiar to the residents through the pilot project will continue to be available for purchase from various points of sale throughout the district.
A crucial benefit for waste recovery is that the disposal companies do not need to laboriously segregate the organic bags. The bags are converted along with the organic waste into valuable compost, carbon dioxide and water. They help residents in their effort to collect organic waste. Moreover, if more composting is carried out over a larger region, this will reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in residual waste.
The rate of incorrect disposal, in other words the percentage of unwanted conventional plastics in the organic waste, did not change as a result of the use of the biodegradable plastic bags. During the test, the compost did not contain a larger number of bags made of conventional, non-biodegradable plastics.
Biodegradable plastics: Ecovio and Ecoflex
The biodegradable plastic Ecovio FS is a new BASF development. This material is made of the partially bio-based plastic (polyester) Ecoflex® FS and PLA (polylactic acid), which is obtained from corn starch. Thanks to this combination, the bags used in the Bad Dürkheim pilot project contain more than 50 percent renewable raw materials. Like the biodegradable waste itself, Ecovio is broken down by microorganisms with the aid of enzymes. This degradation process depends only on the structure of the molecules, not on the origin of the raw materials. At the end of the composting process, the microorganisms have completely converted the bags into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
UK supermarket chain Tesco has dropped 'eco-friendly' carrier bags after evidence suggests they are doing more harm than good.
Oxo biodegradable bags are made of non-renewable plastics, which are able to degrade in the presence of oxygen and sunlight thanks to the addition of small amounts of metals.
Last year Tesco handed out over two billion oxo biodegradable bags to customers, but now the supermarket giant has had a re-think and stopped using the bags because they may be worse for the environment than conventional carriers.
"We've been putting pressure on the supply chain for several years to consider the negative impacts of oxo biodegradable bags and move to more environmentally-friendly alternatives," said Dr John Williams, Head of Materials at the NNFCC.
"Plastics are excellent materials, highly functional and energy efficient. Promoting sensible and certified routes to reuse, recycle and dispose of plastics, will improve sustainablility. Artificially accelerating the degradation of an oil-based plastic is neither economically or environmentally sensible."
Tesco's decision follows research by the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which cast doubts over claims that the bag would degrade to water, carbon dioxide and biomass in just 18 months.
Defra's report concluded that degradability would depend on where and under what conditions the bag ended up after use. Certainly not an antidote to plastic littering as some producers claim.
In landfill an oxo biodegradable bag won't degrade at all because there is no light or oxygen, and these materials also cause problems in recycling streams according to the European Plastics Recyclers Association.
A spokesman for Tesco said, "We took the decision to remove the biodegradable additive because we believed it contributed towards bags becoming weaker and to help better promote their re-use and recycling at end-of-life."
"This decision was underpinned by a detailed review of the science to help us understand the full life-cycle environmental impacts of our carrier bags."
New Tesco bags are not biodegradable but instead contain 15 per cent recycled material.
A number of leading European organisations – including the NNFCC – are about to embark on a four and a half year project called Energetic Algae (EnAlgae), to address the current lack of information on macro- and microalgal productivity in North West Europe.
EnAlgae will establish a series of pilot scale seaweed farms and microalgae growth facilities in the region to provide the crucial information needed to assess the productivity of algae production.
This information will be used to better understand the economics and greenhouse gas balances of making fuel, energy and other products from algae in North West Europe. Another output will a computer-based tool to inform decision makers about how and where algae could be grown in the region.
"Algae offers significant potential for the sustainable production of energy and fuels. Much of the focus so far has been on the production of algae in more favourable climates, such as the US, but there is a distinct lack of information about how algae grow at scale in more challenging climates," says algae lead at the NNFCC, Dr Claire Smith.
"The EnAlgae project will allow us to look seriously at the potential of algae for the UK and the NNFCC are delighted to offer our expertise in developing markets for sustainable algal bioenergy production."
The project’s manager, Dr Robin Shields, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research at Swansea University, said "Algal bioenergy has been identified as a strategic priority by the INTERREG IVB NWE Programme. The EnAlgae expert partnership has been formed to develop and implement technologies tailored to the unique socio-economic and environmental conditions of North West Europe,"
"Thanks to close transnational cooperation, EnAlgae partners and stakeholders will gain access to those sustainable technologies most suited to their local operating conditions."
EnAlgae is co-funded under the European Regional Development Fund by the North West Europe INTERREG IVB North West Europe programme and the Welsh Government's Targeted Match Fund, together with a range of co-sponsors.
BioAmber Inc., through its subsidiary Bluewater Biochemicals has selected Sarnia, Ontario, Canada as the location for its first North American biosuccinic acid plant. The Sarnia plant will have an initial capacity of 17,000 MT and will be commissioned in 2013. Permitting work for the plant was initiated in June 2011. BioAmber currently produces and sells biobased succinic acid at a 3,000 MT capacity plant in France.Succinic acid is a renewable, non-toxic specialty chemical that can be further modified to make a wide range of products including automotive parts, biodegradable coffee cup lids and disposable cutlery, spandex, shoe soles, ingredients for food, flavors and fragrances, cosmetics, construction materials, phthalate-free plasticizers, engine coolants, salts that melt ice and snow and plastics used in various durable goods. BioAmber plans to double capacity in Sarnia by 2014 through the introduction of a next-generation yeast being developed with Cargill. BioAmber also plans to produce 1,4-Butanediol (BDO) on the site, using technology exclusively licensed from DuPont that coverts succinic acid to BDO, a chemical with a $4 billion existing market. The goal is for the Sarnia plant to produce 35,000 MT of biosuccinic and 23,000 MT of biobased BDO at its peak.
Ontario and Canadian ministries and agencies recognized BioAmber’s market leading succinic acid technology, providing the company with CAD $35 million in grants and loans to locate in Sarnia. Support was secured from the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development and Trade (MEDT), Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and the Canadian Sustainable Chemistry Alliance. The plant’s first phase will spur substantial regional economic growth, generating 150 construction jobs and 40 full time jobs. Additional jobs are expected as capacity is increased and BDO production comes on line, and as investments are made in additional manufacturing that can transform locally produced biosuccinic acid into value added products.
“Sarnia has tremendous potential as a sustainable chemistry cluster. The unique combination of chemical infrastructure, skilled labor, educational facilities, competitive transportation costs and proximity to some of Canada’s richest agricultural land makes Sarnia an excellent choice,” said Mike Hartmann, Executive VP of BioAmber. “These provincial and federal programs have put Ontario and Canada at the forefront of sustainable development and in strong position to compete globally for foreign investment by renewable chemical and material companies. These programs were instrumental in BioAmber’s decision to invest in Ontario,” he added.
A bioplastic made from cheese by-products is expected to be appearing in consumer product packaging within a year, according to Dr Elodie Bugnicourt of Barcelona-based research company IRIS.
The biodegradable plastic made using whey protein is the result of the three-year European Commission-funded WheyLayer project, which Bugnicourt has spearheaded. Its aim was to replace expensive synthetic oxygen-barrier polymers with whey protein-coated plastic films.
Whey, the milk protein by-product of cheese production, acts as a good moisture-barrier film, and is a sustainable by-product: each year, cheese factories in Europe discard almost 40% of the whey they produce, she noted.
The WheyLayer packaging would not only create a value-added commercial use of currently discarded whey protein but would also replace petroleum-based plastics natural by-products, meeting growing environmental concerns and reducing carbon emissions, said Bugnicourt
“WheyLayer is very timely – it’s a development that’s coming up at a time where sustainability is the number one factor for success in new packaging innovation,” she said.
While the technology is subject to patent applications, Bugnicourt predicts that WheyLayer will first be used for cosmetics packaging for “creams that need good oxygen barriers, for example”. Food packaging applications will follow.