Focus on Bioplastics-News & Developments


Move to ban oxo-degradable plastic packaging endorsed by Ellen Macarthur foundation

A new statement from the Ellen MacArthur that proposes banning oxo-degradable plastic packaging worldwide endorsed by over 150 organisations around the globe. Signatories include leading businesses, industry associations, NGOs, scientists, and elected officials.

Oxo-degradable plastic packaging, including carrier bags, is ofpten marketed as a solution to plastic pollution, with claims that such plastics degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, as outlined in a new statement by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics Economy initiative, significant evidence indicates that oxo-degradable plastics do not degrade into harmless residues, but instead fragment into tiny pieces of plastic and contribute to microplastic pollution, posing a risk to the ocean and other ecosystems, potentially for decades to come.

“The available evidence overwhelmingly suggests oxo-degradable plastics do not achieve what their producers claim and instead contribute to microplastic pollution. In addition, these materials are not suited for effective long-term reuse, recycling at scale or composting, meaning they cannot be part of a circular economy,” said Rob Opsomer, Lead for Systemic Initiatives at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

In other words: “Oxo-degradable plastic packaging is not a solution to plastic pollution, and does not fit in a circular economy.”

Signatories of the Foundation's statement include M&S, PepsiCo, Unilever, Veolia, British Plastics Federation, Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association, Packaging South Africa, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and ten Members of the European Parliament. In total, over 150 organisations, including leading businesses representing every step of the plastics supply chain, industry associations, NGOs, scientists, and elected officials have endorsed the statement calling for global action to avoid widescale environmental risk.

“Using oxo-degradable additives is not a solution for litter. Their use in waste management systems will likely cause negative outcomes for the environment and communities,” said Erin Simon, Director of Sustainability Research and Development, World Wildlife Fund. “When public policy supports the cascading use of materials – systems where materials get reused over and over, this strengthens economies and drives the development of smarter materials management systems. This leads to wins for both the environment and society.”

As a result of the significant body of evidence raising concerns about the potential negative impacts of plastic fragments from oxo-degradable plastics, an increasing number of companies and governments have started to take action to restrict their use, in particular in Europe. For example, in the UK retailers such as Tesco and the Co-operative stopped the use of oxo-degradable plastics in their carrier bags. France banned the use of oxo-degradable plastics altogether in 2015.

However, oxo-degradable plastics are still produced in many European countries, including the UK, and marketed across the world as safely biodegradable. Several countries in the Middle-East and Africa, including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, areas of Pakistan, Yemen, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Ghana and Togo, are still promoting the use of oxo-degradable plastics or have even made their use mandatory.

To create a plastics system that works, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's New Plastics.

Economy initiative, together with the signing organisations, supports innovation that designs out waste and pollution, and keeps products and materials in high-value use in line with the principles of a circular economy.

Braskem signs partnership with haldor topsoe to develop bio-based meg

BRASKEM, the Americas' leading producer of thermoplastic resins, and Danish-based Haldor Topsoe, a world leader in catalysts and surface science, have signed a technological cooperation agreement to develop a pioneering route to produce monoethylene glycol (MEG) from sugar. The agreement calls for the construction of a demonstration plant in Denmark, with operation slated to begin in 2019.

MEG is a key component of PET resin, the main man-made raw material used by the textile and packaging industries that is also widely used to make bottles. The project is based on a two-step process developed at Topsoe's labs along with own catalysts, and focuses on the conversion of sugar into MEG at a single industrial unit, which will reduce initial investment in the production and boost the competitiveness of the process.

"This novel bio-based initiative allies a cutting-edge technology with deep expertise in process design, scale-up and industrial operation, which will allow us to push the renewable chemistry to a whole new level. After the Green Polyethylene, this is another major step forward in our vision of using renewable polymers as a carbon capture tool and keep contributing to a more sustainable future." said Mateus Lopes, head of Innovation in Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

With the agreement, Braskem wants to expand its portfolio of renewable products to offer new solutions that complement its bio-based polyethylene marketed with the I'm green seal. "With this new partnership, we strengthen our position as protagonists in the development of innovative solutions that will leverage the competitiveness of different biomasses and complement the traditional solutions offered by the petrochemical industry," said Gustavo Sergi, director of Renewable Chemicals at Braskem.

"Catalysis will play an extremely important role in the development of sustainable solutions that produce important chemicals from renewable sources such as sugars. We are proud to deliver the ground-breaking technology for the project with Braskem, and we look forward to applying our world-leading competencies within catalysis and process engineering in the further commercialization of this important technology," said Kim Knudsen, Executive Vice President at Haldor Topsoe.

The demonstration plant will conduct tests to validate the technology and confirm its technical and economic feasibility, which is a critical step before launching production on an industrial scale and commercial operations. The unit will be flexible to validate the technology in different raw materials such as sucrose, dextrose and second-generation sugars.

Braskem's I'm green PE and Proampac's Trinity packaging division achieve carbon reduction packaging

BRASKEM, the largest thermoplastics resins producer in the Americas and the leading producer of biopolymers in the world, announced today it has partnered with ProAmpac's Trinity Packaging Division to use Braskem's I'm green polyethylene (PE) to help Maryland's Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Maryland Environmental Service (MES) to achieve their carbon reduction and environmental preservation objectives.

"I have made the commitment to improving the County's environment a priority for my administration," said County Executive Ike Leggett. "Adopting this more environmentally-responsible packaging product reflects this commitment, as well demonstrating the County's embrace of the Governor's Sustainable Materials Management Policy, which seeks 'an updated and more holistic materials management approach. to ensure continuous environmental improvement.' I commend the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Solid Waste Services for their leadership in achieving this important accomplishment."

Maryland's Montgomery County DEP, with the assistance of its contractor MES, led the initiative to find a carbon reduction packaging alternative for their composting program in order to support their core mission. As part of the County's annual composting of leaves and grass, that would have otherwise been disposed of, MES converts the organic wastes into a valuable soil conditioner resource for sale under the registered Leafgro brand. Last year, MES sold approximately 650,000 bags of Leafgro in fossil fuel based polyethylene packaging. Under the leadership of Maryland's Montgomery County DEP, in direct partnership with MES, Braskem and ProAmpac's Trinity Packaging Division, Leafgro packaging will be converted to Braskem's I'm green sugarcane based bioplastic, a carbon negative product, that will help Montgomery County reduce its carbon footprint. The Leafgro brand soil conditioner in the new I'm green bioplastic packaging will be sold throughout the U.S. East coast in lawn and garden retail locations.

Braskem's I'm green Polyethylene (PE) is a bio-based resin made from ethanol, a renewable and sustainable resource produced from Brazilian sugarcane that is a drop-in substitute for conventional oil-based polyethylene. Cultivation of sugarcane utilizes carbon dioxide (CO2) and releases oxygen (O2), which means Braskem's bioplastic has a negative carbon footprint. From a cradle-to-gate life-cycle perspective, every ton of I'm green PE used in the production of packaging equates to 3.09 tons of CO2 captured from the atmosphere.

Swedish county's heathcare sector to use disposable bio-based aprons

SKÅNE Regional Council, Swedish southernmost county with Malmö as its main city, undertook with financial support from the Swedish Energy Agency, an innovation procurement for the supply of 5.2 million bio-based disposable aprons.

Thanks to an analysis of the region's climate impact conducted in 2011, it discovered that its healthcare sector was one of the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions – in fact 40% of the region's total CO2 emissions. Following the analysis, the region decided to carry out an innovation-oriented public procurement for the purchase of aprons mostly made from renewable (bio-based) material. The procurement involved four phases: a preliminary market dialogue/sounding phase; a qualification round to select potential suppliers; a negotiation phase; and an award phase.

The process began in 2014 and concluded in May 2016 with the contract awarded to a company for the supply of disposable aprons consisting of 91% renewable material. The purchase/use of the bio-based aprons is expected to result in savings of 250 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions.

World's first portfolio of renewable polyols launched by Perstorp

PERSTORP has launched two new innovative products - Evyron (partly renewable TMP) and Neeture (partly renewable Neo). The two new ProEnvironment Polyols – Evyron and Neeture - complete the portfolio of the three essential polyols in renewable options. The new portfolio is based on a certified mass balance concept. Mass balance is about mixing fossil and renewable in the same existing systems but keeping track of their quantities and allocating them to specific products. This ensures that the quality and performance of the molecules are exactly the same giving customers a real go-pro-environmental choice. The World's first renewable Penta, known as Voxtar, was launched in 2010.

Anna Berggren, Global Market Segment Manager for Resins at Perstorp commented: “The time is right to add two new renewable polyols. The market demand for bio-based material is rapidly increasing due to a strong focus on sustainable chemistry and renewable raw materials. We are committed to our environmental responsibility as well as to helping our customers in their sustainable development. We are dedicated to our pro-environment products, giving prioritized supply for pro-environmental partners at all times.”

Perstorp's commitment to sustainability runs deep in the company led by CEO, Jan Secher. “This launch is a great achievement and I'm very proud of the engagement from our employees. It's clear that we are looking to make a difference. Sustainability is in the core of everything we do which also makes it a perfect strategic fit.”

Perstorp's new pro-environment portfolio is a great example of how they intend to work towards their 2030 ambition to become Finite Material Neutral. “It is a tough ambition but we have to do it. There is no plan B, because we only have one planet,” Jan continues.

Currently Perstorp is devoting

80% of its R&D resources to finding new sustainable solutions and in addition, all Perstorp Swedish plants will switch to using only renewable electricity in 2018. “With the new pro-environment products we are launching at China Coat, we are reaffirming that we believe our molecules can change hings for the better”, Jan concludes.

Perstorp's Pro-Environment Polyols are all ISCC certified which among other things ensures a traceability of the bio-based raw material back to its country of origin. Anna Berggren highlights: “The bio-based material in our products is sustainably sourced and I am proud to say that Perstorp launches world´s first portfolio of renewable polyols. And even better, they will also be the first to become ISCC certified.”

Titan bioplastics formed to focus on development new biocomposite materials

TITAN Hemp, a leading provider of hemp commodities and extracts, announced that it has formed a joint venture with Green Growers Technology Alliance (GGTA) to create a new company, Titan BioPlastics.

Titan BioPlastics is a manufacturing and development entity focused on creating plant-based composites and products for a wide variety of manufacturing applications, including packaging, nanotechnology, bio-polymers, construction, and bioplastics. The company has access to several exclusive licenses to manufacture and market category-changing patents and IP, including methods for manufacturing bio-composite and bio-polymer formulations for injection molds, thermoplastics, extrusion molding, flame retardant bioplastic compositions, and more.

The company's expertise is in biomaterial sciences, including the use of nanotechnology to create powerful new bio-composite materials that are stronger, more effective, biodegradable. Titan BioPlastics solves environmental challenges in manufacturing by utilizing highly-durable, biodegradable materials from sustainable sources, including industrial hemp.

Company Co-Founder and CEO Tanya Hart, said that Titan BioPlastics is working with companies in several sectors, including automotive manufacturing, pharmaceutical packaging, as well as with one of the world's leading fast food restaurant chains, to develop new plant-based materials for their products that will improve performance and enhance environmental impact.

Hart founded Titan BioPlastics along with co-founders Amy Ansel, David Abecassis and Avi Cooper.

Abecassis, who serves as company Chief Scientific Officer, is one of the world's leading experts in the fields of bio-polymer, nanotechnology and bio-composite formulations for manufacturing. He holds two Master's degrees from Rutgers University, and is a Texaco Foundation Research Fellow. With 27 years of experience in plant-based chemistry and technology, Abecassis is at the forefront of the green science movement.

Titan BioPlastics' sister company, Titan Hemp, has a pipeline of almost one million acres of sustainable industrial hemp to support a bio material solution for large industries.

Sustainable eyewear solutions from new ‘green partnership’

ITALY-BASED API, specialized in the production of thermoplastic elastomeric compounds and bioplastics has announced that it has entered a 'green' partnership with Ems-Grivory, a leading Swiss manufacturer of high performance polymers and supplier of high-performance materials for various sectors, including the eyewear industry.

The companies will collaborate on the development of a series of eyewear solutions with a lower environmental impact, in response to the ever-growing market demand for cutting-edge, sustainable materials.

Customers are increasingly seeking to combine soft elastomeric compounds with hard substrates. Engineers from both companies will collaborate on combining adhesion modified soft-touch TPE with the harder EMS Grilamid TR or Grilamid BTR materials, while complying in full with the VDI 2019 standard for measuring the adhesive strength of TPE on rigid substrates.

API, which was acquired by global materials company Trinseo in July 2017, and Ems-Grivory will work on the development of specific bio-solutions, both on a fossil and renewable basis.

“We are excited to partner with EMS-GRIVORY as we focus our combined expertise serving a broader and greener product range,” says Giancarlo Busa, Business Unit Manager, Footwear & Sporting Goods, API.

“Our materials will satisfy social, economic and environmental benefits, without imposing performance limitations. We strongly believe in the future of innovative and sustainable solutions for eyewear.”

Plaxx gets best recycled plastic product of the year award at RECOUP conference

PLAXX received of the Best Recycled Product award, promoted and supported by plastics recycling charity, RECOUP at the recent Plastic Industry Awards, presented at a gala extravaganza at held at London Hilton.

The award gives the plastics recycling industry the opportunity to demonstrate commitment to the environment and saving of resources using recycled materials. In 2017 the award's criteria was widened to allow for products in early stages of development, designed within the UK, to qualify for entry.

The delegates to the RECOUP Plastics Recycling Conference on 28th September had voted for the winning entry through a one member one vote system, allowing the award winners to be chosen directly from industry peers.

Stuart Foster, CEO of RECOUP said “we hope that through connecting with this Award we can encourage many others to consider the business and environmental benefits of using recycled plastics in product manufacturing, and help demonstrate that plastic is a circular resource – something that is increasingly critical to the future success of this industry. Use of recycled content is an automatic requirement not a choice within a circular economy and we need to see significant progress in the use of recycled plastics in manufacturing; whether this can happen without mandatory requirements in the future is unclear.”

On collecting this national industry award, CEO at Recycling Technologies, Adrian Griffiths, said: “The global issue of plastic waste is growing year on year. Our innovative technology addresses this and chemically recycles mixed plastic waste and turns it back into the oil it came from. We call this oil Plaxx. Our goal is for Plaxx to contribute to the Circular Economy and help build recycling rates for plastic in the UK from the approximately 40% achievable by mechanical means today, up to 90%.”

Working in collaboration with industry and technology partners including UK universities, Recycling Technologies has successfully developed a chemical process, called the RT7000, to recycle what has long been considered unrecyclable' waste plastic films, pouches, trays, tubes and laminates which account for over 60% of plastic packaging. The RT7000 converts this mixed plastics waste into Plaxx, a waxy low sulphur hydrocarbon that is distilled into a suite of materials from wax to naphtha, the feedstock for new plastics manufacture. Each unit can convert approximately 7,000 tonnes waste plastic into 5,250 tonnes of Plaxx.