NatureWorks LLc is the first company to offer a family of commercially available, low-carbon footprint biopolymers derived from 100% annually renewable resources with performance and economics that compete with oil-based plastics and fibers. Natureworks’ Ingeo™ is a plastic from plants, not oil, guarantees the use of an innovative and unique technology with certified green credentials and positive environmental impact. Manufacturing Ingeo produces 60% less greenhouse gases and uses 50% less non-renewable energy than traditional plastics like PET and polystyrene. Interesting product developments were discussed at an international biopolymers conference hosted by NatureWorks.
The conference captured for the first time in one forum, the innovations occurring with this material throughout the supplier chain, from resin to retail. It was an ideal platform to learn about the latest bio-based market introductions; green marketing approaches, new fibre and plastics technologies, product developments, and advances in after-use, ‘cradle-to-cradle’ options. Here is a brief synopsis:
Hiroyuki Mori, Senior Eco-products Producer, at Sony Corp spoke about Sony’s use of Ingeo biopolymer in products, initiated with the 2002 introduction of a biopolymer or biomass Walkman® plastic casing. Hiroyuki Mori noted the public already thinks positively of biopolymers, and designers can and should create new attractive products from them. Sony’s global environmental plan “Road to Zero,” states a vision of achieving a zero environmental footprint throughout the life cycle of products and business activities by 2050. Targets include increasing the amount of recycled or renewable materials and a 5% reduction in the utilization ratio of virgin oil-based plastics by 2015 (relative to 2008). A broad number of new Sony products made with biopolymers were visually displayed. A number of these innovative uses required the development of new product technology, led by Sony or by suppliers.
David R. McIntosh, Senior Engineer of Fabri-Kal Corporation, discussed the journey that Greenware®, a line of renewable cold drink cups, portion cups and lids made entirely from plant-based Ingeo™ biopolymer. Made in the U.S.A. from Ingeo biopolymer, the Greenware® product line is 100% compostable in actively managed municipal or industrial facilities, where available. Performance and clarity are not sacrificed. As Fabri-Kal manufactures products using many different plastics, they are relying on LCA/LCI comparisons calculated per case of product for a more objective means to present portfolio options to customers.
Roman Forowycz, Chief Marketing Officer of Clear Lam Packaging Incorporated, spoke about the firm’s experiences developing rigid and flexible Ingeo biopolymer based packaging, and communicating the value of renewable packaging to consumers using on-pack messaging. A number of the new Clear Lam packaging innovations incorporate materials in addition to Ingeo to expand food packaging applications by providing barrier and other property enhancements. The on-pack messaging draws attention to the renewable resource content.
Dirk De Saedelier, Director Product Development of DS-Sommer, began by talking about Ingeo-based event carpet. The production and recycling of this carpet is gaining wide attention and use in Europe. Initial prototypes for the carpet were 100% Ingeo biopolymer, and were able to meet the highest fire classification (EN 13501-1 classification Bfl/s1) without use of additives. This carpet under the Eco2punch carpet name is able to be recycled by Galactic and then reformulated back into carpet and other products.
Todd Niemuth, Business Development Manager, and Tim Dawsey, Senior Director of Technology, of Spartech Corporation have long been involved in the successful launch of impact modified cut sheet products for Ingeo-based gift cards and other card products. At Innovation Takes Root 2010, Spartech introduced two new Ingeo products.
- Rejuven8®EX17 is a white, opaque sheet or roll stock product that has good impact properties and heat resistance without secondary processing similar to PET and PETG. This product is intended for both cards and printed cut sheet products or for thermoformed products.
- In the near future, Spartech will offer an additional new grade suitable for cards and any printed cut sheet product. This grade, Rejuven8 EX42, will also be white, opaque cut sheet, with good impact properties, but with more enhanced heat resistance to around 200°F (93.3° C), without the need for secondary processing.
Products made with Ingeo include Bioserie, Danone, Earth’s Best, Electrolux, Elements Naturals, Frito-Lay, Henkel, Shiseido, Stonyfield, and Walmart.
Huhtamaki BioWare® plastic drinking cups, made from Ingeo™, All BioWare products are certified in accordance with EN13432, the European standard for compostability of packaging, and all have a lower environmental impact than their traditional counterparts. Danone’s Activia yogurt in Germany is now available in a new pack made from Ingeo™. The switch to the technologically innovative material will improve the product’s packaging carbon footprint by 25% and use 43% less fossil resources compared to the previous packaging, according to a life cycle assessment (LCA) study.
Bioserie-covers for iPhone 4, are developed with proprietary material blends that contain one of the highest performance bioplastic resins available today – Ingeo™, and other cutting edge plant based materials sourced globally from expert suppliers. The resulting all plant based innovative material blends allow bioserie to offer such stylish, lightweight and durable protective covers for mobile devices. The bioplastic alloy developed for the new iPhone 4 covers happens to be one of the highest performing all plant based bioplastic resins in the World. Able to withstand temperatures of at least 85 degrees Centigrade, our material has excellent mechanical properties as well.
Electrolux’s S-bag® GREEN is a high-tech innovation and the first dust bag in the world using Ingeo™. s-bag® GREEN is made completely from renewable sources, originating from plant starches, natural rubber and recycled cardboard. The packaging is made of 100% recycled material and decays in nature within only 15 weeks. It ensures an equally high level of performance from the vacuum cleaner, while the environmental impact is significantly reduced and less less than that of a usual dust bag. 42% less non renewable energy is being used in the production of and the amount of greenhouse gases generated is 32% lower. S-bag® GREEN has up to 50% longer lifespan (than other paper dust bags) and is TÜV certified.
Shiseido’s URARA branded products are packaged in more environmentally sustainable solutions with 51% Ingeo™ in composition.
Walmart has chosen plant-based Ingeo™ natural packaging to complement their fresh Marketside organic salads, salsas, and bagged spinach, along with fresh cut fruit, vegetables, and tomatoes. NatureWorks estimates that by using Ingeo instead of PET, Walmart Stores in 2010 has achieved a savings in fossil fuel usage of 25,971 barrels of oil per year, and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions equal to eliminating the CO2 emissions from driving a car 20,885,635 miles.
Global organic yogurt leader Stonyfield Farm has replaced all of its petroleum-based multipack yogurt cups with cups made from plant-based Ingeo™. A first for the dairy industry, these cups reduce the package’s greenhouse gas emissions by 48%. This means that by using Ingeo instead of polystyrene for their multipacks, the company reduces its carbon footprint by 1,875 metric tons of CO2 a year. That’s equal to the CO2 emissions from 4,360 barrels of oil, or the greenhouse gases from the energy used in 160 homes for an entire year. In fact, this one change in packaging reduces the total global warming impact of Stonyfield’s packaging by 9%.
Source: plastemart.com, 2011-06-30.