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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0602

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0602

Applications First PLA

Applications First PLA bottle in Germany Drugstore chain “Ihr Platz” introduces new wellness drinks in PLA bottles Three new wellness beverages were introduced under the brand name “Vitamore” on 1 September by the German drugstore chain “Ihr Platz” (which means “your place” in English) in its more than 700 stores. And this launch represents three premieres at a time, as all new products, Vitamore Beauty Drink, Vitamore Energy Drink and Vitamore Memory Drink are presented in 0.5 litre bottles made of Nature- Works PLA. These are the first PLA bottles in the German market. And if that is not enough, the caps of these bottles are also made of bioplastic. With a label made of paper and a starch-based glue, the entire bottle is fully compostable. One year ago, Ihr Platz introduced organic food and body care products into its portfolio, including dairy and convenience products - not usual for drugstore chains such as Ihr Platz. “So it was another consequent step in the same direction to introduce PLA as material for our new wellness beverages”, says project manager Bernd Merzenich, a consultant with 25 years of experience in bioproducts, who supports Ihr Platz in this field. “People, who consider health, wellness, beauty and “bio…” as important for them, also wish to take care for a healthy environment” he adds. “We sense a huge amount of appreciation for the commitment of Ihr Platz, because we know about all the hidden obstacles in this business”, adds Joeran Reske from Interseroh, who supported Ihr Platz with contacts and information during the development of the bottle. Cost versus advantages Even if PLA is still more expensive than PET, “for the order of magnitude that we need for the introduction phase, it is significant”, as Bernd Merzenich comments, Ihr Platz decided however not to put the additional cost on top of the sales price. The lower margin that the drugstore accepts brings benefits in the marketing aspect when introducing and promoting the new product. “We assume that the customers appreciate the advantages of PLA, to have a material that can be 100% composted or incinerated with greenhouse gas neutrality”, says Bernd, “and, in addition, in our calculation we are undertaking steps to achieve exemption from the mandatory deposit in Germany for environmentally preferable beverage packaging”. As this is the first bottle of its kind in Germany, education of the customers is an important subject. Ihr Platz puts most emphasis on a specially created website (www.vitamore.info), as the target group of customers is considered as having strong affinity with Internet. In addition, large posters at the point-of-sale, followed by special leaflets, will support the provision of necessary information to the public. 20 bioplastics [06/02] Vol. 1

Applications The compostable cap - another “world first” The cap is also a worldwide premiere: The cap of the Vitamore bottles, supplied by the Swiss company Wiedmer AG, is made of biodegradable and compostable Mater-Bi from Novamont, Italy. In combination with the rigid PLA bottle, the geometry of the cap and the elastic Mater-Bi material allow a perfectly leakproof bottle. The sealing function is inherently integrated into the geometry of the cap, without any need for additional inserted sealing from a third material, so that it can withstand even the higher internal pressures of normal carbonated beverages (CSD: carbonated soft drinks). What does a brand owner expect from the industry? First of all, Ihr Platz expects larger production capacities for PLA to improve availability to a larger number of users in the packaging and beverage industries. “And of course, more different suppliers means competition and that is good for business”, Bernd Merzenich adds, with a smile. But there is more that should be improved than just availability and price. Especially for bottles, Bernd Merzenich seeks further improvements of both blowability and stretchability. This is particularly relevant for a further reduction of the preform and bottle weight, in order to further increase the environmental advantages of PLA bottles. The shelf life of the slightly carbonised Vitamore drinks (

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