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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0702

Special Five PLA bottle

Special Five PLA bottle pioneers BIOTA Brands of America, Inc. / Planet Friendly Products Telluride, Colorado, USA David M. Zutler, Founder and CEO Belu Mineral Water, London, UK Reed Paget, Co-founder and Managing Director Ihr Platz GmbH + Co. KG, Osnabrück, Germany Bernd Merzenich, former Consultant now: Managing Director of german bioplastics GmbH & Co. KG Plus One Water, Inc., Montreal, Canada Michael Keeffe, CEO Naturally Iowa, LLC, Clarinda, Iowa, USA William Horner, President A significant number of companies have launched beverages in PLA bottles in recent years. bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke to the responsible people at five of the early pioneers in this field about their motivation, their experience and their future plans. Motivation Being asked how they came to the idea of using PLA as a bottle material, David Zutler of BIOTA said, that as early as 1996 he was already looking for a better material. In May of 2002 he read an article in the local Telluride newspaper how plastic bottles were helping to destroy the environment of our planet. Just shortly after Cargill and Dow opened their production plant for PLA in Blair, Nebraska, USA, he and Planet Friendly TM Products, a bioplastics consultancy firm also founded by him, contacted Cargill Dow (now NatureWorks LLC) and with the support of Cargill Dow, Husky and SIG Corpoplast they started the rollout of the World‘s First PLA preforms, bottles, and labels with the intention of “helping change the world as far as plastics is concerned,“ as David puts it. A similar idea drove Bill Horner of Naturally Iowa, when his company established the guidelines for creating a new all natural or even all organic dairy company. In October of 2005 they saw a major shift in consumer demand for organic products. “We decided to make a shift in our business plan as well, and with regard to packaging we wanted to set ourselves apart from all the others,“ says Bill, “and the only real breakthrough in plastics packaging that we could see was PLA“. Two years earlier they had contacted Cargill Dow, just an hour and a half down the road, and enjoyed the benefit of earlier experience gained with the help of BIOTA bottles. Naturally Iowa uses Norland blow moulding equipment for their in-house production of the bottles. London (UK) based Belu Mineral Water is an environmental initiative which contributes 100% of its net profits to clean water projects. Working with the charity WaterAid, every bottle of Belu water purchased in the UK provides someone in India or Africa with clean water for one month. About five years ago Belu contacted the Rocky Mountain Institute, an environmental organisation in the USA. “I discussed with them how to make a low impact bottle to create a more sus- 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2

Special tainable product,“ says Reed Paget of Belu, “and they suggested we use a sort of biopolymer“. As PLA was not ready for commercial use in those days, Belu started the launch of Belu Mineral Water with glass bottles. After the successful launch of BIOTA, Belu finally introduced in May 2006 the Belu PLA bottle, using preforms purchased from Planet Friendly Products. The bottles are blown on SIG Corpoplast stretch blow moulding machines and filled at Brecon Mineral Water in a factory located near Llandeilo in South Wales. To set up a socially responsible water company was the idea with which Michael Keeffe of +1Water in Canada approached co-founders Paul and David Smith a few years ago. “We wanted to contribute 20% of our profits towards water development organisations like WaterCan and Ryan‘s Well Foundation in Canada and Operation Hunger in South Africa,“ says Michael. These non profit organisations help provide communities in need with access to safe, clean water. “Unlike most people living in North America and Europe, there are over one billion people in the world that do not have access to safe drinking water,“ he adds. Within a few months they found out about PLA and decided it would provide the environmentally responsible component to round out the socially responsible dimension of the product. With the technical support of NatureWorks, Krones and Ben Benedict at Iroquois Water +1Water was able to launch their PLA +1 bio-bottle last January. +1 bottles natural spring water from a family owned spring called “Bell Falls“ in Quebec. Iroquois Water, use Krones equipment, to blow and fill the bottles for +1Water. Bernd Merzenich (today head of german bioplastics) has acted as a consultant to different companies with regard to the production and marketing of organic food for about 25 years. In recent years he has also been keen to use bioplastics as a packaging material for organic produce. When working for the German drugstore chain “Ihr Platz“, establishing a new range of organic food products and natural cosmetics, he came across the BIOTA bottles. He found exciting the idea of using PLA as a packaging material for a pilot project of wellness beverages with a strong appeal to health and environment, which Ihr Platz was planning to introduce. When Hycail (today with Tate&Lyle) could not con- bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/07] Vol. 2 11

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