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Event Review photo

Event Review photo courtesy of Environmental Division of SPE GPEC Global Plastics Environment Conference 2009 Under the headline ’Plastics: The Wonderful World of Sustainability and Recyling’ about 300 delegates and speakers met from February 25 to 27 in Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida, USA. The conference was accompanied by a table top exhibition. One of three parallel sessions was on Bio-based and Biodegradable Materials. Among the most interesting presentations, which were attended by an average of 70 to 90 delegates was Ross Young’s (Univenture) talk about the Production of Algae primarily for bioplastics and fuel. Corey Linden (Battelle) introduced methods to improve PLA performance for injection moulding. Todd Rogers of Arkema spoke about a new type on transparent, (50%) biobased polyamide, named Rilsan clear. Jim Lunt (Tianan Biologic) and Kristin Taylor (Telles) presented their latest developments and application examples from the field of the PHA’s. The massively discussed presentation by Michael Stephen of Symphony about – what Professor Greene (California State Univ. Chico) called oxo-fragmentable plastics – was commented by Joe Greene: “Disney is an appropriate location for such kind of presentations”. However, Mr. Stephens again was not able to present any scientifically backed data to prove his claims. During lunch on the first day, Eric Connell of Toyota shared with the delegates his experience and thoughts about ‘Automotive Applications & Expectations of Biobased Materials’. From the viewpoint of greenhouse gas reductions and resource security, bioplastics are attractive as carbon neutral materials, but Eric also pointed out the limitations that currently still exist for industrial usage for automotive applications. Dr. John Kristy, Professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville explained in an elaborated plenary session on the second day his findings about CO 2 and global warming. However, his ‘all-clear’ statement ‘all carbon dioxide emissions – if reduced or not - do not affect the climate’ was not exactly agreed to by all of the delegates. bioplastics MAGAZINE will cover some of the most interesting talks, as well as some of the really good student posters in the coming issues. Sustainability in Packaging Intertech-pira sponsored a conference, accompanied by an exhibition, on ‘Sustainability in Packaging’ on 3-4 March also in Orlando, Florida. An average of about 30-40 from the total of 210 delegates came to the ‘bioplastics’ session to attend presentations from industry experts. In his presentation on ‘How plastics packaging meets the sustainability challenge in Europe’ Professor Kosior (Nextek) for example addressed the question of automatic sorting PLA from a mixed PLA / PET waste stream. Other presentations covered latest develompents in PLA (Erwin Vink, NatureWorks), PHA (Daniel Gilliland, Telles), Starch based bioplastics (Tom Black, Plantic and Daniel Tein, PSM) and biobased (bio-ethanol) Polyethylene (Jeff Wooster, Dow). Leslie Harty, president of Maverick Enterprises gave a controversially discussed presentation that also covered their products made from PE and PET and additives that are claimed to make these materials biodegradable. Data that prove the 100% biodegradation of these materials according to standards such as EN 13432 / ASTM D6400 or EN 14855 / ASTM D5338 however, could not be presented. bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/09] Vol. 4

Event Review Conference on Sustainable Packaging In Cologne, Germany, within the framework of the Anuga Foodtec 2009 trade fair, the nova-Institut from Hürth, Germany, organised the ‘Conference on sustainable packaging’. In his opening presentation, Michael Carus, head of the nova-Institut gave an impressive insight in their findings about the world’s arable land space with reference to the production of food, biofuels and bioplastics. In a nutshell: approximately 5 billion hectares (ha) of the planet’s 14.3 billion ha can be regarded as farmland, 3.5 billion ha of which are meadow land and 1.5 billion ha are arable land, i.e. land used for the cultivation of crops. In 2006/07 0.42% of the total farmland was used for biofuels (bioethanol and biodiesel), and a lot less was used for bioplastics. Carus said that food price increases are not so much (10-15%) due to an increased demand for biofuels (or bioplastics) but due to an increased demand for food (higher purchasing power) in the developing parts of the world. With an estimated area of ‘unused’ or ‘free’ farmland of about 570 million ha (in 2006) and an (also estimated) increased need of 210 million ha for the production of food and feed until 2020, there will still be about 360 million ha of farmland that could be used for non food purposes. The additional demand for arable land for biofuels (and bioplastics) is estimated to be about 18 million ha by 2020. bioplastics MAGAZINE will publish a comprehensive article on this topic in one of the future issues. In further presentations, different speakers talked about their efforts towards a more environmentallyfriendly (and thus sustainable) production. Topics were, among others, ‘Recycling of bioplastics’ or market overviews and the presentation of new products. Worldbiofuelsmarkets 2009 Following a major conference on biofuels with more than 200 speakers and about 1000 delegates last year, Worldbiofuelsmarkets once again this year invited delegates to Brussels, Belgium, from March 16-18. The pre-congress forum on bioplastics (the only one of the seven forums), however started as a ‘cosy conference’ as chairman Ramani Narayan from Michigan State University put it. With 17 people in the room (and 17 speakers on the programme) the one-day forum ultimately developed an attendance of more than 30 in the afternoon. Besides some interesting presentations, such as new non-food feedstock approaches for PHAs, or the exploitation of Municipal Solid Waste (Bill Orts, USDA, see photo) and ‘Bioplastics as Part of the Biorefinery’ (John Williams, NNFCC, UK), the concept of this forum or workshop relied very much on the effective panel discussions. The first panel discussion addressed ‘Bioplastics and the Food vs Fuel debate’ and was conducted by John Williams, Ulrich Weihe (McKinsey, Belgium) and Marco Versari (Novamont, Italy). Participants of a panel discussion on ‘Bioplastics and Biodegradability‘ were Martin Patel (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Mary Ann Curran (EPA, USA), Gert-Jan Gruter (Avantium, The Netherlands) and Bruno de Wilde (Organic Waste Systems, Belgium). ‘A Global Focus: Who is Leading the Way in Bioplastics?’ was the subject of the third panel discussion with Jim Lunt (Tianan Biologic, China), Bill Orts and Paul Cordfunke (PURAC, The Netherlands) being the experts. The closing panel on ‘Sharing Best Practice for the Future - Thoughts and Outlook’ was held by Camille Burel (EuropaBio, Belgium), Stefano Facco (Novamont) and Brian Balmer (Frost & Sullivan, UK). All in all ‘cosy’ but nevertheless effective in terms of discussions and networking. bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/09] Vol. 4

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