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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0903

isks, if you can wait

isks, if you can wait until the concept has been proven a success? That is why front runners like Novamont or NatureWorks and many others are real pioneers. They started the business based on belief and trust – they have a vision. Now the next wave has started, and even these new companies are not averse to taking a risk. In a few years we will reach the first million tonnes of Bioplastics capacity in this world. It took 20 years from the start. The second million will need far less than ten years, and then it will grow quickly. bM: What will drive this process? HK: Logical, factual constraints. We cannot build our future on today‘s products and way of life. We would need lots more planets to supply us at our current level of resource consumption. Thus we need to increase our ‘resource efficiency’, consume less, recycle more products and use more renewable carbon. Industry can choose: lead this process or be forced into it. Based on proper fitness for purpose, the added values of today’s green products, such as lower environmental impact, renewable sourcing or biodegradability, will pay back, and less green ones will pay the cost because they do not fulfil these future requirements. It will be mixture of commercial pull and political push. bM: But this is not yet the case! HK: But it is likely to come. Carbon management is the essential future principle. All policies, be it climate, industrial or product policy, will be based on it. It is not about how long our fossil resources will last. It‘s the price you have to pay for fossil carbon - and that will go higher and higher. If we cannot generate a high fossil carbon price and a very efficient closed loop economy, our highly developed society will lose its quality of life and everyone will face severe risks. Either we adapt to this scenario, or we fail as a society. Bioplastics, just like the development of efficient recycling schemes, CO 2 emission trading, carbon footprint indicators, or renewable energies, are simply consequences of that development. bM: I‘d like to round this off with some more general but personal questions. Why do you like bioplastics so much? HK: From the very beginning I thought it to be a great idea. Look at the cycle of nature. Structures are created and degraded in such an elegant way. You can see that with photosynthesis nature can create even stable, long lasting structures such as trees. All products created by nature are being biodegraded and are somehow recycled without creating any kind of waste problem. I found it fascinating to make plastics which are biodegradable, compostable, and thus copy nature‘s very efficient way of disposal. Additionally we can create biobased durable polymers products like biobased PE, where the atmospheric carbon can be stored for many years in products or by recycling streams. Bioplastics are great industrial solutions to severe problems generated by our non-sustainable way of living. We have the knowledge and capability to create non-resource-depleting cradle-to-cradle systems. The solution is carbon management, closed carbon loops and the sun as an energy source. Just as nature done it for million years. Isn‘t it fascinating? I wanted to work for an industry whith such aims and which is able to create change. bM: What are your favourite bioplastics products? HK: Please don‘t mis-interpret the following as an advertisement or unbalanced political statement. One of my favourite products is my PLA-fibre bed linen. It is a great product in which I can sleep very well - and good sleep gives you power. Another product I like is the shopping bag. After its initial use to carry the shopping it can be used as a bio-waste bag. And it also offers a big surface for communication, be it advertising or sharing your messages with others. That‘s what I call added value. The shopping bag is an absolute key product for the next five or ten years because of its added value and communication possibilities. And I am looking for a biobased mobile phone – I need one! It is quite important that bioplastics products beside their eco-advantages – do perform. The quality must be as good or even a little better than those made of conventional plastics. bM: What are you going to do next besides your new task at European Bioplastics HK: Well, my job at European Bioplastics is that of an external consultant, not an employee. I could also act as a consultant for other companies or governmental bodies in fields of strategic interest. One of my goals is to establish a consultancy network of real experts to ensure that customers get the best advice available. bM: thank you very much. The interview was conducted by Michael Thielen 10 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/09] Vol. 4

4 th Next Generation: Green SAVE THE DATE ! 10 / 11 November, 2009 The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin www.conference.european-bioplastics.org Conference Contact: conference@european-bioplastics.org Phone: +49 30 284 82 358

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