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Event Review 2 nd PLA

Event Review 2 nd PLA Bottle Conference The 2 nd PLA Bottle Conference hosted by bioplastics MAGAZINE (September 14-15, Munich, Germany) attracted almost 80 experts from 18 different countries. Delegates from the beverage industry as well as bioplastics experts came from all over Europe, North America and from countries as far away from the event venue as South Africa, Kuwait and Syria. Organizers, speakers and delegates were all well satisfied with the conference, as all presentations as well as the discussions were considered to be “very substantial“, “very much state-of-the-art“ and offered “many opportunities for making valuable contacts“. In an extremely well received keynote speech on ‘Land use for Bioplastics‘ Michael Carus from the nova Institut gave a comprehensive overview of the situation regarding the need to use available arable land to feed humans and animals, and its use for the production of biofuels and bioplastics. The conference itself followed a central theme from renewable feedstock to end-of-life. Starting with the basics on how starch or sugar is converted into lactic acid and then into PLA, the speakers addressed topics such as preform making and bottle blowing. Special focuses were on certain challenges such as barrier improvement (e.g. by SiOx coating) or enhanced thermal stability. Here special processing techniques were discussed as well as blending or stereocomplexing L and D lactides. Colorants and additives were introduced in order to achieve effects such as antiyellowing or anti-slip. Once a bottle has been produced and filled the next steps are capping (with ongoing efforts being made in the field of bioplastic caps and closures) and labelling. Shrink sleeves made of PLA represent a viable solution that neither compromises automated sorting nor compostability (where desired). A world premier was the introduction of a bioplastics shrink film (see page 24 for more details). Reports on their experiences by PLA bottle pioneers as well as brand new entrepreneurs gave an inspiring impression of the possibilities and challenges. As a surprise for all participants a Greek dairy company, together with their consultant, gave an almost spontaneous presentation about a very recently launched milk bottle in Greece, accompanied by a goat‘s milk tasting experience for everybody. The conference ended with a session on end-of-life or better end-of-use options for PLA. The delegates learned that NIR (= Near Infrared) is a technology that works well for automated sorting but that, on the other hand, still has some limitations. As at the previous two PLA conferences organised by bioplastics MAGAZINE, almost all of the attendees agreed that composting is not necessarily the best option. However, in closed loop systems such as stadiums, big events or similar, collection and composting may be a viable solution, provided that composting facilities are available. Elsewhere, where perhaps the volumes of collected PLA do not reach a critical mass for sorting and recycling, incineration with energy recovery seems to be a good solution. As one fairly new option the chemical recycling of PLA back into lactic acid was presented and can be reviewed in more detail on page 30. After the second day of the conference the delegates were invited to visit drinktec, the world‘s number one trade fair for beverage and liquid food technology in Munich. And on Wednesday an encouraging number of lime-green backpacks could be observed at the fairgrounds … bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/09] Vol. 4

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

bioplastics MAGAZINE ePaper