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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0906

Films | Flexibles | Bags

Films | Flexibles | Bags PLA Film Applications The trend toward using biopolymers and environmentally friendly films continues to expand into traditional plastic film applications. The flexible packaging, lamination, bread bag, windowing (envelope and folding carton), shrink sleeve label and tamper evident band markets are some of the many applications that currently incorporate the use of biopolymer films. The transition to biopolymer films has been slow. However, the introduction of EarthFirst ® has allowed for greater penetration into plastic film markets because of its environmental and mechanical benefits. Made from Ingeo PLA, EarthFirst is produced using annually renewable resources, and is a certified compostable product under the DIN 13432 and ASTM D6400 standards for industrial composting. And it is more than just an environmentally friendly product. While the environmentally friendly attributes make it attractive to ‘green’ minded companies, the mechanical properties allow it to run as well as traditional plastic films on a wide range of processing equipment. Having a natural dyne level of 38 makes it suitable for printed applications and its direct food contact (FDA) compliance has opened the door to the flexible packaging market. Shrink sleeve label and tamper evident bands are utilizing EarthFirst TDO film. Low shrink initiation temperatures and the ability to shrink up to 75% makes EarthFirst the ideal shrink film. In addition, EarthFirst shrink sleeve film can be stored up to 40° celsius offering energy savings that petrochemical films cannot. Jiffy Pot in Europe is using EarthFirst as a shrink sleeve label around their plant pots. In the United States, ConAgra has made the switch from PVC to EarthFirst for their tamper evident bands around their table spread product offerings. Large envelope houses in Europe like GPV, Hamelin and the Mayer Kuvert Network have adopted the use of EarthFirst for their envelope window film offerings. The film compliments their full line of FSC paper based envelope offerings. The crystal clear look of EarthFirst offers envelope windowing applications an alternative to the traditional films in the market today. Bread bags are another market utilizing the EarthFirst product. Retailers understand the environmental benefits of EarthFirst as the high moisture vapor transmission rate of EarthFirst guarantees that the bread inside remains crispy. EarthFirst can be found in Delhaize, Carrefour and Auchan bread bag products. In many cases EarthFirst even outperforms petrochemical based films when it comes to printing, sealing and overall machinability. Plastic Suppliers, Inc. / Sidaplax v.o.f is committed to a strong environmental leadership role in protecting the planet. As active members of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), European Bioplastics, Belgian Biopackaging and UK Compostable Group, the companies are committed to understanding the impact of such products upon the environment. MT www.earthfirstpla.com. 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/09] Vol. 4

Films | Flexibles | Bags Paper cups and shrink film are the first two applications for BASF’s new biodegradable plastic Ecovio ® FS High-Performance and Biodegradable At the 4th European Bioplastics Conference (see page 10) BASF presented a new biodegradable plastic branded as Ecovio ® FS. BASF has optimized this new plastic for two specific applications: for coating paper and for manufacturing so-called shrink films, which serve to easily wrap packaged goods. For this reason, the first two new plastic types are called Ecovio FS Paper and Ecovio FS Shrink Film. Sample material is already available. Initial production tests at customers’ facilities have been successful. Introduction into the market at large is scheduled for the first quarter of 2010. Biodegrading even more quickly As has been demonstrated in recent composting experiments, the new Ecovio FS biodegrades even more rapidly than its predecessors, and it has a higher content of renewable raw materials. “Ecovio FS consists of the likewise new, now bio-based Ecoflex ® FS (a biodegradable polyester made by BASF) and of PLA. The use of the new Ecoflex FS raises the proportion of biobased material in Ecovio FS Shrink Film to 66% and that of Ecovio FS Paper to a full 75%,” explains Jürgen Keck, who heads BASF’s global business with biodegradable plastics. Paper cups and packaging film: high-performance counts The experts who developed the new Ecovio FS focused on the properties that are required of these special applications. “In order to obtain effective paper coatings, a film made of the new Ecovio FS Paper has to be easy to process and exhibit good adhesion to the paper, even when applied in thin layers. Such coatings are used, for example, on paper cups or cardboard boxes,” explains Gabriel Skupin, who is in charge of technical product development for biodegradable plastics. Ecovio FS Shrink Film, in contrast, has a selected ratio of shrinkage to strength, so that its mechanical load capacity at a film thickness of merely 25 μm is greater than that of a conventional polyethylene film that is 50 μm thick. We want to become more specialized With this new product family, BASF’s experts for biodegradable plastics are further expanding their assortment. The company is aiming to become more specialized in this realm, so as to meet the requirements of very specific market segments. This is reflected in the nomenclature, which will comprise three elements. The first stands for the processing technology – in this case, F for ‚film‘. The second, S, stands for ‚special‘ and indicates that the new bio-based Ecoflex FS is present. The actual application itself forms the third element of the name such as, for instance, Paper or Shrink Film. “This consistent designation method, which will be implemented early next year together with the new products, illustrates the broad potential we anticipate for technically advanced biodegradable products in this market, which has become very diversified,” explains Andreas Künkel, head of BASF’s market development for new biodegradable plastic products. www.ecovio.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/09] Vol. 4 19

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