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News Production of Biodegradable Film Doubled Finnish packaging material producer Plastiroll Oy from Ylöjärvi believes that biodegradable materials will become increasingly common in the packaging industry. Therefore, Plastiroll has invested in a new bio production line that came on stream last autumn. The new line doubles the company’s production capacity and supports an increased range of products. Plastiroll has produced biodegradable applications since 1997 and the new investment required the construction of an extension to the existing film plant. About 1,400 square metres of new production space was constructed with the total value of the investment amounting to over four million euros. The new plant follows Plastiroll’s principle of energy efficiency; the heat generated in the production process is recovered and used to heat the whole building. Multilayer solution creates new opportunities The new products are based on a multilayer solution in which several biomaterials are combined. Kari Laukkanen, Plastiroll’s managing director, explains that different layers can be clear, opaque, black, coloured, slippery, sticky, matte, shiny, etc. By combining the right mixtures it is possible to create stronger products with a better tolerance of grease, water vapour and gases. Kari Laukkanen explains, “Before, we were only able to produce so-called mono films and our ability to influence their barrier properties was rather limited. Thanks to the new production technology, we are now able to provide our clients with more tailored solutions.” Laukkanen mentions completely clear biodegradable film as an example. The biodegradable nature of Plastiroll‘s packaging materials make them highly suitable for fresh foods such as bakery and salads. For the food industry, retail and farming Biodegradable materials are best suited to products with a short shelf life, such as bakery and vegetables. Piia Heikkinen, Plastiroll’s export manager, confirms that demand for new biodegradable materials has been keenest within the food and farming industries. “For example, we have had a new bread bag under development for years. With the old technology, we couldn’t always meet the high standards of the market. Today, however, the physical properties of our new ecological biomaterials are no different from traditional plastic films,” she says. Plastiroll is one of the leading producers of biodegradable films in Europe. In the Plastiroll product family, biodegradable packaging materials belong to the Rock series. Plastiroll also produces various other packaging materials. The Classic series contains traditional polyethylene coatings and laminates. The third series, called Jazz, consists of paper and cardboard based compostable structures. Plastiroll has two production plants, both located in Finland. Employing around 70 people, the company has a turnover of around 25 million euros. Novamont goes North America Novamont S.p.A, based in Novara, Italy, expands its presence in North America with a new company Novamont North America, Inc. headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut. Novamont is an international company based in Italy, with operations across Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Novamont has strongly contributed to the development of the composting industry in North America, including the formation of the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). “The North American composting market has grown significantly in the past decade, and is now ready to make a big step forward due to higher environmental sensitivity, and increased attention on the economics of waste diversion,” says Tony Gioffre, President of Novamont North America. Gioffre is the former President of BPI, and remains active as a BPI board member. Novamont considers North America to be a strategic area of development and will make significant investments to expand its presence at all levels. The company’s objective is to build an integrated system of agriculture, industry and environment, applying its innovative chemical technologies, fostering a model of truly Sustainable Development. This concept involves as a prospective a biorefinery integrated in the North American territory, and full support of Novamont’s network of partners and stakeholders. The formation of a legal American entity is a major step in Novamont’s strategic development plan in this area of the world, and constitutes a step forward for the composting industry in North America. MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6

News Chinese PHA gets EU Food Approval The biodegradable, compostable plastic, ECOMANN PHA, from was approved recently for use in contact with foodstuffs under Commission Directive 2002/72/EC (and its amendment 2007/19/EC). The EU seal of approval enables the Buckinghamshire (UK) based supplier to more actively pursue European food and drink manufacturers. Reshaping an Industry ‘Bioplastics – Reshaping an Industry‘, organized by Jim Lunt (Jim Lunt Associates LLC) and Yash Khanna (InnoPlast Solutions, Inc) attracted no less than 220 delegates and speakers from eleven countries (North America, Europe and Asia) to Las Vegas on Feb. 2 and 3. In the Caesars Palace Hotel, the conference was opened by a keynote speech of Ed Thomas, Materials design Director, Global Apparel at Nike sharing their point of view and activities in terms of sustainability with the audience. In the first session about the first generation of bioplastics different presentations informed about meeting the challenge for durable applications. This was followed by session two about the next generation – durable bioplastics. It was about the so-called drop-in biobased PE, PP, Polyamides, PTT, TPE etc. that are not biodegradable, but meant for durable applications. A session about brand owners and investors perspectives was opened by a speaker of Coca-Cola. The second day started with a session on biobased building blocks such as succinic acid, biobutanol or glucaric acid. The conference ended with presentations about labeling and regulatory issues. MT “The green light by the EU corroborates what we’ve already discussed with major brand owners but it was good to get official authorization from the SGS test house,” says Mike Hughes, general manager of The versatile polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is derived from GM-free, non-food maize starch grown in China and represents one of the best opportunities to date for large volume packagers to include in their products up to 100% sustainable content plus the potential to home compost. ECOMANN PHA drew massive interest from brand owners last fall at K2010. bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6

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