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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1102

Catering Products

Catering Products Carousing for our Climate By Ute Breidbach Product Manager Central Europe Huhtamaki Alf, Germany This was a motto of the traditional ‘Rose Monday Parade’ in Cologne, Germany a carnival parade which attracts more than a million people every year. The organisers of the Cologne carnivals parties and parades contributed not only to the safety of these events, but also to active climate protection by using a million (beer) tumblers made from Ingeo PLA. These BioWare tumblers took to the stage when safety reasons led to the banning of glasses and bottles from the party premises in the city centre. They are made from 100 % renewable sources and can boast of a superior carbon footprint compared with conventional plastic cups. Especially at big events and in stadiums and arenas, safety comes first: no event organiser wishes to take the risk of incised wounds through shards. Heavy drinking vessels or bottles can easily be turned into projectiles when the mood rises. This prompted the authorities of Cologne to ban bottles and glasses from the city centre between ‘Weiberfastnacht’ (women’s carnival day) on 3 rd March until the end of the carnival season on 8 th March. The Cologne Carnival Committee and the city authorities decided to not only to embrace the carnival revellers, but to do the environment justice, too, by using tumblers made from Ingeo PLA at the carnival parades. The organisers had already seen excellent results with these cups last year when they were used in the field for the first time. Says Markus Ritterbach, President of the ‘Committee Cologne Carnival’, an incorporated society: “We used bio plastic cups at the Cologne carnival in 2010 and they stood the test. These cups are not only safe to use and hygienic, they also help protect the environment“. The production of the raw material for BioWare- tumblers generates far less greenhouse gases than the production of conventional plastics. Compared to amorphous PET for example, PLA generates 75 % less GHG emissions, and uses 56 % less non-renewable energy. Huhtamaki Germany, the plastic processor, uses locally sourced water power from the river Moselle for the production of the final BioWare-tumbler, which can easily compete with conventional PET cups in every respect: shape, looks and function. It is hygienic, safe and a good flavour and aroma barrier. A major aspect today is the search for alternatives to products based on mineral oil: the scarcer mineral oil becomes, the more crucial it becomes to use it diligently and with caution. Developing alternatives wherever possible, is the mission today. Andreas Hees, Sales Manager at Huhtamaki comments: ”Ingeo PLA clearly is the raw material of the future for Huhtamaki. Increasingly excessive deflections in fossil fuel based plastics result in an increasingly unpredictable business for participants in the market. Fossil deposits are finite. Even if it is possible to tap a few more oil fields: time and effort for their exploitation are mounting up. Nevertheless, there is and there will be considerable demand for practical and hygienic service packaging. We are well prepared for this demand, thanks to our Bioware-Range.“ Production and usage of products are one side of the coin – disposal is the other. CO 2 -reduced carnival When the beer is downed, the tumbler is not supposed to be simply cast aside, in spite of its bio label: “We would like to see that all the cups are being disposed of into the special bins we set up during Carnival” Markus Ritterbach explained in the run-up to the parades. In 2010 the committee and Huhtamaki initiated a pilot project for the chemical recycling (or feedstock recycling back to lactic acid) of the cups, in order to gain food grade PLA from the process. Tumblers were supposed to be collected in mono-fraction bins. However, the street carnival atmosphere proved stronger: mono-fraction collection cannot be guaranteed under these extreme conditions. 18 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/11] Vol. 6

Catering Products A different direction was taken in 2011: All litter from carnival parties and parades was collected by the public cleansing service and fed to thermal utilisation: “BioWaretumblers made from PLA only release the amount of CO 2 accumulated from the atmosphere by the plants used for its production“ reminds Andreas Hees. The carbon footprint was in the focus of the event organisers in other aspects, too: “Each vendor was only supplied once a day during the carnival season, as less trips per delivery mean lower CO 2 -emissions“ Markus Ritterbach emphasises. Logistics were handled by a central wholesaler who supplied all the shops environmentally sound. Andreas Hees summarises: “Our BioWare-tumblers contributed to another relaxed and merry Carnival season in 2011 with parades in untroubled party mood. Considering that you come across our tumblers in many stadiums and arenas and that they were used for e.g. the catering at the World Climate Conference in Copenhagen 2009, I can ascertain that our spadework begun in 2004 is now bearing fruit: The message catches on with consumers.“ (Foto J. Badura, Köln Festkomitee Kölner Karneval) www.huhtamaki.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/11] Vol. 6 19

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