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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1103

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1103

Personality bM: Dear Mr.

Personality bM: Dear Mr. Sweetman, when and where were you born? AS: I was born in Hampton, South- West London in the UK in 1965. bM: Where do you live today and since when? AS: Since 1997 I live up in Cumbria in the Lake District in the north of the UK. bM: What is your education? AS: My background – strangely, given that I work in packaging – is modern languages, so I have a degree in French and Spanish. But then I moved into packaging, so I have a diploma in Packaging Technology as well. bM: What is your professional function today? AS: I have a rather long job title, but I’m Business Development and Sustainability Manager at Innovia Films, so I look to develop our relationships with brand owners and also heading up our work on sustainability aspects. In addition I’m the Chairman of European Bioplastics. bM: How did you ‘come to’ bioplastics? Andy Sweetman AS: Completely by Accident. First of all I came into the packaging industry by accident, then over time I came to work on products that had renewability characteristics and that had the potential to be compostable. bM: What do you consider more important: ‘biobased’ or ‘biodegradable’? AS: (laughs) Brilliant question. I think we are not there today, but I’m sure we’ll come to the situation where the applications will decide which is more important. I think biobased content is hugely important from a sustainability point of view going forward. And I think in the right applications biodegradability, compostability and anaerobic digestion compatibility will be extremely important. But the application will decide. bM: So where does the compostability bring added value …? AS: Obviously, from the beginning we had a lot of mulch films, biobags for organic waste etc.. My own particular area is flexible packaging … Now by the time we have recycled all materials that are practical to recycle, food waste and flexible packaging are the only things left in our residual waste bin. So when the packaging waste is organically compatible to the food waste, you have all sorts of opportunities. So I see flexibles as a very interesting area in this regard. bM: What is your biggest achievement (in terms of bioplastics) so far? AS: I think it’s what we are seeing here at the interpack stand (of European Bioplastics) … We have packs that, to all intents and purposes, look identical to conventional packaging and yet they are bioderived and compostable. So – the first interpack I attended in ‘bio’ (2005) we were showing concepts. Last interpack (2008) we showed the beginning of packages, but they weren’t very developed. Today we are talking really high specification developed bioplastics materials. And I like to think that we were part of making that happen. bM: What are your biggest challenges for the future? AS: In our entire industry we need to improve our communication around the issue of sustainable sourcing. We all as an industry need to address this more effectively, more clearly, more simply. So that people don’t fall into the trap of this very simplistic “food versus biomaterials versus biofuels” argument. We need to be able to simply, concisely and understandably get our message across as to the benefits. bM: What is your family status? AS: I’m married to Fiona and we have three children. bM: What is your favourite movie? AS: Oh, good question, it’s a movie called ‘Betty Blue’ – actually it’s a French movie that was very popular when I was studying languages. The original title is ‘37.2° le Matin’. A quick warning though: It’ll take you through every possible emotion! bM: What is your favourite book? AS: I don’t really have one, but I must admit that I enjoyed reading ‘The Da Vinci Code’. bM: What is your favourite (or your next) vacation location? AS: I’m ready for the beach. It’s been a long year so far, with all the preparations for interpack. A beach on a far away island, please. bM: What do you eat for breakfast on a Sunday? AS: This is going to sound as if I were a sandal wearing hippie, but it’s Granola, kind of a crunchy cereal… bM: What is your ‘slogan’? AS: I like the image of a jigsaw puzzle. Each of us is a piece. If we want bioplastics to become something more mainstream, rather than just a nice concept, then we all have a part to play, we all bring a part of a jigsaw puzzle. It’s not a slogan, it’s an image. bM: Thank you very much. MT 50 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/11] Vol. 6

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