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News New sustainability

News New sustainability criteria for plant cultivation Bioplastics are now produced from crops grown in fields with clearly laid down standards of sustainability. This is backed by the guarantee of two new certification systems, namely ICC PLUS and the American Working Landscapes Certificate (Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, IATP). They promote the maintenance of criteria for bio-diversity such as laying down ‘wild life corridors’, not watering drought areas, strong control of the use of plant protection media and no genetic modification. Martina Fleckenstein, agrarian expert at the WWF, says, “Even when producing bioplastics it is important that sustainability criteria are upheld. This means that the raw plant materials must be grown under socially and ecologically acceptable conditions. This is even more important because in the future plant materials will be the only alternative to petroleum. Renewable energy for transport and electrical power can, alongside biomass, be directly captured from the sun, wind or water. This does not apply to solid materials. A sensible, sustainable use of agricultural land is therefore a basic prerequisite for this new technology. Products based on Ingeo PLA from Nature Works, the world’s biggest bioplastics producer, is the first to be certified by ISCC PLUS and Working Landscapes. Ingeo consists of 100 percent plant material and is currently obtained from maize grown in the USA. “The highest possible level of sustainability is the prerequisite that will allow us to promote the highest ecological advantages for our new polymers – namely a reduction in climate effects, and a saving of fossil resources such as petroleum. The new certification is an important step in this direction”, says Mark Vergauwen, Commercial Director Europe at NatureWorks. ISCC PLUS: Sustainable plant cultivation from a multi-stakeholder point of view ISCC PLUS is a new certification system for use in technical/chemical fields, such as bioplastics, but also for use in the sustainable production of foodstuffs and animal feeds, and in bioenergy such as solid biomass. ISCC PLUS is based on the ISCC certification system that has been successfully used for more than two years in the bio-fuels business with over 1,200 system users worldwide. It is also recognised by the EU Commission. “ISCC is a multi-stakeholder certification system and ensures that biomasses are produced along ecological, economical and socially sustainable lines and with a traceability system all along the value chain”, says Andreas Feige from ISCC System GmbH. ISCC certified products may not be obtained from biodiverse areas, carbon-rich ground or peat moors. Areas of rich natural habitat are also excluded. The biomass must be produced in an environmentally-friendly way that includes protection of the terrain, ground water and air, as well as the use of good agrarian practices. The observance of human rights, labor and land use rights must be guaranteed. Certification is carried out by independent, accredited certification offices that cooperate with the ISCC. MT New R&D and production Centre End of March Chinese company Wuhan Huali Environmental Technology Co. Ltd. celebrated the groundbreaking of their new Ecoplast Technologies Bioplastic R&D and production base in the Wuhan Jiangxia Happiness Industrial Park. Zhangxian Bing, chairman of Ecoplast Technologies, said in his official speech: “The new production base covers an area of ~220,000 m² (54 acres) with a total construction area of 28,000 m².” PSM bioplastics are made from renewable, natural materials, such as corn, potato, tapioca or wheat starch, bamboo cellulose and sugar cane. Through modification and plasticization, these raw materials are turned into versatile materials with a significant smaller carbon footprint than traditional plastics. The new R&D and production base will be built with the highest degree of automation and technology to become the largest industrial park of bioplastic materials in China. After completion of the new base, Ecoplast Technologies will reach an annual output of 100,000 tonnes of bioplastic resins and products. The project started construction in March 2012, with a two-year construction period split into two phases. The first phase of 30,000 tons PSM bioplastic production line will be put into operation by the end of November 2012. 8 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/12] Vol. 7

News 2nd PLA World Congress - Successful meeting in Munich The 2nd PLA World Congress organized by bioplastics MAGAZINE (May 15th and 16th in Munich, Germany) attracted more than experts and interested delegates from 23 countries. Delegates from the packaging and other industries, universities, research institutes and similar organisations, as well as dedicated PLA experts, came from all over Europe and North America, and from countries as far away as New Zealand, Brazil, Korea, Thailand Japan and China. The Congress was opened with a keynote speech of Dr. Harald Kaeb (narocon), a renowned expert in the field of bioplastics. In the first two sessions the audience was informed about the production process and production capacities of PLA from speakers from the companies Uhde Inventa-Fischer, Purac, Sulzer, NatureWorks and Shenzhen Esun from China. A presentation about a Meta LCA for PLA rounded off this first session and showed the overall benefits of PLA. FKuR, the Wageningen University and Research Centre, together with Sukano and Polyone, presented possibilities to enhance the properties of PLA and were followed by talks from Synbra about GMO free PLA and Toray’s modified PLA materials. Ramani Narayan closed the first day with his insights in the positioning and branding of PLA products from a carbon footprint and end-of-life point of view. A ‘Bavarian Night’ in Munich‘s famous beer house ‘Unions-Bräu’ offered a significantly different opportunity for intensive networking and establishing personal contacts. The second day started with a series of talks about PLA film and film applications (Tahgleef Industries, Huhtamaki Films, Brückner) followed by presentations about barrier issues (Fraunhofer IAP) and NaKu’s experience in processing PLA. Proganic’s presentation started slightly delayed and the eagerly awaited presentation of SPC Biotech about bio conversion of agriwaste to polylactic acid unfortunately had to be cancelled at the last minute. bioplastics MAGAZINE will publish a comprehensive article about this topic in the next issue. The last session covered the topic of end-of-life, especially the different recycling possibilities and challenges. Speakers from Futerro, Erema, Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung and Re|PLA-Cycle shared their experience. The day ended with a panel discussion about “Bioplastics and the Bio-based Economy: the State of Play of Policy in Europe”. Dr. John Williams, Head of Materials for Energy and Industry at the UK’s NNFCC, and David Webber, Senior Partner at PA Europe in Brussels conducted this discussion. As the conference was considered by many – delegates, speakers, and the organisers – as a great success, the 3rd PLA World Congress will definitely be scheduled. MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/12] Vol. 7 9

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