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News Photo: Lausitzring/BASF Waste from the race Photo: EuroSpeedway Verwaltungs GmbH / Tino Hanf BASF’s biodegradable plastic Ecovio ® FS Paper took center stage in a pilot project involving disposable and biodegradable tableware during the ADAC Masters Weekend motorsport event (August 24 to 26) at the German race track Lausitzring. During the weekend, the Polster Catering company (Lichtenstein, Germany) only used cardboard trays and paper plates that were compostable. Cups will follow suit next season. The disposable tableware, manufactured by Hosti (Pfedelbach, Germany), is made of paper that is coated with a thin layer of Ecovio FS Paper, a blend of partially biobased PBAT Ecoflex® FS and PLA. This creates disposable tableware made from more than 90% organic raw materials, the plastic coating consisting of more than 50% renewable raw materials, but 100% compostable. The tableware with this special plastic coating does not soak through and does not have to be incinerated – as is usually the case – after being used. Instead, it can be processed along with the organic waste in order to yield valuable compost. This high-quality soil is subsequently used again at the Lausitzring in order to upgrade the soil that has been stressed by the open-cast mining in that area. The Lausitzring is the first large-scale event location in Europe to introduce such a closed loop system, wich is part of the ‘Green Lausitzring’. This project is supporting and testing environmentally friendly technologies. Using – collecting – composting The caterers collected the disposable tableware (charged with a € 1.00 deposit per item), together with the food residues, in likewise compostable trash bags and transported them to a nearby composting plant. The operators of the composting plant have set aside a dedicated area for composting the organic waste from the Lausitzring, where the degradation behavior can be precisely monitored and controlled. Consequently, this pilot project serves not only to underscore an active commitment to saving resources in the realm of motorsports but also to study the degradation behavior of large quantities of trays and plates that have been coated with Ecovio FS Paper. This study is being conducted by the Department of Waste Management and Material Flow of the University of Rostock in Germany. Pilot project: compostable and disposable tableware at large-scale events Numerous pilot projects have already enabled BASF to demonstrate that organic waste bags made of Ecovio FS degrade within a short period of time in industrial composting plants. Ecovio is a plastic that meets the strict statutory stipulations of European standard EN 13432 for the biodegradability and compostability of packaging. The pilot experiment at the Lausitzring is the first of its kind to test how disposable tableware with an Ecovio FS Paper coating can be composted in large quantities. Together with its cooperation partners, BASF intends to expand this closed-loop concept for biodegradable disposable tableware along the entire value-added chain, so that it can be deployed at large-scale events in stadiums or at trade fairs, or else in (fast-food) restaurants, office complexes, hospitals or leisure & sports centers. MT 6 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/12] Vol. 7

News Bioplastics from Starbucks waste Starbucks Corporation, coffee giant headquartedered in Seattle, Washington, USA is trying to improve ways to handle their waste streams. One important step is the cooperation with biorefinery scientists to transform food waste from their stores into succinic acid, a key ingredient for making plastics and other useful products. This food waste could for example be the huge amount of stale bakery goods worldwide not only from Starbucks that might otherwise be wasted. A research team led by Carol S. K. Lin, Ph.D reported about a project launched in cooperation with Starbucks that is concerned with sustainability and seeking a use for this kind of food waste, at the 244 th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (19-23 August 2012, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.). The idea took shape during a meeting last summer between representatives of the nonprofit organization called The Climate Group and Lin at her laboratory at the City University of Hong Kong. The Climate Group asked her about applying her special transformative technology to the wastes of one of its members — Starbucks Hong Kong. To help jump-start the research, Starbucks Hong Kong donated a portion of the proceeds from each purchase of its ‘Care for Our Planet Cookies’ gift set. “We are developing a new kind of food biorefinery, and this concept could become very important in the future, as the world strives for greater sustainability,” Lin explained. “Using corn and other food crops for bio-based fuels and other products may not be sustainable in the long-run. Using waste food as the raw material in a biorefinery certainly would be an attractive alternative.” (Photos below: Starbucks) Lin described the food biorefinery process, which involves blending the baked goods with a mixture of fungi that excrete enzymes to break down carbohydrates in the food into simple sugars. The blend then goes into a fermenter, a vat where bacteria convert the sugars into succinic acid that can be used as one ingredient for the production of a number of bioplastics. The method isn’t just for Starbucks and of course not limited to bakery waste — Lin has also successfully transformed food wastes from her university’s cafeteria and other mixed food wastes into useful substances with the technology. Lin said that the process could become commercially viable on a much larger scale with additional funding from investors. “In the meantime, our next step is to use funding we have from the Innovation and Technology Commission from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to scale up the process,” she said. “Also, other funding has been applied to test this idea in a pilot-scale plant in Germany.” The scientists acknowledged support from the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITS/323/11) in Hong Kong, as well as a grant from the City University of Hong Kong (Project No. 7200248). MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/12] Vol. 7 7

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