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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1303

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1303

Cover Story Toys and

Cover Story Toys and more… Markus Swoboda, founder and managing director of the company BioFactur GmbH (Datteln, Germany) produces small things from bioplastics for day to day life. However, the way to market his products was not always easy. More than ten years ago he had the idea of making products from bioplastics because he was convinced that petroleum would, sooner or later, no longer be available - or affordable as a resource for plastics. “One day we will ask ourselves, why we didn’t start to do this earlier,” Markus Swoboda said to bioplastics MAGAZINE. Fossil-based plastics, with all the additives and plasticizers, had given him cause for concern, and he initially looked into toys. However, “to replace a conventional plastic material by a renewably sourced one was a tough road to follow - with many drawbacks”. Ten years ago there were not so many different biobased plastics available, he explained. At the end of 2009 Swoboda finally founded BioFactur with some of his first marketable products. Today BioFactur produces sand-box toys and food contact articles such as jugs for juices, drinking cups, lunch boxes or salad servers, exclusively from a cellulose acetacte-based bioplastic with properties in some ways even better than those of tradtional plastics, as Markus Swoboda explained. About 10 tonnes of this material per year is being purchased from a German supplier. “The wood cellulose all comes from sustainably managed forests - 80% from Europe and the rest from Canada,” Markus Swoboda pointed out. For the manufacture of his products he relies on standard injection moulding machines. The processing parameters, such as pressures, temperatures and processing times, do however have to be adjusted according to the requirements of the resins. Also the moulds have to be designed slightly differently. “A lot of things we had to learn the hard way,” he said. The material is free of any kind of toxic substances such as plasticizers, as confirmed by TÜV Rheinland, an independent testing and certification body. “So no problem for parents to let their kids chew on the toys,” as Swoboda commented. The latest product from BioFactur, just introduced to the market a few days before printing this issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE, is a set of toy blocks. Like most of their other products BioFactur sells them through two large mail order businesses, Memo and Waschbär, both strongly committed to sustainable products. In addition all products are available via BioFactur’s own online-shop. The company is planning to launch about two or three new products each year – mostly toys or household items. Being asked what pioneers such as BioFactur expect from bioplastics resin suppliers and from politicians, Swoboda said that first of all he hopes for a decrease in raw material prices. “With raw material costs 30% above tradtional plastics it is not so easy”, he said. He sees his growth potential in a sustainable commercial market. Swoboda makes it clear: “The advantages of bioplastics must be communicated very strongly, and here too we need the policy makers.” MT www.biofactur.de 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8

Injection Moulding Pitcher with separate bamboo handle Well Water (Reeuwijk, The Netherlands) recently announced that the patented and stylish Well Jug pitcher with its crystal clear Ingeo bioplastic pitcher and removable bamboo handle is now being made available to hotels, restaurants, food service organizations, and distributors for direct-to-consumer sales in the U.S. The Well Jug has been sold in Europe for the past year and with every unit purchased Well Water provides 264 gallons (1,000 liters) of clean drinking water to a village in Africa or Asia. Well Water has been giving 25% of the gross income from its bottled water business to charities since 2003. Several years ago, when the Dutch government launched a campaign to promote the use of tap water in order to reduce packaging, Well Water launched what would become a two and a half year research and development project into the Well Jug. The idea was to promote sustainability in the hospitality and food services industry with a reusable and sustainable cold drinks pitcher, while expanding efforts in Africa and Asia to bring fresh water to rural villages. The company is still working out how the sales of the Well Jug in the U.S. will figure into its drinking water and other charitable efforts. The Well Jug consists of a durable crystal clear injection molded Ingeo PLA 1 liter (1.06 quart) pitcher. To achieve the Well Jug’s crystal clear appearance with no flow marks was a balancing act in injection molding dependent on finding the optimum thickness for the pitcher’s walls.The removable handle is made from solid bamboo, one of the world’s fastest growing grasses. The handle can also be used by hotels, restaurants, or foodservice organizations to hold table announcements cards. Well Jug pitchers and handles are ultra-light, stackable, and require minimal transport and storage space. These pitchers are suitable for water, beer, juices, and other cold drinks and are hand washable in warm water. “The uniqueness of the Well Jug comes from its striking design, its utilization of sustainable materials, and the contribution of clean water to villages in Africa and Asia,” said Michel Rijkaart, director of sales and a principal/founder of Well Water. “The Well Jug on any table, whether it’s in a hotel or at a catered event, generates greater awarness and conversation about sustainable innovations.” Well Jugs can be customized with an orgnaization’s name and can be purchased in various colors. Hospitality, foodservice organizations, and distributors for direct-to-consumer sales interested in learning more about the innovative Well Jug may contact Michel Rijkaart directly. www.welljug.co.uk www.wellwater.nl bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8 21

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