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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1303

Portrait 10 years FKuR

Portrait 10 years FKuR The bioplastics compounding company FKuR from Willich, Germany, celebrates its 10 th anniversary this June. bioplastics MAGAZINE spoke with co-founder and CEO Edmund Dolfen. bM: Edmund – first of all happy birthday for the 10th anniversary of your company. Could you briefly tell us about the origins of FKuR? Dolfen: The roots were in our care for the environment, especially in recycling. FKuR used to be an abbreviation for Forschungsinstitut Kunststoff und Recycling established in 1992. When founding the FKuR Kunststoff GmbH in 2003 we were convinced that nature itself is the best recycler. That was the basis for the development of biodegradable plastics. bM: And today? Dolfen: Biodegradable and compostable plastics are still our main markets including applications where the natural degradation in nature is included in products such as mulch films. In these compounds we try to include as much biobased material as possible. So, our second biggest field of activity are materials made from renewable resources. The reasons are obvious: fossil resources are finite and become more and more expensive - and they burden the climate with additional CO 2 . We compound and distribute, for example, Green PE by Braskem made from sugar cane which is grown in freely available areas in the South of Brazil and does not affect the deforestation of the amazon rainforest. bM: What is your secret of success? Dolfen: We are technically inventive and we have strong development partners such as Fraunhofer UMSICHT. We have a huge number of external development agreements which result in a broad portfolio of products, such as for film blowing, extrusion, injection moulding and thermoforming. bM: In recent years the bioplastics sector has grown significantly and more and more players appear on the scene. What differentiates FKuR from other suppliers? Dolfen: One advantage is our company philosophy. We constantly try to perfect our consulting and development service, from the first idea to a marketable product. There are so many different new resins available. We develop blends with optimized processability and properties. bM: Which are the most pleasant experiences in your company history? Dolfen: I’d say in the first instance the people around us, i.e. our shareholders who all are active in the company, the employees, 40 by now, who all participate in our success, and most importantly the partners who accompany us, i.e. the suppliers, customers and many development partners. This pleasant surrounding allows us to grow smoothly and efficiently. bM: What ideas are behind the latest agreements you have made? Dolfen: We are seeking renewable solutions for all important applications. The name FKuR represents the task: When you are looking for a biobased solution, FKuR offers a suitable resin, either our own compounds or products that we distribute. Our driver is supporting the customer with his new products and markets. bM: What are your future targets? Dolfen: Beside continuing expansion with biodegradable products the biggest challenge for the future is to realize as many renewably sourced materials as possible. We not only owe this to our suffering environment but also to future generations. And new biobased materials are standing by. bM: For example? Dolfen: We will announce them in due course. The most interesting candidates are biobased PET and biobased PA. bM: How do you manage these sales challenges? Dolfen: We have also started to focus on direct customer sales, which is a real challenge for our engineers. So, we are integrating more native speakers, who can cope with the multiple European mentalities. bM: May I ask a personal question? Dolfen: Please go ahead! bM: You are now 72 years old. How long will this go on? Are you considering retirement? Dolfen: I was lucky to gather a lot of entrepreneurial knowledge and experience during my career. I’d like to pass them on and we are developing them further within our young team. The management in FKuR is well structured – so I could retire from daily management and concentrate on strategic moves and co-operations. bM: Is there a world other than FKuR? Dolfen: It’s a question of balance and continuity. I enjoy the job and the responsibility. So, it becomes a question of what is essential for you during your unique visit on this earth and what gives you the perception of happiness. For the sake of the balance I am preparing for more time for other essentials in life, for instance hobbies like arts and painting. I like to paint portraits in oils, since I love people and faces. Each one represents an individual history and exciting character which are reflected in his face. bM: Thank you very much. 56 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8

Opinion Biobased: Lose the hyphen by Ron Buckhalt U.S. Department for Agriculture (USDA) Look at this issue of bioplastics Magazine and you will see nearly all things bio are not hyphenated. They are one single word, biobased, biodegradable, bioplastics, biopolymer, biorefineries, and biomass. Even the name of the publication, bioplastics Magazine, is not hyphenated. Look at any U.S. Federal government document and you will see most things bio, including biobased, are not hyphenated. This was not always the case. Many of these words were hyphenated when first used because they were new in use. So while much progress has been made, we continue to see biobased spelled with and without a hyphen. As one who was working with biobased industrial products in the early 1980’s directing marketing and communications campaigns I had to constantly fight my computer which kept correcting to bio-based. It was frustrating until I added to the term biobased to my computer’s accepted dictionary. I have even added biobased some years ago to the memory of the new machine on which I am now working to make sure it is accepted. Of course, the mid-80’s was also the same time automatic spell check would change biobased to beefalo. I actually saw one published document in the 80’s which the author did not double check, but left it to spell check to take care of, that had beefalo throughout. Go figure. At that point I promised myself that if I did nothing else in life I would do what I could to make sure biobased became the accepted spelling. So when we worked on ”Greening the Government” Federal executive orders in the 80’s and legislation creating our BioPreferred program in 2001-2002, we sought to standardize the term to biobased in all Federal government documents. Biobased is the way it is spelled in the 2002 and 2008 U.S. Farm Bills that first created our BioPreferred program and then amended it. Our intent was to make biobased a noun by usage, not just an adjective always modifying product. New words are created everyday and the dictionaries eventually catch up. Words and terms like bucket list, cloud computing, energy drink, man cave, and audio dub were recently added. They have been around for a while. In the case of biobased that has not yet happened. Biobased is not in Webster, not even bio-based. Yet Wikipedia has it listed as biobased. The name of our program, BioPreferred, was not in the Farm Bill legislation. It is a made-up word for marketing purposes to signify the Federal purchasing preference for products made from bio feed stocks as well as the many advantages to consumers and the environment. You won’t find BioPreferred in a “proper” dictionary. Even Wikipedia just points to the BioPreferred web site and when you do a computer search for BioPreferred our program name pops up. We hold a patent on the term by the way. In the large scheme of things whether we hyphenate biobased or not is probably no big deal. But there are those of us who believe biobased is a movement, not an adjective, and that is why we have dedicated most of our working career to advancing the cause and we want to spell it biobased and we want to see it in Webster. bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/13] Vol. 8 57

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