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Issue 01/2018

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1801

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News daily upated news at www.bioplasticsmagazine.com OK Biodegradable SOIL for Organix mulch film Organix Solutions, an organics recovery and municipal solid waste company based in Bloomington, Minnesota, USA, received its OK biodegradable SOIL Certification from Vinçotte International (Now TÜV Austria, see below) on its product line of black soil biodegradable agricultural mulch film called Organix A.G. Film. This verification distinguishes Organix A.G. Film from its competitors and unverified claims of biodegradability of similar products. The OK biodegradable SOIL label verifies that a product will completely biodegrade in the soil without adversely affecting the environment under ISO 17556, ASTM D5988 or ISO 11266. Soil biodegradability offers huge benefits for agricultural mulch films as they can be tilled in to the soil after harvest. Microbes in the soil will break down the film into CO 2 , biomass and water. The US Composting Council society advocates for healthy soil through practices like the application of high quality compost and sustainable practices that benefit farmers. “We also recognize Vinçotte’s OK biodegradable SOIL is a standard that proves materials will biodegrade in soil without negatively impacting the ability of the soil to grow plants,” said The U.S. Composting Council’s Executive Director Frank Franciosi. “This certification label offers a significant benefit to the agricultural and horticultural market.” “The OK biodegradable SOIL Certification is an exciting achievement for us because it verifies our biopolymer agricultural mulch films will safely and naturally biodegrade in soil while providing all the performance characteristics growers need in a mulch film for their crops,” said Organix Solutions’ Managing Director Stuart MacDonald. “When we consider commercializing a product, our primary consideration is its end-of-life destination, whether it is industrial composting or in a farmers’ field.” Organix Solutions’ agricultural mulch films are made with ecovio ® , a compostable biopolymer by BASF for performance materials that completely biodegrade in a commercially reasonable period. MT www.organixsolutions.com Vinçotte bioplastics certification now part of TÜV AUSTRIA Group As of 1 December 2017, TÜV AUSTRIA Group (Vienna, Austria) is taking over the OK compost label from the independent Belgian testing institute Vinçotte (Vilvoorde, Belgium) and integrates these activities into TÜV AUSTRIA Belgium. Plans are underway to expand the product certification service, which labels bio-based, biodegradable and compostable products. "The product certification service OK compost ideally complements TÜV AUSTRIA Group's portfolio, especially in times when reducing the volume of plastic products has become a global trend. Rob Bekkers, executive director of Life, Training & Certification at TÜV AUSTRIA Group, explained the OK compost take-over, saying, "We're going to develop the label further in the near future and want to offer this service worldwide soon, thus contributing once again in matters of environmental protection issues". In existence since 1995, OK compost identifies products either made of biobased materials or which are biodegradable or compostable. With its broad product certification portfolio, OK compost is the clear number one in Europe and, together with its network of partners outside Europe, it operates in more than 40 countries. This certification can be applied to a wide variety of product groups, including plastic bags, films and various packaging materials, such as foodstuffs. MT www.tuv.at Rob Bekkers Executive Director of Life, Training & Certification at TÜV AUSTRIA Group 6 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13

News EUBP welcomes Plastics Strategy in Europe The European Strategy for Plastics, published on Jan 16, 2018 by the European Commission, sets clear goals to curb plastic waste, increase resource efficiency, and to create value and job growth in Europe, but falls short on presenting a comprehensive approach by limiting the focus of the strategy on mechanical recycling. Concrete steps towards reducing the dependency on fossil feedstock by linking the circular economy with the bioeconomy and supporting innovative biobased plastics solutions have been further postponed. Moreover, the contributions of biodegradable plastics to a circular economy are recognised but concrete measures are still missing. “Plastics made from renewable raw materials are a sustainable alternative for many plastic products”, says François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics (EUBP), the association of the bioplastics industry in Europe, and adds: “For some applications, recycled plastics are not always suitable due to lower quality or for safety reasons. While the increase of recycled content in plastics is important to reduce virgin fossil feedstock, alternative sustainable feedstocks such as biobased feedstocks need to be encouraged as well in order to defossilise the plastics economy.” Replacing a significant proportion of the conventional fossil feedstock by plant-based alternatives would reduce greenhouse emissions and help to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. At the same time, the mobilisation of EU-grown biomass for the production of biobased plastics would provide impulses for jobs and growth in the bioeconomy sector and the opportunity to EU farmers to valorise side streams and by-products and to tap additional revenue streams. EUBP welcomes the importance the Commission has given to biodegradable and compostable plastics and their role in separate collection systems for organic waste in order to improve clean waste streams and recycling quality. The benefits and circular use of biodegradable plastics have to be foremost considered in this context of organic recycling. EUBP looks forward to collaborating with the Commission on identifying applications and measures to stimulate innovation and drive market development in this field. “In addition to organic recycling, biodegradable plastics have the potential to offer benefits with respect to reducing the impact of some applications on the marine environment. In a next step, appropriate materials, applications, standards, and environmental claims and communication have to be specified together with the Commission and other relevant stakeholders in upcoming initiatives as outlined in the strategy”, says de Bie. “We also appreciate the commitment of the Commission to make a clear distinction between biodegradable plastics and so-called ‘oxo-degradable’ plastics that falsely claim to biodegrade. We therefore strongly welcome the decision of the Commission to restrict the use of oxo-plastics in the EU”, says de Bie. “In this context, we will also work with the Commission on clearer and unambiguous communication and environmental claims and to increase efforts for better consumer information on the correct disposal of the different types of bioplastics.” EUBP is looking forward to closely working together with the EU institutions and all relevant stakeholders in the upcoming discussions following the EU Plastics Strategy in order to ensure that the initial acknowledgements of alternative biobased feedstocks and of biodegradable plastics will be further developed throughout the actions outline in the annex of the strategy. MT www.european-bioplastics.org New MEG patent application The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published in early December 2017 a new patent application (U.S. 62/345,399) from the Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) adding to a previously issued U.S. patent on a proprietary production method using corn in the industrial manufacturing of monoethylene glycol (MEG). MEG is an industrial chemical used in the manufacture of among other things, plastic resins, such as PET or PEF. Today, MEG makes up about 30 % of PET bottles and fibers. The patent covers an improvement in the process conditions to increase efficiency from approximately 60 % to 85 % yield. “Production efficiencies that drive yield while reducing cost drive success - this holds true in manufacturing as well as in farming,” said Pete Brecht, a farmer from Central City who chairs Iowa Corn’s Research and Business Development Committee. “Patenting research that improves production efficiencies of corn-based bio-MEG helps us eliminate the need for petroleum-based ethylene derivatives. This creates more environmentally friendly consumer bioplastic products and increases demand for Iowa corn farmers.” The current way bio-MEG is made is through a conversion of sugarcane ethanol, which is sourced e.g. from Brazil, to ethylene, but still the majority of MEG comes from fossil fuels. ICPB’s patented process can eliminate the added costs of bio-MEG by going from corn sugar to MEG in one step. Most MEG currently goes into making polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a plastic used for beverage bottles, polyester textiles, and films, but MEG can also be used as anti-freeze, coolants, aircraft deicers and industrial solvents. Plastic companies are currently making limited quantities of bottles utilizing biobased MEG made from sugarcane-based ethanol imported from South America. In 2016, 28 million tonnes of MEG were sold. The market continues to grow at the rate of about 4 % a year and that 4 % equates to about 94 million bushels (2.4 million tonnes) of corn. MT www.iowacorn.org bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/18] Vol. 13 7

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