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Issue 04/2017

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News daily upated news

News daily upated news at European Bioplastics elected new board European Bioplastics (EUBP), the association representing the interests of the bioplastics industry in Europe, has elected a new Board on 21 June 2017 to serve a two-year term. In a clear vote of confidence, the General Assembly of EUBP affirmed the strategic direction set by the previous Board and re-elected François de Bie (Total Corbion PLA) as Chairman of the Board for a third term. Mariagiovanna Vetere (NatureWorks) and Henri Colens (Braskem) have been designated as Vice Chairpersons. Starting off his third term as Chairman of European Bioplastics, François de Bie says: “This is an important time for our industry as the European Union has confirmed its commitment to the transition from a linear to a circular economy in Europe in which bioplastics will play an essential role. Bioplastics are a major driver for the continued change in the plastics industry towards an innovative, sustainable, and resource-efficient economy. Over the past years, European Bioplastics has positioned itself as an important and trusted player in the advancement of the bioplastics industry across Europe. I am honoured to assume this position for another term and look forward to working closely with the entire Board as well as our management team.” Michael von Ketteler (BASF SE), Peter Brunk (BIOTEC), and Stefano Facco (Novamont) have also been re-elected as Members of the Board. Erwin Lepoudre (Kaneka) was elected as new Member of the Board. Peter Brunk will serve as treasurer. “I would like to express my gratitude to all the members of the previous and new Board for their considerable contributions to our association over the past two years”, says de Bie and adds: “The vote of confidence is a reaffirmation of our strategic decisions taken over the past years and a clear mandate to continue in this direction in our pursuit to push for a politically and economically favourable landscape in Europe for the bioplastics industry to strive in.” MT The new Board of European Bioplastics (from left to right): Erwin Lepoudre (Kaneka), Henri Colens (Braskem), Stefano Facco (Novamont), Mariagiovanna Vetere (NatureWorks), Michael von Ketteler (BASF), Peter Brunk (BiotecOTEC), and François de Bie (Total Corbion PLA). Photo: European Bioplastics New book The new book “Bio-based Plastics for Food Packaging Applications”, published by Smithers-Pira discusses the development of bio-based plastics and associated nanocomposites in order to achieve targeted structural morphologies, and physical and chemical properties for use in food-packaging applications. In line with bio-based and/or biodegradable plastic matrices, the current status of the development of multifaceted bionanofillers is also explored in detail. This book begins by addressing the past, present and future prospects of bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers in specific food-packaging applications, and the importance and advantages of such packaging over fossil polymer-based packaging materials. Furthermore, this book also examines the current commercial overview of bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers and nanocomposites, and the structure–property relationship required for various advanced applications. Individual chapters detail bio-based polymers, bio-derived and microbial-derived plastics, which include exclusive investigations on the most promising polymers, such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), and their bionanocomposites, for food-packaging applications. Detailed discussions highlight the various properties of polymers for food-packaging applications including bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers and nanocomposites. The processing of blends using bio-based and/or biodegradable polymers and non-degradable polymers for food-packaging applications are also featured. In addition, extensive discussions include different edible biopolymer-based coatings on food items which can act as effective carriers for improving the shelf life of food. Moreover, various end-of-life solutions of plastics such as recycling, reuse, composting and so on, for the safe disposal of plastic waste are reviewed. Finally, this book discusses migration studies, and safety legislation and regulations of such packages in contact with food, which are currently being performed by various organisations across the world. Throughout the book, detailed case studies are included on sustainable polymers, and associated nanocomposites, along with different perspectives on their industrial applications, and critical challenges and opportunities for developing biopolymer nanocomposites for foodpackaging applications. MT this book is available via the bioplastics MAGAZINE bookstore at 6 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/17] Vol. 12

News NatureWorks creates new division NatureWorks (Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA) has formed a Performance Chemicals Division to supply lactides, polyols, binder resins, and chemical intermediates to companies that manufacture innovative C.A.S.E. (coatings, adhesives, sealants, and elastomers), toners, and fine chemicals. “The NatureWorks Performance Chemicals Division delivers renewably sourced chemical intermediates with tailored functionality at competitive prices that help customers move through the R&D process faster with minimal supply chain risk,” said Richard Weber, Performance Chemicals Division General Manager. “This new business focuses on collaborative innovation with our customers across R&D, product development and operations – a far different approach than found today with most global suppliers of functional intermediates.” Vercet is a new tunable platform of lactide-based chemistries from the NatureWorks Performance Chemicals Division. The customizable properties of Vercet polyols provide excellent hardness, solvent resistance, and low color in polyurethanes. As components in polyester resins, Vercet lactides can be used to create low volatile organic compound (VOC), solvent-borne alkyd resins for wood, and metal coatings that have excellent adhesion and impact resistance. Solvent-borne coatings and hotmelt adhesives utilizing Vercet intermediate resins offer a tunable work life, more end-of-life options, excellent adhesion, as well as low dispensing temperatures for food packaging, paper, fiber board, and wood applications. Vercet lactide-based products will have direct and indirect food contact approval as well as inherent health and environmental safety advantages when compared to traditional chemical building blocks. Since NatureWorks uses biobased feedstocks to produce its lactide monomer, the company does not have the price volatility and supply chain pinch points of traditional coating and adhesive components. This helps procurement, finance, and manufacturing personnel at Vercet customer locations better manage product cost. MT Affordable biobased food packaging The cost of biobased plastics is a factor currently inhibiting the use of bioplastics in injection moulded food packaging applications. Price-competitive food packaging based on biobased plastics, however, may now be on the way. Although food producers are interested in biobased plastic packaging, injection moulded salad, butter or tomato containers are not available on the market on a large scale. “The interest in biobased packaging decreases dramatically when people calculate what the switch to these materials would cost,” says Gerald Schennink, senior polymer scientist at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research. Niels L’Abée, director of SFA Packaging, agrees. “From clients we see no explicit willingness to pay extra, but at the same time everyone feels that there should be more environmentally friendly packaging available. This trend is even more evident among consumers.” L’Abée and Wageningen Food & Biobased Research therefore embarked on a quest to determine whether commercially available biobased plastics could be made more suitable for this type of application. The specific challenge was to produce thin walled transparent food packaging via injection moulding, as biobased plastics are usually too viscous for this application. A public private research consortium was established, funded by the Dutch government’s Agri&Food Top Sector, and comprising, among others, injection molding machine manufacturer Arburg BV and TN Plastics BV, an injection molder located in Ter Aar (NL), to study the possibilities. Most of the biobased plastics currently on the market are suitable for film applications. Schennink: “Ideally, food packaging films must be strong and stiff. Polylactic acid (PLA), that is biobased by origin, possesses these properties. Production of injection moulded food packaging demands different material characteristics, however.” Commercial available biobased polyesters do not flow easily, and therefore one-to-one replacement of conventional plastic with biobased plastic is difficult. Thinner and cheaper The new project focuses on three innovations. The first involves the use of additives that improve the flow behaviour of biobased plastics. Secondly, the project partners will look into more sophisticated production procedures. A possible concept is not to close the mould entirely, but inject the plastic first and close the mould after some specific time (injection compression moulding). “This is where the mechanical properties of biobased plastics are an advantage,” says Schennink. “They are often more stiff than fossil based plastics. ” A thin wall is essential in this project as it is the only way reduce material use. Extra layer The third focus point are the barrier requirements of the packaging . As well as keeping products clean, a container for cookies also keeps them fresh since hardly any water vapour will permeate through the packaging. “We will not be able to achieve this with polylactic acid as its water vapour barrier is limited,” says L’Abée. “We will try to add an extra layer in the container that provides the required barrier properties”. Although this sounds complicated, multi-layered food packaging is quite common. An extremely thin printed film is pressed into the mould and fuses with the plastic to provide an imprint on the packaging. This technology – in-mould labelling – is already applied in various packaging products. The final goal of the project is to develop profitably biobased plastic packaging with around half the CO 2 emissions in material and production per unit as compared to conventional plastics. It would also offer consumers the opportunity to select a ‘greener’ alternative. l’Abée: “Consumers don’t have that choice at this time as at present there is no alternative. In the future, the product may cost a little more, but the market will show whether consumers are willing to pay for environmental benefits.” MT bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/17] Vol. 12 7

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