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Issue 06/2015

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Biobased
  • Plastics
  • Biodegradable
  • Materials
  • Products
  • Packaging
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  • Germany
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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1506

Events Well-attended 10

Events Well-attended 10 th European Bioplastics Conference great success European Bioplastics hosted its 10 th European Bioplastics Conference, entitled Shaping Smart Solutions this year on 5/6 November 2015 in Berlin, attracting more than 350 participants from industry, policy, research, and media. Once again, the conference proved to be an ideal opportunity to learn about the trends and developments - large and small – taking place in the dynamic bioplastics world. Looking back at the achievements and outstanding developments in this area over the past decade, the bioplastics industry may deservedly be called one of the most innovative and exciting sectors of the European bioeconomy. As François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics (EUBP), noted in his opening words of the conference: “Ten years ago, bioplastics was still a buzzword. Today, my son Olivier is learning about the benefits of biobased products in high-school. The understanding and awareness of our impact on the environment is clearly growing and bioplastics are at the centre of this change.” Biobased circular economy Acknowledging this growing awareness, keynote speaker Reinhard Büscher, Head of Unit Chemicals, DG GROWTH at the European Commission, also stressed the necessity to promote biobased products in the European Union in order to unlock Europe’s potential for a resourceefficient economy. Characterizing the bioeconomy as “the cornerstone of a low carbon strategy”, he called for “clear, harmonized standards that define the thresholds for sustainability and facilitate high-quality recycling, which is key to create a strong biobased circular economy.” The circular economy was a recurrent theme throughout the conference. In his presentation on the global plastic packaging roadmap (GPPR), Rob Opsomer, the Lead for Project MainStream, a multi-industry, CEO-led global initiative led by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, called the circular economy “a viable, attractive alternative, one that is restorative and regenerative by design”. He added: “Plastic packaging has many benefits but it’s an iconic linear material with significant associated negative externalities. The Global Plastic Packaging Roadmap aims to provide an action plan towards an economically and environmentally attractive alternative – a new plastics economy. In the new plastics economy, plastics never become waste but re-enter the economy as defined valuable biological or technical nutrients, based on the principles of the circular economy.” In this economy, biobased plastics will have a functional role, he said. However, without a level playing field, a thriving biobased economy will be difficult to realize, said Marius Gjerset, of the Norwegian organization ZERO. “Looking at the soaring numbers of electric cars sold in Norway, we can By Karen Laird say: incentives work,” he said. “Norway is currently the first country in the world that is considering tax incentives for bioplastics.” Joachim Quoden, the managing director of the Extended Producer Responsibility Alliance, discussed a different aspect of the circular economy. His focus was on the recovery and recycling infrastructure needed for this to be successfully implemented. “The quantities are too small to create our own fraction of bioplastics,” he said. “We need R&D; we need to collaborate.” His point was underscored by Itai Pelled, the R&D director at Tipa Corp., who said that, with flexible food packaging contributing massively to to overall packaging waste, the various endof life scenarios need to be examined for bioplastics. Erin Simon, Deputy Director for Sustainability Research&Development for WWF, emphasized in her presentation the transformational nature of the emerging bioeconomy. It represented a change that would “impact on ecosystems and species around the world”, she said. WWF is working with the Biobased Feedstock Alliance, a group of seven major brand owners who were seeking to make the transition from finite to renewable resources to take place in a sustainable way. “Moving to a more circular, biobased economy is a great challenge, and one that must be met in order to achieve a future where we do not demand more resources from the Earth than it can renew. Working together, it’s possible to tackle these challenges,” she said. A highly anticipated session was the presentation of the 2015 annual market data update delivered by Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of EUBP during the first day of the conference: “The positive trend of the past ten years continues. According to our latest market data, the global bioplastics production capacity is predicted to grow by more than 350 percent in the mid-term, from around 1.7 million tonnes in 2014 to approximately 7.8 million tonnes in 2019,” said von Pogrell. Materials and more A number of presentations highlighted the latest developments in bioplastics and bioplastic products. Milica Foli, of Haldor Topsoe, a Danish company specialized in catalysis and surface science, talked about the company’s new catalytic technology for the production of bio-glycols. “They have a molecular similarity to sugars, promote the C6 to C2 pathway via catalysts, have no green premium and offer high growth in commodity chemicals,” she explained. The technology offers potential benefit for the production of low-cost bio-PET. “It is a challenge to get all the way to the bottle,” she said. “We are now ready for a partnership, to take it to demo-scale. And we’re looking for a commitment to go through to the commercial product.” 8 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/15] Vol. 10

Events Linda Zellner, the project manager Bioplastics Innovations and Sweden-based Perstorp, introduced the newest member of its extensive Capa family of products – renewable Capa for Bioplastics, a development which builds on the company’s Capa Lactide technology. The properties of these new copolymers can be modified, simply by adjusting the ratio of lactide used, which makes it possible to tailor the products to the customers’ needs. Pouches were Andy Sweetman’s topic. As the marketing manager of packaging and sustainability at Innovia Films, he said: “They’re functional constructions, with less weight, minimal volume, full barrier, easy to print packaging,” he said. Great packaging, highly sustainable. But are they? In their present form, they’re impossible to recycle, “and are designed for the dump”. Yet with the current technology, bio-laminates can be constructed that maintain pack performance, using only two layers instead of the conventional three, that offer “substantiated sustainability benefits”. As Sweetman asked: So, now, what’s not to like about pouches? Commitment to sustainability The conference also made it clear that the willingness of brand owners to commit to sustainability was a growing reality. Retailers such as IKEA and Marks & Spenser spoke about their commitments and initiatives to become more sustainable and the role of bioplastics in achieving these ambitious goals. “By 2020, 100 percent of our plastics will be made from renewable and recycled sources,” explained Per Stoltz, Sustainability Developer at IKEA. IKEA has sustainability in its DNA, he said. In 1976, IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad wrote that “Waste of resources is one of the greatest diseases of mankind. Use your resources the IKEA way. Then you will achieve good results with smaller means.” At IKEA, this means looking at the supply chain, to discover how to introduce secondary material. “It also means designing for circularity and interacting with customers, to make them aware and to stimulate sustainable behaviour. For example, by helping with maintenance, or providing spare parts,” said Stoltz. Committing to sustainability is also happening in the world of sports. According to Steve Davies, Director of Public Affairs & Communications at NatureWorks, sports is a platform that can be used to get the message across. As he pointed out: “13 % of Americans follow science. 61 % say they are a sports fan.” This realization led to the founding of the Green Sports Alliance, a 313-member organization that is using sports as a powerful channel for environmental stewardship. Almost from the very beginning, NatureWorks has partnered with the Green Alliance. A comprehensive portfolio of compostable food service ware products made with Ingeo has seen steadily increasing use by many of the Alliance’s members. And the winner is… Mitsubishi Chemicals Corp. and Sharp were awarded the 10 th Annual Bioplastics Award, hosted by bioplastics MAGAZINE during the conference, for the development of the front panel of Sharp’s new smartphone made from Mitsubishi’s biobased engineering plastic DURABIO. For more information, see next page. www.european-bioplastics.org François de Bie, EuBP Chairman, opens the 10 th European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/15] Vol. 10 9

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