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David K. Platt
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David K. Platt
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...... 8 Competitive Trends ................................................................................................................................................................................ 15 Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymers ........................1 3...........................................................................................10.................................................. 22 Polyglycolide (PGA) ......... 15 Modiﬁed Naturally Biodegradable Polymers ........................................2 1................................ 1 The Report ....................................2 3.. Overview of Biodegradable Polymers ................. 3 2............................................................................... 15 Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers ......................................... 12 Factors Affecting Biodegradability.......................................................6.............................3 3..10................................. 11 Mechanisms of Polymer Degradation .5 Global Market Forecasts ......................... 5 Material Trends .........3 3....... 14 3..........................................1 3...................4 3....................................................................................... 23 Poly(dioxanone) (a polyether-ester) .....3 2............................. 5 2............ 7 Market Trends.......4 Background .................................................................................. 18 Polylactic Acid Polyesters ...........................6................................................. 20 3................Contents 1....7 3....................................................................................................................................................10 Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers ..............................................6 Introduction .....................................1 2...........................2 2....... 23 i ..................................1 3.................................. 13 Biodegradable Polymer Classes....................................................... 23 Poly(lactide-co-glycolide)...................2 3.......... 22 3.................... 2 Methodology ..8 3..........................6...................................................... 11 3.................................................................................................... Executive Summary ...........................................................................................10....................................................5 3........... 9 3................... 6 Regional Trends .. 11 Deﬁnitions of Biodegradable Polymers .............................................................4 2......................................................................................................... 1 1............4 Polycaprolactone (PCL) ................1 1............. 11 Measuring Biodegradability of Polymers ................... 3 About the Author .....................................................................2 3...................10................................................................................................ 16 Polyhydroxyalkanoates ................................................................................................................................9 Naturally Biodegradable Polymers ............................ Introduction ...........................3 1....................................................................3 3...............................................................
........................................................................................................3 4..............................1 4...................11........................6 5....3 4........ 39 The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast .... 65 NNZ BV .......................2......................... The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market ...11................................5............................................................................................................................................................2 4......5 4............................. 25 3........................ 35 Pricing Trends ..................4...............................................................................3 5.................................5 Introduction .... 61 Rodenburg Biopolymers........... 31 4........................................................................................... 31 Development of a Composting Infrastructure ..........................................................2 5..........................1 5.... 65 Biopolymer Technologies ................3 Western European Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast .............. 39 Market Development and Structure...................................................................2.................... 57 Market Drivers ... 25 3................. 57 5........... 25 3.........................................5...................................... 31 Market Drivers ..........................................................................11.....................................................................6 4................................. 46 Asia Paciﬁc Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast .............................. 38 Product and Technology Development ............................... 59 Market Size and Forecast ............................................11 Processing Biodegradable Polymers ...........................................................................7 5.....1 5............................................ 61 5....... 57 Applications Development.2 4.......................4........................................................................ 28 3..5................5 Injection Stretch Blow Moulding ............................ 63 Stanelco Group.................. 48 5.................................... 27 3.....5...........4...2 Introduction ............1 4......................................................4 4........1 Introduction .......... 63 EarthShell Corporation ...........4 5.............................................11................. 38 Consumer Preference for Sustainable Packaging ...............................4 5..............3 Injection Moulding ...........................................................................11............................................2.................... 30 4...........6 Thermoforming .....2...................... BV ..................................4 Development of Framework Conditions ......... The Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymer Market ......................................................................................................................................................................3 5............... 29 3..................................................... 65 Plantic Technologies ......8 Novamont .5.......... 27 3....... 64 Grenidea Technologies ......................................................... 37 Growth in Pre-Packaged Food Sales ..... 31 4..............................11....................... 44 North American Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast ....................................................................... 66 ii ....................................................1 4...............................................................................2.................4 Blow Moulding .......2....5.............11...2 Film Blowing and Casting .................................. 60 Major Suppliers and their Products .............2 5. 41 4................................................................5 5............................7 Fibre Spinning .............................Biodegradable Polymers 3..................5......5.....
............................................2..4 6...... 70 6............................................................ 87 8...................... 88 iii ..........4 7.............................................................. 69 Blow Moulded Bottles .............................. 79 Applications Development.................................................................................................................. 71 Stable Supply and More Competitive Prices ...................................................................... 83 Market Size and Forecast .............................1 8...................................................................................................................................................1 6....................................................................... 72 New Applications ...........................4 7....2 Introduction .......... 73 6...................................3 6................................................ 83 Polymer Blends ........................................................................2 Introduction .5 7................. 82 Flexible Packaging .............. 72 Speciality Cards ............................................................................... 79 7.. 70 Market Drivers .........6 7......................3 7.......................2 6.........3........................................................ 84 8............................... 75 7....3....................7 7.............................................................. 71 World’s First Greenhouse-Gas-Neutral Polymer ....................3 Rigid Packaging................5 6................................................3................................................................................................................................................................................3 6..............5 Films ...........................................3..................... 67 6......... The Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Polymers Market ......................................................................................................................... 82 Coated/Corrugated Paper ....................................................................................................................................................................................3................................................1 6............... 81 7............................................... The Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers Market ..2...............................2............ The PHA Biodegradable Polymers Market ..................................... 67 Applications Development.............................................. 68 Flexible Packaging ..............2..............7 6................... 72 Source Options ............. 74 Major Suppliers and their Products ...................................................2......3.......... 67 6.................8 Better Environmental Credentials ....1 6....................2.................................................... 87 Applications Development.................2 Introduction ...............................................2. 71 Replacement of Traditional Packaging Materials...............................................2................3.........Contents 6.......1 7................................... 83 Bioresorbable Medical Devices ..............................................6 6........4 6............... 73 Better Processing ...4 6............................... 82 Thermoformed Articles ............................3...........................2.....................................2 6................................ 84 Suppliers and their Products ............................................3 7........2...........................1 7...................................... 82 Synthetic Papers .................................................. 83 Market Drivers ......................................2 7....... 70 High Performance Applications ......................................5 Market Size and Forecast .............2.
................................................................... Market Opportunities for Biodegradable Polymers ............................................................................................................................................................... 103 10...................................................................................... 97 Agriculture and Horticulture .........................................6........... 100 Speciality Cards .........................................3 Arthur Blank & Company............................2................................................1 Alpha Packaging....................................................................................................................................................6 Bi-Ax International......... 93 9...................................... 99 Other Applications ............4 Sutures .........................7 BioBag International AS ......................................... 94 Paper Coating........ 106 10................................................................................1 9........................................................2........ 97 Disposable Serviceware ...5 9.......... 105 10...........2 9............. .................................... 98 Dental Devices....................4 9.......................................... 108 10............. .................................3 9................. 98 9..............................................................................6....7 9..................................1 9.................... 101 10................... KG Kunststoffe ...........................................................2 9............. Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters ...................Biodegradable Polymers 8.....................................................2..... 98 Medical Devices ...............2................ 106 10.................................................................................................4 Autobar Group Ltd.......3 9.6 Flexible Packaging ...........................................................................10 Fibres ..........................................................4 9.............................................................................................................. 107 10........................................4 8... 99 Orthopaedic Fixation Devices .....................................................................................9 BIOTA Brands of America Inc.... 97 Bags and Sacks .. 93 Rigid Packaging................................................................................ 99 9................................................... 89 Suppliers and their Products ................ 93 Packaging .............................................2 Introduction .................................................... 103 10................ 90 9...........6........................................................................................................5 Bartling GmbH & Co................................ 93 9................... 104 10. 108 iv .............................................................. 103 10.....................3 9..................................... 96 Loose-Fill Packaging....................2 Arkhe Planning Co..........................6..............................1 9................................................................................................................................................... 100 Automotive ....................5 Market Drivers ............ 89 Market Size and Forecast .. 101 9..................................................................................................8 Biosphere Industries Corporation .....................................8 9...................................9 Consumer Electronics Products .............................3 8.................................................................. ......................................................
...................................... 125 10........... 109 10..........27 IBEK Verpackungshandel GmbH .............................................................................................................. 111 10....22 Fortune Plastics ................. 123 10.............................. 112 10..............38 Signum NZ Ltd.......................................................16 Earthcycle Packaging Ltd........... 113 10..........36 Siamp-Cedap ...... 120 10................ 116 10.......................28 ILIP .............................................37 Sidaplax................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................32 Natura Verpackungs GmbH ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 117 10................ Inc............................................................................................................... ............ 118 10...............................................Contents 10..................... 124 10....................... 119 10...... 129 10................................. . 131 v ..................................... 111 10........18 Ex-Tech Plastics..17 Europackaging plc . ... ...........24 Grenidea Technologies Pte Ltd.....................23 Good Flag Biotechnology Corporation .19 Fabri-Kal ....................................................................................................... 122 10..................... 115 10..................................... 115 10..................39 Spartech Corp..........................................15 Cortec Corporation ....33 NVYRO ..................................... .................................................... 123 10............................................................. .................... 127 10...... ............. 116 10..........................................34 Plastic Suppliers Inc................................................31 NNZ bv.......................................................................................................29 Innovia Films BVBA ................21 Farnell Packaging Ltd..................................................................................................... 109 10............................................25 The Heritage Bag Company.......... Ltd. 126 10........ 118 10...............................................................26 Huhtamäki Oy ............................................................... 129 10............................................................................................................................................................... 128 10....13 Chien Fua Bio-Tech Industry Co......................................................................30 Liquid Container/Plaxicon .................... 121 10...................................................................................................................................................................20 Faerch Plast A/S .........................35 RPC Group plc .....................................................................................................40 Sunway Household Ltd...................................12 Carolex SAS .............................................. 110 10.....14 Coopbox Europe ...............................................11 Brenmar Company .......... 114 10........... 130 10...............................................................10 Bomatic Inc....................................................... 114 10.....................................
......................... Glossary of Terms ........................45 Wei Mon Industry Co..............................................................43 Treofan Group ............................................................ Database of Major Biodegradable Polymer Suppliers ........................... 132 10.................................................................... 155 vi ........................................................ 137 11..... 136 10................................44 Vertex Paciﬁc Limited ...............................................................................41 Toray Industries Inc................................. ................ ................................................................................................................................. 133 10.... 131 10............ .............. 139 12................................................................................................46 Wentus Kunststoff GmbH ......................47 Wilkinson Industries Inc..... 134 10........... .......... 145 13..... Abbreviations and Acronyms ........................................Biodegradable Polymers 10................42 Toray Saehan Inc....... Ltd.............................................. 135 10.......................
the transformation of biologically decomposable materials through a controlled process of bio-oxidation that proceeds through mesophilic and thermophilic phases and results in the production of carbon dioxide. more favourable framework conditions for biodegradable plastics market development are slowly coming into place. incineration with energy recovery and composting. Several major world brands including Wal-Mart have been persuaded to switch from petrochemical-based plastics to biodegradable plastics in recent years. the aerobic and mesophilic and thermophilic degradation of organic matter to make compost. gearing up for large-scale production. bags and sacks. • 1 . However. Novamont and BASF. particularly in Western Europe. biopolymer prices have come down signiﬁcantly in recent years due to better production techniques. reduction in CO2 emissions and the conservation of the earth’s fossil resources. while they remain very much a niche product at the moment. There is also a growing trend for brand owners and retailers to recognise the potential marketing beneﬁts of ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ packaging as consumers become more concerned about the development of sustainable technologies. better material sourcing by suppliers and higher production volumes. Biodegradable polymer demand is being driven by a number of important trends. fungi and algae. • Biodegradable plastic: a biodegradable plastic is a degradable plastic in which the degradation results from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria. certain starch-based and PLA biopolymers were competitive with standard thermoplastics such as PET. minerals and stabilised organic matter (compost or humus). As these trends gather momentum. but it has only been in the last two to three years that they have started to be produced on a commercial scale.1 Background Biodegradable polymers have been around for almost a decade. Demand for biodegradable polymers is also beneﬁting from a narrowing in the price differential between biopolymers and petrochemical-based plastics over the last two years. At the same time.1 Introduction 1. Composting: composting is a managed process that controls the biological decomposition of biodegradable materials into a humus-like substance called compost. Other options being pursued include mechanical recycling. Petrochemicalbased plastic prices have gone up sharply due to a surge in crude oil prices and look like remaining at historically high levels for some time to come. Biodegradable polymers have already found acceptance in application areas such as food packaging. In developed countries of the Western world. looseﬁll packaging agricultural ﬁlm and many niche market applications. In 2006. there are signs that biodegradable polymers are ready to attack mass markets with a number of major suppliers such as NatureWorks LLC. governments have implemented legislation to reduce the amount of municipal waste packaging being sent to landﬁll. water. This report uses the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) deﬁnitions of biodegradable and compostable plastics.
polypropylene and polystyrene. Mixtures of synthetic degradable polyesters and pure plant starch. Biodegradable polymers can also be made from mineral oil based resources such as the aliphaticaromatic co-polyester types. 1. classiﬁcation of biodegradable polymers including their chemical structure. North America and Asia Paciﬁc. While biodegradable polymers may be similar to petrochemical-based thermoplastics in terms of their structure. starch blends can produce ﬁlm with better moisture barrier protection and higher clarity than some conventional plastics. Biodegradable polymers are similar in terms of their chemical structure to conventional thermoplastics such as polyethylene. their chemical structure imbues them with technical properties that make them perform in different ways. For example. PLA has a high water vapour transmission rate. agriculture and horticulture. consumer electronics products. medical devices. 2 . disposable serviceware. application developments and an analysis of the major suppliers and their products. soya and potatoes. The main body of the study (Chapters 5-8) is divided into four core sections based on biodegradable polymer types. Biodegradable polymers can also be made from extracts from plants and vegetables such as corn. palm oil. are also well-established products on the market.Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradable polymers and biopolymers can be produced by a wide variety of technologies. automotive. • • • • Starch-based Polylactic acid (PLA) Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) Synthetic biodegradable polymers such as aliphatic-aromatic co-polyesters Each section contains an overview of key market drivers. 2005 and forecast for 2010. maize. bags and sacks. analysis of world consumption by geographic region for the years 2000.2 The Report The report starts with an overview of biodegradable polymers including an examination of the processes of biodegradation. injection moulding and blow moulding. and processing performance. Chapter 9 examines the market opportunities for biodegradable plastics by end use market covering packaging. Biodegradable polymers that are based on renewable resources include polyesters such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). 2005 and forecast for 2010. Section 4 examines the global market for biodegradable polymers by major geographic region. properties. covering Western Europe. Biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type and end use market is presented for each region for the years 2000. known as starch blends. speciality cards and ﬁbres. They can be processed using standard polymer processing methods such as ﬁlm extrusion. which is beneﬁcial for fresh food applications where it is important that the water vapour escapes quickly from the packaging. PLA also reduces fogging on the lid of the packaging. A number of different types are already available on the market. both from renewable resources of animal or plant origin. and from fossil resources.
Chapter 10 examines around ﬁfty major processors of biodegradable plastics and their products. trade press. from standard thermoplastics.3 Methodology The research for the report is based on various information sources including: the Rapra Polymer Library. Toray and Treofan. IBEK. 1. Huhtamäki. The opinions expressed and the data presented are those of the author. 3 . and also works with leading plastics industry consultants. Ex-Tech Plastics. He joined a leading international market consultancy where he specialised in plastics sector research. Internet/company web sites. and interviews with some of the leading suppliers. Plastic Suppliers. Europackaging.Introduction Finally. He conducted a wide range of multi-client and single-client studies covering a wide range of materials. Cortec. The Heritage Bag Company. Bomatic. he makes regular contributions to the European plastics trade press. RPC Group. Now operating as a freelance consultant. including: BioBag International. NNZ.4 About the Author David Platt graduated from the University of Nottingham with an Economics degree before completing an MBA at the University of Bradford. Biosphere Industries. engineering and high performance polymers to conductive polymers and thermoplastic elastomers. Innovia Films. Coopbox. 1. natura Verpackungs.
Biodegradable Polymers 4 .
9 28. However.700 tonnes and the compound annual growth rate for the period 2005-2010 is 20.000 tonnes in 2000. Polylactic acid (PLA) is the second largest material class followed by synthetic aliphaticaromatic co-polyesters.0 94.2 Executive Summary 2. 2000. For example.2 14. Loose-ﬁll foam packaging accounts for more than a half of starch biopolymer volumes.8 35.8 214.14% of total thermoplastics consumption in Western Europe. market tonnage is forecast to reach 214. The situation is slowly changing with a number of major plant expansions planned over the next few years.3%. particularly for manufacture of rigid and ﬂexible packaging.1 shows global consumption of biodegradable polymers by polymer type for the years 2000. starch-based materials were the largest class of biodegradable polymer with just over 47% of total market volumes. However.4 In 2005. 2005 and forecast for 2010. starch and starch blends. Table 2. which is a relatively more mature sector for biodegradable polymers. market volumes for biopolymers remain extremely low compared with standard petrochemicalbased plastics.5 2. The major classes of biopolymer. the global biodegradable plastics market tonnage is estimated at 94. 2005 and forecast for 2010 (’000 tonnes) 2000 Starch PLA PHA Synthetic 15.5 8. In 2010. polylactic acid (PLA) and aliphaticaromatic co-polyesters.9 32. The PHA category is at an embryonic stage of market development with very low market tonnage at the moment. in 2005. Table 2. biopolymer consumption accounted for just 0.400 tonnes. are now being used in a wide variety of niche applications.8 0.800 tonnes (including loose-ﬁll packaging) compared with 28.1 Global consumption of biodegradable polymers by polymer type. there are still only a handful of producers operating truly commercial scale production plants. Excluding loose-ﬁll packaging.2 89. global market tonnage in 2005 is 71. 5 .1 2005 44. which represents a compound annual growth rate of 17.1 Global Market Forecasts The market for biodegradable polymers has shown strong growth during the last ﬁve years.7 0 3. In 2005. bags and sacks and foodservice products. albeit from a very small base.7% during the period 2005-2010.8 2010 89.
All classes of biodegradable polymers are projected to experience substantial growth during the next ﬁve years. Of the material classes with existing commercial applications, PLA will grow the fastest with a compound annual growth rate of 20.1% for the period 2005-2010. PLA demand is being driven by strong product and applications development by major suppliers such as NatureWorks LLC. Synthetic types will also experience growth approaching 20% per annum over the forecast period. Starch-based polymers are projected to grow at slightly lower rates. This is mainly due to the presence of loose-ﬁll packaging, which is a relatively more mature applications sector. PHA, which started from virtually a zero base in 2005, is projected to grow at close to 60% per annum as commercial scale plants come on stream and better products and processes are introduced. Demand for biodegradable polymers is being driven by a number of important trends, including: • Development of supporting framework conditions such as more favourable government regulations to reduce waste packaging and landﬁll in favour of recycling and composting. Political support is also slowly gaining ground with biodegradable packaging receiving special treatment in some countries such as Germany. The world biodegradable plastics industry has agreed a set of standards and certiﬁcation procedures for biodegradable packaging materials, which will continue to encourage growth and possibly deter imitation. Composting infrastructures are being developed by local councils in major towns and cities around the world in response to the problem of packaging waste and over-reliance on landﬁll in some countries. The price differential between biodegradable polymers and petrochemical-based plastics has narrowed during the last two years. Growing consumer awareness and preference for sustainable packaging. Brand owners are also recognising the beneﬁts of promoting sustainable or ‘green’ packaging. There has been a stream of new product and technology development by leading biodegradable polymer suppliers that have opened up new markets and potential applications.
• • •
2.2 Material Trends
Product development and improvement has a crucial role to play in the further development of the biodegradable polymers market. These include development of more reliable and lower cost raw materials for manufacture of biodegradable polymers, improvement in performance properties visà-vis standard thermoplastics, improvement in processing performance and development of new polymers and blends. Some of the most interesting material developments covered in the report are as follows. • New types of renewable feedstock such as palm oil for manufacture of starch-based biodegradable polymers. A new generation of PLA materials that can withstand high temperatures and are suitable for microwavable food packaging.
• • • • •
New blends of synthetic biopolymers and PLA with better properties and processing performance. Plasticiser-free ﬂexible PLA ﬁlm. Development of markets for PLA injection stretch blow moulding applications. PLA bottles with higher barrier for oxygen sensitive food and beverages. Improvements to biodegradable polymer additive formulations helping to improve processing efﬁciencies. Development of biodegradable polymers with ﬂame retardant properties that can be used for consumer electronics product housing. Development of synthetic biodegradable polymers such as polybutylene succinates (PBS) with improved stiffness and thermal properties. Progress in fermentation processes and identiﬁcation of lower cost feedstock for manufacture of PHA products to provide lower material costs.
2.3 Regional Trends
Figure 2.1 shows percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by major world region for 2005.
Figure 2.1 Percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by major world region, 2005
Western Europe is the leading market for biodegradable polymers with 59% of market volumes in 2005. The Western European market has been driven more by regulation than other world regions such as the USA and Japan. These include the European Union directives on packaging waste and landﬁll which aim to divert a growing amount of packaging waste towards recycling and composting. Europe has also beneﬁted from some of the world’s leading biodegradable producers such as Novamont, Rodenburg Biopolymers and BASF being based in the region.
North America has lagged well behind Western Europe in terms of biodegradable polymer market development. Traditionally, there has not been the same degree of urgency to address the issue of waste disposal through landﬁll in North America because of its enormous landmass. Government and consumer attitudes towards recycling of packaging waste and environmental protection have also militated against market development of sustainable materials. However, attitudes are slowly changing. During the last few years there have been a number of positive trends that are encouraging biodegradable polymer development including, growth of the composting infrastructure, more institutions looking at food waste diversion from landﬁll, rising tipping fees for landﬁll and a better understanding among foodservice suppliers that there is a market for compostable materials. Japan is the largest consumer of biodegradable polymers in the Asia Paciﬁc region, followed by Australia and New Zealand, with Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and China, some way behind in terms of market development.
2.4 Market Trends
Biodegradable polymers can be found in a wide range of end use markets although these materials still remain very much niche products. Continued progress in terms of product development and cost reduction will be required before they can effectively compete with conventional plastics for mainstream applications. Starch-based biodegradable plastics are used for manufacture of various types of bags and sacks, rigid packaging such as thermoformed trays and containers, and loose-ﬁll packaging foam as an alternative to polystyrene and polyethylene. They are also used in agriculture and horticulture for applications such as mulching ﬁlm, covering ﬁlm and plant pots. Injection moulding applications include pencil sharpeners, rulers, cartridges, combs and toys. The main markets for PLA are thermoformed trays and containers for food packaging and food service applications. Other developing areas include ﬁlms and labels, injection stretch blow moulded bottles and jars, specialty cards and ﬁbres. Synthetic biodegradable polyesters are used mainly as specialty materials for paper coating, ﬁbres, and garbage bags and sacks. They are also showing up in thermoformed packaging as functional adjuncts to lower-cost biodegradable materials. Potential applications for PHA include feminine hygiene products, packaging, appliances, electrical and electronics, consumer durables, agriculture and soil stabilisation, nonwovens, biomedical device adhesives, and automotive parts. Figure 2.2 shows percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by end use market for 2005. In 2005, packaging (including rigid and ﬂexible packaging, paper coating and foodservice) is the largest sector with 39% of total biodegradable polymer market volumes. Loose-ﬁll packaging is the second largest sector, followed by bags and sacks. Fibres or textiles is an important sector for PLA, and accounts for 9% of total market volumes. Others include a wide range of very small application areas, the most important of which are agriculture and ﬁshing, medical devices, consumer products and hygiene products.
Rodenburg Biopolymers and Biotec.000 tonnes. there are a growing number of biodegradable polymers performing well in niche applications. and Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals. The leading suppliers are Novamont. polyethylene (PE).000 tonnes by 2008. DuPont. Many of these materials can be even more cost competitive in the future compared to petroleum-based resins including PET. starch-based biopolymers. Bottle-grade PET prices have increased by nearly 18%. global capacity for biodegradable polymers was around 360. and polypropylene (PP) as suppliers develop better material properties that can lead to thinner ﬁlms or lower processing costs. which together represent over 90% of the European market for biodegradable plastics. At the moment. In 2005. prices for the three major types of bio-based resins. pricing had been the biggest barrier to biodegradable polymer market development. general-purpose polystyrene and low density polyethylene (LDPE) have increased between 30-35%. The synthetic biopolymers market is dominated by large. During the period 2003-2005. polylactic acid (PLA) and aliphatic aromatic co-polyester. In 1995. total production capacity is set to almost reach 600. However. At the same time. NatureWorks LLC. the average price for competing materials such as polypropylene. Commodity resin prices have climbed steadily since 2003 as oil and natural gas prices have surged.5 Competitive Trends There are around thirty suppliers actively involved in the world biodegradable polymers market in 2005. NatureWorks. The starch and PLA sectors contain mainly specialist biopolymer companies such as Novamont. Historically. which were speciﬁcally established purely to develop biodegradable polymers. Global production capacity for biodegradable polymers has grown dramatically since the mid 1990s. BASF and Rodenburg Biopolymers.Executive Summary Figure 2. have dropped considerably over the last 9 .000 tonnes. global and vertically integrated chemical companies such as BASF. the competitive position of biodegradable polymers has been improved during the last two years by the sharp upswing in the cost and declining availability of standard petroleum-based resins.2 Percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by end use market for 2005 2. production was mainly on a pilot-plant basis with total worldwide capacity amounting to no more than 25-30. Based on announced projects.
Hence. but also all associated costs. PLA is now being sold at prices between €1.5 per kg. Production costs for biopolymers still remain high because of low volumes. users of biodegradable plastics can differentiate themselves from the competition by demonstrating how innovative and proactive they are for the beneﬁt of the environment. 10 . a signiﬁcant number of products are commercially available and the emphasis has switched to the end user and developing markets and applications. the average price of starch blends was around €3.0 per kg in 2003 to €2.0 per kg. Applications development to achieve higher production volumes will be crucial for continued market expansion.0-3.372.0-5.5 per kg three years ago. the biodegradable plastics industry has now reached the market introduction stage. Prices are expected to fall further for all biodegradable polymer types over time as production volumes increase and unit costs fall. Also.5-4. which are of course lower for biodegradable plastics. Brand owners and consumer will have a key role to play in the growth of this industry over the next ﬁve to ten years. While the cost of some biodegradable plastics are high compared with conventional polymers. Buyers are indeed beginning to recognise the marketing value of sustainable materials and are starting to endorse this biopolymers movement. In 2005. The average cost of an aliphatic aromatic co-polyester has fallen from €3. and proﬁtability of biodegradable plastics products is still too low. In 2003. from a marketing perspective. volumes must be increased if unit costs are to fall and proﬁtability is to improve. In terms of the product life cycle. more efﬁcient production processes have been deployed and lower cost raw materials have been found. it is important not only to consider the material cost. having spent the last ten years or so developing their products and processes. Now. marketing of biodegradable plastics products is most successful when their cost savings and material advantages are exploited to the full. It is education and awareness along with the cost and performance improvements that will take sustainable materials out of niche market status.Biodegradable Polymers three years as production volumes have increased. and is now almost price competitive with PET. including the costs of handling and disposal.65 per kg in 2005.75-3. The main focus of suppliers was on improving the technology and the products in readiness for full commercialisation. the average price range of starch blends was down to €1.75 per kg compared to a price range of €3. Hence.5-3.
and is sometimes initiated by. Standardisation organisations such as CEN.3 Overview of Biodegradable Polymers 3. Similar deﬁnitions have been recognised in several countries around the world. performance characteristics and processing technologies.1 Introduction This chapter begins with an examination of the mechanisms of polymer biodegradation. 3. the most signiﬁcant being DIN CERTCO 54900 in Germany.2 Deﬁnitions of Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradability and compostability are clearly deﬁned by the scientiﬁc community and were legally incorporated into a Standard by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). besides ecotoxicity and effects on waste treatment processes. This is followed by a review of the different classes of biodegradable polymers. non-biological degradation such as photodegradation and hydrolysis. water. properties. the aerobic and mesophilic and thermophilic degradation of organic matter to make compost. in July 1999. Society further demanded non-debatable criteria for the evaluation of the suitability of polymeric materials for disposal in speciﬁc waste streams such as composting or anaerobic digestion. Biodegradability is usually just one of the essential criteria. Following the international agreement on deﬁnitions for biodegradable plastics. it will usually occur simultaneously with. disposal pathways and standard test methodologies were incorporated into the deﬁnitions. under reference ASTM D 6400 . fungi and algae. 3.99. Composting is defined as a managed process that controls the biological decomposition of biodegradable materials into a humus-like substance called compost. The ASTM deﬁnes a biodegradable plastic as a degradable plastic in which the degradation results from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria. Harmonisation of the deﬁnitions was carried out through the International Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). minerals and stabilised organic matter (compost or humus). speciﬁed periods of time. their chemical composition. how biodegradation mechanisms are measured and the factors affecting biodegradation.3 Mechanisms of Polymer Degradation Biodegradation is usually deﬁned as degradation caused by biological activity. which signed a memorandum of understanding with the Japanese Biodegradable Plastics Society and the German DIN CERTCO. the transformation of biologically decomposable materials through a controlled process of bio-oxidation that proceeds through mesophilic and thermophilic phases and results in the production of carbon dioxide. 11 . International Standards Organisation (ISO) and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) were consequently encouraged to develop standard biodegradation tests so these could be determined.
Some enzymes change the substrate through some free radical mechanism while others follow alternative chemical routes (1). except for very hydrophobic polymers. All enzymes are proteins with a complex three-dimensional structure ranging in molecular weight from several thousands to several million g/mol. which can be of inorganic (such as metal ions) or organic origin (such as coenzymes A. the effect of the environment cannot be neglected. salts. but also on the presence of the biological systems involved in the process. water. leading to the chemical reaction. depending on the polymer. minerals and biomass. Some enzymes contain regions with absolute speciﬁcity for a given substrate while others can recognise a series of substrates. chemical and enzymic ageing. Microbial activity and hence biodegradability is inﬂuenced by the: • • Presence of microorganisms Availability of oxygen 12 . Different mechanisms of hydrolysis are usually present in most environments.4 Measuring Biodegradability of Polymers Given the various mechanisms available for the biodegradation of a polymer. 3. chemical hydrolysis of a solid material can take place throughout its cross-section. Enzymes are the biological catalysts that can induce massive increases in reaction rates in an environment that is otherwise unfavourable for chemical reactions. and vitamins like riboﬂavin and biotin). The ﬁrst step normally occurs outside the organism due to the size of the polymer chain and the insoluble nature of many of the polymers. At the active site the interaction between enzyme and substrate takes place. When investigating the biodegradability of a material. yeasts. Nevertheless. a depolymerisation or chain cleavage step. For optimal activity most enzymes must associate with cofactors. and second. and cause mechanical. eventually giving a particular product. Different enzymes can also have different mechanisms of catalysis. it will be appreciated that biodegradation does not only depend on the polymer chemistry. The products of this process are gases. which creates certain regions at the surface forming an active site. Many variations of this general view of the biodegradation process can occur. Two steps occur in the microbial polymer degradation process. Biological degradation takes place through the actions of enzymes or by products (such as acids and peroxides) secreted by microorganisms (bacteria. Extracellular enzymes are responsible for this step. There are an enormous number of different enzymes each catalysing its own unique reaction on groups of substrates or on very speciﬁc chemical bonds. In contrast to enzymic degradation. the organisms and the environment. At this stage the cell usually derives metabolic energy from the mineralisation process. fungi).Biodegradable Polymers Many different polymers are subject to hydrolysis. and sometimes digest polymers. there will always be at some stage the involvement of enzymes. ATP. The enzyme activity is closely related to the conformational structure. in some cases acting complimentarily and in others synergistically. microorganisms can eat. mineralisation. they are transported into the cells where they are mineralised. where a material is degraded gradually from the surface inwards. acting either endo (random cleavage of the internal linkages of the polymer chains) or exo (sequential cleavage of the terminal monomer units in the main chain). ﬁrst. Also. Once sufﬁciently small size oligomeric or monomeric fragments are formed.
Since the typical exposure environment involves incubation of a polymer substrate with microorganisms or enzymes. since they represent the conditions during biological municipal solid waste treatment such as composting. The polymer chemistry governs the chemical and physical properties of the material and its interaction with the physical environment. the environments in which biodegradation occurs are divided into two environments. The other key aspects determining biodegradability are related to the chemical composition of the polymer. However. possible applications of biodegradable materials other than in packaging and consumer products (such as ﬁshing nets at sea) explain the necessity of aquatic biodegradation tests. Four common approaches available for studying biodegradation processes are used. where no oxygen is present. where oxygen is available. • • • • Monitoring microbial growth Monitoring the depletion of substrates Monitoring reaction products Monitoring changes in substrate properties Measurements for testing the biodegradability of polymers are usually based on one or more of these four basic approaches (2). often causing difﬁculty in sorting out primary effects and correlations. Many attempts have been made to correlate polymer structure to biodegradability. In many cases complex interplay between some of the different factors occur simultaneously. this proved to be challenging and so far only few general relationships between structure and biodegradability have been formulated. which in turn affects the material’s compostability with particular degradation mechanisms. aerobic.5 Factors Affecting Biodegradability The environment is an important factor affecting the rate and degree of biodegradation of polymer substrates. electrolytes etc. only a limited number of measurements are possible. but it should be considered that many exceptions to the norm have also been reported. the different approaches are therefore not equivalent in terms of information they provide or the practical signiﬁcance. The high solids environment is the most relevant for measuring the biodegradation of polymeric materials. Numerous methods to measure the biodegradability of polymers have been developed. Because of slightly different deﬁnitions or interpretation of the term ‘biodegradability’. to the microorganisms. Some of the general factors affecting biodegradability are listed below. or to the reactive products. However. These two can in turn be subdivided into aquatic and high solids environments.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers • • • Amount of available water Temperature Chemical environment (pH. and anaerobic. The accessibility of the polymer to water-borne enzymes is vitally important because the ﬁrst step in the degradation of plastics usually involves the actions of extracellular enzymes. 3.) In order to simplify the overall picture. which break down 13 . These include those pertaining to the substrates.
3. for example polylactic acid is derived from agricultural feedstock. where a critical lower limit must be present before the process will start. it has sometimes been suggested that combining a non-biodegradable polymer with one that is biodegradable. However. 14 . The molecular origin for this effect is still subject to speculation. Linkage involving hetero atoms. The susceptibility of a biodegradable polymer to microbial attack is sometimes decreased by grafting it onto a non-biodegradable polymer. is usually disregarded (3). or grafting a biodegradable polymer onto a non-biodegradable backbone polymer may result in a biodegradable system. since an inherent property of many enzymes is their stereo-chemical selectivity. The chemical properties that are important include the: • • • Chemical linkage in the polymer backbone. Synthetic polymers. Biodegradability is usually also affected by the hydrophilic nature (wettability) and the crystallinity of the polymer. the physical state of the plastic and the surface offered for attack. Therefore. their position and their chemical activity. Pendant groups. and has been attributed to a range of causes such as changes in enzyme accessibility. enzymes. 1.6 Biodegradable Polymer Classes There are broadly three classes of commercially available biodegradable polymers in existence. These additional materials may act as barriers to prevent migration of microorganisms. are considered susceptible to enzymic degradation. The stereo-chemistry may nevertheless not be observed when a broad spectrum of microorganisms are used instead of enzyme solutions with high stereo-speciﬁcity. However. End-groups and their chemical activity. chain ﬂexibility. On the other hand.Biodegradable Polymers the polymer into products small enough to be assimilated. Naturally biodegradable polymers produced in nature are renewable. such as ester and amide bonds. This effect has been demonstrated for a number of polymers. or by crosslinking. Naturally biodegradable polymers that have been modiﬁed with additives and ﬁllers. Interaction with other polymers (blends) also affects the biodegradation properties. Some synthetic polymers are also renewable because they are made from renewable feedstock. Whether the non-biodegradable component is in fact mineralised. essentially conﬁning the degradation to the amorphous region of the polymer. crystallinity or other aspects of morphology. are rapidly hydrolysed. highly crystalline starch materials and bacterial polyesters. aromatic polyesters and many other polymers containing hetero atoms in the main chain. Unmodiﬁed polymers that are naturally susceptible to microbial-enzyme attack. 2. A semi-crystalline nature tends to limit the accessibility. 3. however. The stereo-chemistry of the monomer units along the polymer chain also inﬂuences biodegradation rates. For example. moisture or oxygen into the polymer domain of interest. ﬁts with active sites. contradictory results have been reported. primarily polyesters. The molecular weight distribution of the polymer can have a dramatic effect on rates of depolymerisation. this is not the case for polyamides. are important factors.
6. The most prominent modiﬁed naturally biodegradable polymer in commercial use is produced by Novamont under the Mater-Bi trade name. The major category of synthetic biodegradable polymers consists of aliphatic polyesters with a hydrolysable linkage along the polymer chain such as polylactic acid (PLA). This starch-based technology is unique because the modiﬁcation goes beyond conventional compounding. Aliphatic polyesters such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are also a family of easily biodegradable polymers found in nature that are beginning to ﬁnd commercial use. Synthetic biodegradable polymers such as aliphatic-aromatic co-polyesters. Other widely available synthetic types include aliphatic/aromatic co-polyesters. 3. Natural macromolecules containing hydrolysable linkages. For the purpose of this report. cellulose. Polylactic acid (PLA) 4. Polysacharides such as starch are the most prevalent naturally biodegradable polymer in commercial use. Novamont produces several different classes of Mater-Bi. i. Thus the hydrophilic/hydrophobic character of polymers greatly affects their biodegradability. 1.. 3. synthetic biodegradable polymers are only produced by mankind.2 Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers While natural polymers are produced by living organisms. Biodegradation reactions are the same for both. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) 3.3 Modiﬁed Naturally Biodegradable Polymers Over the last thirty years or so. 15 . The material obtained is suitable for producing ﬁlm and sheet. The starch is destructurised by applying sufﬁcient work and heat to almost completely destroy the crystallinity of amylose and amylopectine in the presence of macromolecules able to form a complex with amylose. such as protein.6.1 Naturally Biodegradable Polymers Natural polymers are produced in nature by all living organisms. are generally susceptible to biodegradation by the hydrolytic enzymes of microorganisms. The following sections discuss the chemical composition. typically enzyme-catalysed and produced in aqueous media. Starch based biodegradable polymers (including modiﬁed starch blends) 2.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers 3.e. It also has a great impact on their performance and durability in humid conditions.6. properties and production of each biodegradable polymer type in more detail. foams and injection moulding. all containing starch with different classes of synthetic components such as polycaprolactone (PCL). four classes of commercially available biodegradable polymers are examined. Biodegradation reactions are typically enzyme-catalysed and occur in aqueous media. many attempts have been made to improve the biodegradability of synthetic polymers by incorporating polysaccharide-derived materials. and starch.
the starch may be processed in a number of ways to improve its properties. This is because the short-branched amylopectin chains are able to form helical structures. Taking as an example corn. heat treatment and shear forces.7 Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymers In nature. wheat. Crosslinking inhibits granule swelling or gelatinisation and gives increased stability to acid. The kernel is ﬁrst softened by steeping it in a dilute acid solution. potato. The most important industrial sources of starch are corn. Starch is unique among carbohydrates because it occurs naturally as discrete granules. The starch slurry is then washed in a centrifuge. modiﬁed starch and fermented starch polymers. The melting point of native starch is higher than the thermal decomposition temperature: hence the poor thermal stability of native starch and the need for conversion to starch-based materials with a much-improved property proﬁle. both in Europe and the USA. physical and chemical properties of starch. which crystallise. then ground coarsely to split the kernel and remove the oil-containing germ. The production of starch polymers begins with the extraction of starch. as well as change other rheological.Biodegradable Polymers 3. its crystalline structure has to be destroyed by pressure. Chemically modiﬁed starch may be used directly or palletised or otherwise dried for conversion to a ﬁnal product. in which two hydroxyl groups or neighbouring starch molecules are linked chemically is also a form of chemical modiﬁcation. Crosslinking. and can be soluble or insoluble in water as well as insensitive to humidity. To make starch thermoplastic. Very low levels of chemical modiﬁcation can signiﬁcantly improve hydrophilicity. the availability of starch is just second to cellulose. which can either be processed alone or in combination with speciﬁc synthetic polymers. Degradation or incineration of starchbased products recycles atmospheric carbon dioxides trapped by starch-producing plants and does not increase potential global warming. Either prior. Three main families of starch polymer can be used: pure starch. heat. Crystalline starch beads in plastics can be used as ﬁllers or can be transformed into thermoplastic starch. there has been a signiﬁcant reduction in the price of corn and potato starch. starch is extracted from the kernel by wet milling. or subsequent to the drying step. Starch is totally biodegradable in a variety of environments and thus permits the development of totally degradable products for speciﬁc market demands. High starch content plastics are highly hydrophilic and readily disintegrate when in contact with water. The most relevant achievements in this sector are related to thermoplastic starch polymers resulting from the processing of native starch by chemical. thermal and mechanical means. Starch granules exhibit hydrophilic properties and strong intermolecular association via hydrogen bonding due to the hydroxyl groups on the granule surface. tapioca and rice. Modiﬁed starch is starch that has been treated with chemicals so that some hydroxyl groups have been replaced by for example ester or ether groups. The addition of chemicals leading to alteration of the structure of starch is generally described as ‘chemical modiﬁcation’. dewatered and dried. starch is based on crystalline beads of about 15-100 microns in diameter. Such properties explain the leading position of starch-based materials in the biodegradable polymer ﬁeld. mechanical work or use of plasticisers. 16 . and to its complexation to other co-polymers. In the last decade. The lower price and greater availability of starch associated with its very favourable environmental proﬁle aroused a renewed interest in development of starch-based polymers as an alternative to polymers based on petrochemicals. In nature. The resulting materials show properties ranging from the ﬂexibility of polyethylene to the rigidity of polystyrene.
The slurry mainly consists of starch. intermeshing twin-screw extruder. foam for industrial packaging. In this case the raw material is a potato waste slurry originating from the food industry. The co-rotating. Novamont offers a wide range of materials divided into ﬁve product families by processing technology.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers Starch can also be modiﬁed by fermentation as used in the Rodenburg process. self-cleaning screw on these machines prevents caking and churning of cooked starch. The rheology of starch/PCL blends depends on the extent of starch granule destruction and the formation of thermoplastic starch during extrusion. Also. agricultural ﬁlm products. laminated paper. the slow crystallisation of the polymer causes the properties to change with time. but enhance the extrudate-swell properties of the polymer. ﬁlm wrapping. foaming and tyre technology. Starch can be destructured in the presence of more hydrophobic polymers such as aliphatic polyesters. Aliphatic polyesters with low melting points are difﬁcult to process by conventional techniques such as ﬁlm blowing and blow moulding. Starch exists as granular beads of about 15-100 microns in diameter that can be compounded with another synthetic polymer as a ﬁller. However. Films such as polycaprolactones (PCL) are tacky as extruded and have a low melt strength (over 130 °C). The slurry is held in storage silos for about two weeks to allow for stabilisation and partial fermentation. Starch can be made thermoplastic by using technology very similar to extrusion cooking. These are ﬁlm. Extrusion processing plays a large role in establishing the polymer properties. Mater-Bi products are mainly used in speciﬁc applications where biodegradability is required. The product is subsequently dried to a ﬁnal water content of 10% and then extruded. extrusion/thermoforming. containers and plates. Temperature and pressure conditions are such that the starch is destructurised and the composition forms a thermoplastic melt. inorganic components and cellulose. fats and oils. under special heat and shear conditions during extrusion it can be transformed into an amorphous thermoplastic by a process known as destructurising. The most important fermentation process that occurs is the conversion of a small fraction of starch to lactic acid by mans of the lactic acid bacteria that are naturally present in the feedstock. Increasing the heat and shear intensities can reduce the melt viscosity. slow release devices and hygiene products. Starch/aliphatic polyester compositions are prepared by blending a starch-based component and an aliphatic polyester in a co-rotating. The resulting material has an interpenetrated or partially interpenetrated structure. • • • • • Use performance similar to traditional plastics Processing performance similar or better than traditional plastics Wide range of mechanical properties from soft and tough material to rigid Antistatic behaviour Compostability in a wide range of composting conditions 17 . Examples include composting bags and sacks. Addition of starch has a nucleating effect. Novamont is easily market leader for starch-based biodegradable plastics. the rest being proteins. injection moulding. Starch-based polymers have been the most studied class of biodegradable polymer for their extrusion characteristics. Blending starch with aliphatic polyesters improves processability and biodegradability. which increases the rate of crystallisation. Under the Mater-Bi trade name. foodservice products such as single serve cups. Mater-Bi is characterised by the following properties.
Biodegradable Polymers Other leading starch-based biodegradable polymer manufacturers are Biotec and BIOP Biopolymers. PHB (or poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (P(3HB))) is the most common type of PHA produced and is an example of a short chain length homopolymer produced by A. A higher degree of unsaturation increases the rubber qualities of a polymer. as it is stiff. Various waste materials are also being considered for potential carbon sources for PHA production. brittle and hard to process. This has led to an increased interest to produce heteropolymers with improved qualities. 18 . type of functional group and degree of unsaturated bonds. The carbon source available to a microorganism is one of the factors (others being the PHA synthase substrate speciﬁcity and the types of biochemical pathways available) that determine the type of PHA produced. There are many different types of PHA.5 carbon monomers (C3-C5) produced by bacterium Alcaligenes eutrophus (plus others) Long chain length PHAs • • consist of 6 carbon . Following the sale of the ﬁlm business to Novamont in 2000. BIOP Biopolymer Technologies offers a starch-based material comprising an additive consisting of a vinyl alcohol/vinyl acetate copolymer. These can be broadly subdivided into two groups: Short chain length PHAs • • consist of 3 carbon . PHA can be produced using renewable carbon sources such as sugars and plant oils. including whey. the carbon source signiﬁcantly contributes to the ﬁnal cost. PHAs are mainly composed of R-(-)-3-hydroxyalkanoic acid monomers.8 Polyhydroxyalkanoates Polyhydroxyalkonates (PHA) is a term given to a family of aliphatic polyesters produced by microorganisms that are fully biodegradable. and different functional groups change the physical and chemical properties of a polymer. distinctly characterised by chain length. but most are synthesised by short chain length monomers. Biotec offers starch-based materials for foodservice products and pharmaceutical applications. They offer a wide array of physical properties that can range from stiff and brittle plastics to elastomers. eutrophus. An attractive feature of PHAs is the ability to produce them using renewable carbon resources. sold under the Biopar trade name (4). PHB has poor physical properties for commercial use. 3.14 carbon monomers (C6-C14) produced by Pseudomonas oleovorans (plus others) Each type of PHA generally consists of 1000-10000 monomers. For industrial scale production. This makes the carbon source one of the most important components in the production of PHA and is therefore a prime target for potential cost reduction. molasses and starch.
notably by ICI in the 1980s and early 1990s. In recent years. and by Monsanto in the mid 1990s. PHB is also biocompatible. making it more suitable for commercial production. Degradation appears to be the fastest under conditions of high temperatures and mechanical disruption. heteropolymer. The production of biodegradable polymers using carbon as the starting material can be carried out using a 3-stage or a 2-stage process. There were a number of efforts to commercialise PHA.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers Biopol. On the other hand. these attempts were largely unsuccessful due to the high cost and very limited processability and properties. the 2-stage process can be more cost effective provided that excellent producers of PHA are identiﬁed and the fermentation process is highly optimised. At present. Compared to the 3-stage process of polymer production. meaning it is a metabolite normally present in blood. which both specialise in PHA materials development. including: Food packaging Single-serve cups and other disposable foodservice items Houseware Appliances Electrical and electronics Consumer durables Agriculture and soil stabilisation Adhesives. The broad range of properties offered by PHA make them useful for a wide variety of applications. increasing its value. the 2-stage process involves the direct conversion of plant sugars and plant oils into polymer by microorganisms. P(3HB-3HV) is less stiff. It can also be degraded through nonenzymatic hydrolysis. the biosynthesis of PHA is largely carried out through the 2-stage process. The 3-stage process involves utilisation of plant sugars derived from photosynthetically ﬁxed CO2 as carbon sources in the fermentation of organic acids. Inexpensive plant oils have been found to be an excellent carbon source for the efﬁcient production of PHA. alcohols and amino acids. these deﬁciencies have been largely overcome most notably by Metabolix and by Procter & Gamble’s Nodax business unit. tougher. However. is a leading example of an improved poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co3-hydroxyvalerate). produced by Metabolix. Examples of polymers using the 3-stage process include polylactic acid and polybutylene succinate. Compared to PHB. and easier to process. P(3HB-3HV). PHB is a completely biodegradable polymer and degrades through various types of bacteria and fungi to carbon dioxide and water through secreting enzymes. It is also water resistant and impermeable to oxygen. These substances are then used as building blocks for the chemical synthesis of polymers. paints and coatings Automotive Medical (bone plates and surgical sutures) 19 .
whereby two lactic acid molecules are converted into one cyclic molecule called a lactide. PLA is a non-volatile. The starting material for polylactic acid is starch from a renewable resource such as corn. the focus was initially on the manufacture of medical grade sutures. Dextrose is turned into lactic acid using fermentation. Corn is milled. It is a highly versatile material and is made from 100% renewable resources like corn. wheat and other starchrich products. Poly(dl-lactide) (DLPLA) is an amorphous polymer exhibiting a random distribution of both isomeric forms of lactic acid. Turning the lactic acid into a polymer involves a chemical process called condensation. it is resistant to moisture and grease. PLA is about 37% crystalline. a scientist for DuPont. after further reﬁnements. A wide range of products that vary in molecular weight and crystallinity can be produced. odourless polymer and is classiﬁed as GRAS (generally recognised as safe) by the US Food and Drug Administration. produced a low molecular weight product by heating lactic acid under a vacuum. which makes it suitable for a variety of applications. A solvent-free melt process causes the ring-shaped lactide polymers to open and join end-to-end to form long chain polymers. PLA compares well with petrochemical-based plastics used for packaging. Polylactic acid can be made with different mechanical properties suitable for speciﬁc manufacturing processes. It is clear and naturally glossy like polystyrene. Polylactic acid has been around for many decades. Unreﬁned dextrose is then processed from the starch. sugar beet. Recently. higher elongation. The degradation time of LPLA is much slower than that of DLPLA. Due to high costs. Polylactide (PLA) polymer chemistry stems from lactide. requiring more than two years to be completely absorbed. such as injection moulding. DuPont patented Carothers’ process. The homopolymer of l-lactide (LPLA) is a semicrystalline polymer.Biodegradable Polymers 3. In 1954. Wallace Carothers. implants and controlled drug release applications. This lactide is puriﬁed through vacuum distillation. Copolymers of l-lactide and dl-lactide have been developed prepared to disrupt the crystallinity of l-lactide and accelerate the degradation process. there have been advances in fermentation of glucose. 20 . d and l. sheet extrusion. thermoforming. ﬁlm forming and ﬁbre spinning using most conventional techniques and equipment. which turns the glucose into lactic acid. This has dramatically lowered the cost of producing lactic acid and signiﬁcantly increased interest in the polymer. which is the cyclic dimer of lactic acid that exists as two optical isomers. and accordingly is unable to arrange into an organised crystalline structure. The tensile strength and modulus of elasticity of PLA is also comparable to PET. similar to that used by beer and wine producers. In 1932. and a much more rapid degradation time. blow moulding. allowing the PLA to be modiﬁed for a variety of applications. and dl-lactide is the synthetic blend of d-lactide and l-lactide.9 Polylactic Acid Polyesters Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable polymer derived from lactic acid. PLA can be formulated to be either rigid or ﬂexible and can be co-polymerised with other materials. This material has lower tensile strength. it has ﬂavour and odour barrier characteristics similar to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). with a melting point of 175-178 °C and a glass-transition temperature of 60-65 °C. l-lactide is the naturally occurring isomer. which separates starch from the raw material. Polylactic acid exhibits many properties that are equivalent to or better than many petroleum-based plastics.
extrusion coating. It is claimed these offer comparable organoleptic properties to glass and PET making it suitable for a variety of short shelf-life food and beverage bottling applications. transparent food containers. straws. a property that gives it stability at temperatures up to 130 °C. use conventional processing techniques and equipment. bicomponent. following the sale by Dow Chemicals of its share in the joint venture to Cargill Inc. These polymers are offered in common pellet form. Grades designed for extrusion coating on paper. The main types of NatureWorks PLA that are available for packaging applications include general purpose ﬁlm grades.. It began production of pilot plant quantities in 1992 and in 1997 formed a joint venture with Dow Chemical Company. Paper and board coated in this resin can be heat-sealed on typical equipment. food service ware. Clear extrusion sheet grades are designed for extrusion and thermoforming applications. including many applications in the textile and medical industries as well as the packaging industry. good machinability and excellent twist and dead fold characteristics. hot and cold drinking cups. lawn and leaf bags. extrusion and thermoforming grades and injection stretch blow moulding. and like other NatureWorks’ PLA polymers. Polylactic acid based ﬁbres have various attributes that make them attractive for many traditional applications.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers Cargill. Cargill Dow now trades as NatureWorks LLC. They also offer low ﬂammability and smoke generation characteristics. process easily on conventional extrusion coating equipment at a lower melt extrusion temperature than polyethylene coatings according to the company. frozen vegetable packaging. and cold drink cups. It is easily converted into a variety of ﬁbre forms using conventional melt-spinning processes. Inc. The joint venture is dedicated to further commercialising PLA polymers and formally launched NatureWorksTM PLA technology in 2001. These polymers tend to be stable to ultraviolet light resulting in fabrics that show little fading. which should allow for rapid adoption with conventional extruders. PLA is available in grades suitable for manufacture of injection stretch blow moulded bottles. have a lower density. Shrinkage of PLA materials and thermal bonding temperatures are easily controllable. and liquid food packaging. in 2005. these resins offer excellent optical properties. 21 . creating Cargill Dow Polymers LLC. They also offer a biaxially oriented ﬁlm for high temperature applications (150 °C). Nebraska in 2002. PLA polymers are more hydrophilic than PET. Polylactic acid also has many potential uses in ﬁbres and non-wovens. continuous (ﬂat and textured) and stable ﬁbres are all easily produced. Cargill began researching PLA production technology in 1987. The general purpose ﬁlm grade is ‘biaxially oriented’. According to NatureWorks. blister packs. Construction was completed on a large-scale PLA manufacturing facility in Blair. fried food boxes. Spunbound and meltblown nonwovens as well as monocomponent. Potential uses include dairy containers. NatureWorks LLC is also developing grades for microwavable packaging and bottles for packaging oxygen sensitive food and beverages using barrier-enhanced PLA. Potential applications for these grades include. was one of the ﬁrst companies to extensively develop polylactic acid polymers. and have excellent crimp and crimp retention. Incorporated. picnic plates. Polylactic acid has many potential uses. bowls.
compatibilisers. diapers. and for resorbable sutures (eye surgery. orthodontics. PCL is predominantly used as a component in polyester/starch blends such as 22 .10 Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers Polyesters have played a prominent part in the development of biodegradable polymers. called polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB). copolymers of ε-caprolactone with dl-lactide have yielded materials with more rapid degradation rates. Furthermore.e. conjunctional surgery. and can be regulated by use of different formulations and the addition of radicals on its chains. having been in use for over 25 years. a product made from PLA can be broken down into its simplest parts so that no sign of the original product remains. feminine hygiene products. ground covers). and UV resistant fabrics for exterior use (awnings. orthopaedic surgery. it has found applications in sustained release drug delivery systems. surgery of the chest and abdomen). 3. With proper equipment. PLA polymers are fully compostable in commercial composting facilities. Since PLA can be assimilated by the body. PLA can be converted back to monomer. pharmaceutical and bioabsorption characteristics are dependent on controllable parameters such as chemical composition and molecular weight of the polymer. it can be assimilated by a biological system. its mechanical properties and absorbability make PLA polymer an ideal candidate for implants in bone or soft tissue (facial traumatology. polylactic acid has become an important material.10.Biodegradable Polymers Major applications for PLA ﬁbres and non-wovens include clothing and furnishings such as drapes. One of the ﬁrst products developed as a biodegradable plastic in the early 1970s was based on a polyester belonging to the polyhydroxyalknoates (PHA) group. The time frame for resorption of the polymer may be anything from just a few weeks to a few years. Alternatively. copolymers have been synthesised to accelerate the rate of bioabsorption. The mechanical. Polylactic acid is a biodegradable. Polycaprolactone aliphatic polyesters have long been available from companies such as Solvay and Union Carbide (now Dow Performance Chemicals) for use in adhesives. upholstery and covers. For example. At the end of a PLA-based product’s life cycle. modiﬁers and ﬁlms as well as medical applications. carbon dioxide and organic material. In the ﬁeld of biomedical devices. PLA can be biodegraded into water. 3. which then can be converted back into polymers.1 Polycaprolactone (PCL) The ring-opening polymerisation of ε-caprolactone yields a semicrystalline polymer with a melting point of 59-64 °C and a glass transition temperature of -60 °C. The polymer is regarded as tissue compatible and was originally used in the medical ﬁeld as a biodegradable suture in Europe. From a commercial point of view the most important synthetic biodegradable aliphatic polyester was traditionally polycaprolactone (PCL). disposable garments. Some interesting potential applications include household and industrial wipes. bioresorbable polymer. Beside the natural polyesters a number of synthetic aliphatic polyesters have also been shown to be biodegradable. These materials have low melting points and high prices (€4-7 per kg in 2005). Because the homopolymer has a degradation time of the order of two years. ophthalmology. i. local implants for controlled release of anti-cancer drugs)..
This material has approximately 55% crystallinity. with a glass-transition temperature of -10 to 0 °C. providing an advantage over other products for slow-healing wounds. the exceptions are highly ﬂuorinated organics such as hexaﬂuoroisopropanol. Nowadays. Copolymers of glycolide with both l-lactide and dl-lactide have been developed for both device and drug delivery applications. 3. it is not soluble in most organic solvents. The monoﬁlament loses 50% of its initial breaking strength after three weeks and is absorbed within six months. with a high melting point (220-225 °C) and a glass transition temperature of 35-40 °C. Glycolide monomer is synthesised from the dimerisation of glycolic acid. boosts melt strength. It is important to note that there is not a linear relationship between the copolymer composition and the mechanical and degradation properties of the materials. known as PDS (marketed by Ethicon). Sutures of PGA lose about 50% of their strength after two weeks and 100% at four weeks. ethylene glycol and 1. A copolymer of 90% glycolide and 10% l-lactide was developed by Ethicon as an absorbable suture material under the trade name Vicryl. For example. Aliphatic polyesters based on natural feedstock such lactic acid are also being produced on a commercial scale by companies such as NatureWorks LLC. and are completely absorbed in 4 to 6 months. Caprolactone limits moisture sensitivity. it is possible to co-polymerise the two monomers to extend the range of homopolymer properties. Because of its high degree of crystallisation. marketed as Dexon in the 1960s by Davis and Geck. Inc. adipate.4butanediol are being produced.4 Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) Using the polyglycolide and poly(l-lactide) properties as a starting point. Ring-opening polymerisation yields high molecular-weight materials.2 Polyglycolide (PGA) Polyglycolide is the simplest linear aliphatic polyester.10. It absorbs within 3 to 4 months but has a slightly longer strength retention time. PGA was used to develop the ﬁrst totally synthetic absorbable suture. 23 . PGA ﬁbres exhibit high strength and modulus and are too stiff to be used as sutures except in the form of braided material. Other types of synthetic biopolymers that have been in use for medical applications for a number of years are polyglycolide. Copolymers of l-lactide with 25-70% glycolide are amorphous due to the disruption of the regularity of the polymer chain by the other monomer. with approximately 1-3% residual monomer present. a copolymer of 50% glycolide and 50% dl-lactide degrades faster than either homopolymer. polydioxanone and poly(lactide-co-glycolide). The polymer should be processed at the lowest possible temperature to prevent depolymerisation back to monomer.10. 3.3 Poly(dioxanone) (a polyether-ester) The ring-opening polymerisation of p-dioxanone resulted in the ﬁrst clinically tested monoﬁlament synthetic suture.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers Mater-Bi as produced by Novamont. various aliphatic copolyesters based on succinate. and helps plasticise the starch. 3. Poly(dioxanone) has demonstrated no acute or toxic effects on implantation.10. PGA is highly crystalline (45-55%). Glycolide has been copolymerised with other monomers to reduce the stiffness of the resulting ﬁbers.
35 g/cc density and 195 °C melting point versus 250 °C for PET. Modiﬁcation of the basic co-polyester lead to a ﬂexible material. the degradation mechanism is described as an initial attack of water to the special monomers. For example. Eastar Bio co-polyesters have a melting point of 108 °C and offer good contact clarity. Comparable to PLA. adipic acid and 1. and paper coatings. most of the aliphatic polyesters presently commercially used for biodegradable materials exhibit serious disadvantages. netting. Tests also showed no toxic effects of degradation intermediates. agricultural ﬁlm. ﬂowerpots and bottles. The content of terephthalic acid in the polymer is approximately 42-45 mol% (with regard to the dicarboxylic monomers). and meat wraps. The biodegradation of Ecoﬂex ﬁlm was tested under composting conditions. After 100 days in a composting environment more than 90% of the carbon in the polymer was converted to carbon dioxide. Beside the relatively high price level. They have high moisture and grease resistance. Biomax 6962 has 1. diaper backing. resulting in higher service temperature capability and faster processing rates than for other biodegradables. which are sensitive to hydrolysis. DuPont’s Biomax product is a standard PET with the addition of three aliphatic monomers to allow degradation to take place. and elongation (up to 800%). BASF claims its materials also make ﬁlms with 50% lower moisture vapour transmission rate (MVTR) than other biodegradable polymers. properties are often limited and exclude these materials from many applications. which is especially suitable for ﬁlm applications. Eastar Bio (now owned by Novamont) is also based on a co-polyester composed of terephthalic acid. adhesion. Ecoﬂex is said to have high toughness and good cling properties. Degradation of Eastar Bio was tested under composting conditions: after 210 days of composting about 80% of the polymer carbon was released as carbon dioxide. fruit. Although it appears that Biomax sufﬁciently disintegrates under composting conditions.4-butanediol. DuPont has targeted fastfood disposable packaging. The F (ﬁlm) version imparts high elongation and dart impact and yields clear ﬁlms that weld and print easily. But these polymers are biologically inert and thus not directly applicable as biodegradable plastics. but due to some special modiﬁcations the material properties are different. For conventional technical applications aromatic polyesters such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) are widely used. Eastar Bio is used in lawn-and-garden bags. masterbatches can ﬁne-tune the feel of Ecoﬂex ﬁlms from soft to HDPE-like stiffness. Ecoﬂex reportedly processes easily and has a melting point of 110-115 °C and other properties equal or close to those of LDPE. BASF says. adipic acid and 1. and process much like LDPE. as well as yard-waste bags. PCL has a very low melting point of about 60 ºC. That makes it possible for 10 micron cling ﬁlms to replace vinyl in vegetable. BASF’s Ecoﬂex is based on a co-polyester from terephthalic acid. agricultural ﬁlms. the process of decomposition of the material was too slow to meet accepted standards. Mechanical properties include high stiffness and 40% to 50% elongation. Combining both the excellent material properties of aromatic polyesters and the potential biodegradability of aliphatic polyesters has led to the development of a number of commercially available aliphatic-aromatic co-polyesters over the last decade or so.Biodegradable Polymers However. 24 .4-butanediol.
Excessively high processing temperatures may result in monomer formation during the moulding or extrusion process. Synthetic biodegradable polyesters tend to complement one another’s properties. NatureWorks PLA tends to be brittle and has poor adhesion. these materials should be processed at the lowest temperatures possible. Blown ﬁlm is one of the most common methods of ﬁlm manufacture (also referred to as tubular ﬁlm extrusion). EnPol polymers meet the speciﬁcations of the US Food & Drug Administration for food contact applications and the USP speciﬁcations for medical device applications. blowing and casting. is ﬂexible and tough. for instance. followed by ‘bubble-like’ expansion. compression moulding.2 Film Blowing and Casting There are two main processes used commercially for making ﬁlm from thermoplastics. The presence of excess monomer can act as a plasticiser. as well as those of PLA. thermoplastic starch. The biodegradation of EnPol polymers was tested in a controlled laboratory composting test and showed that within 45 days a carbon dioxide evolution of more than 90% of the carbon present in the co-polyester was detected. The principal advantages of manufacturing ﬁlm by this process include the ability to: • • produce tubing (both ﬂat and gussetted) in a single operation regulation of ﬁlm width and thickness by control of the volume of air in the bubble.4-butanediol.11 Processing Biodegradable Polymers 3. and other organic materials. a thermodynamic equilibrium exists between the forward or polymerisation reaction and the reverse reaction that results in monomer formation. with good contact clarity and adhesion properties. 3.1 Introduction All commercially available biodegradable polymers can be melt processed by conventional means such as injection moulding. Partly because of their cost. In contrast.11. Care must be taken to dry the polymers before processing and to rigorously exclude humidity during processing. The process involves extrusion of a plastic through a circular die. Eastar Bio. Therefore.11. thus altering degradation kinetics.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers EnPol from Korea’s IRe Chemicals are based on a group of aliphatic co-polyesters comprising adipic acid. and can catalyze the hydrolysis of the device.2-ethanediol or 1. 3. and extrusion. and a tendency to stick in injection moulds. the output of the extruder and the speed of the haul-off 25 . 1. succinic acid. Blends of the two are a logical way to increase the performance envelope of both materials. biodegradable polyesters are ﬁnding much of their market in blends. poor melt strength. Special consideration needs to be given to the exclusion of moisture from the material before melt processing to prevent hydrolytic degradation. changing the material’s mechanical properties. Because most biodegradable polymers have been synthesised by ring-opening polymerisation. Its deﬁcits are relatively low stiffness.
According to NatureWorks. LDPE and LLDPE) are the most common resins in use. or form-ﬁll-and-seal packaging ﬁlm).g.g. but a wide variety of other materials can be used as blends with these resins or as single layers in a multi-layer ﬁlm structure. The higher the melt temperature the better are the optical properties of the ﬁlm. The tube of ﬁlm then continues upwards. polymer morphology is very important. to form a thin walled tube. and the remaining weight percent being L-lactide. usually vertically. bag ﬁlm or container liners). The main difference from traditional PE ﬁlm is the lower welding temperatures. This is known as internal bubble cooling. a high-speed air ring blows onto the hot ﬁlm to cool it. The process for making a cast ﬁlm involves drawing a molten web of resin from a die onto a roll for controlled cooling. the expansion ratio between die and blown tube of ﬁlm would be 1. Blown ﬁlm can be used either in tube form (e. the tube of ﬁlm is made into bags by sealing across the width of ﬁlm and cutting or perforating to make each bag.. shrink ﬁlm.Biodegradable Polymers • • eliminate end effects such as edge bead trim and non uniform temperature that can result from ﬂat die ﬁlm extrusion capability of biaxial orientation (allowing uniformity of mechanical properties) The production process for blown ﬁlm begins with plastic melt being extruded through an annular slit die.g. stretch ﬁlm.. continually cooling. PLA ﬁlms with thicknesses of 8-510 microns have been obtained from commercial ﬁlm casting equipment. This gives blown ﬁlm a better balance of properties than traditional cast or extruded ﬁlm. The polymer molecular weight (MW) plays a role in its processability. shrink ﬁlm for transport packaging. Semi-crystalline PLA is suitable for processing into ﬁlms with desirable barrier properties. consumer packaging (e. therefore small to medium sized production lines with good cooling capacity are the best suited for processing starch-based ﬁlm. packaging bags. although modiﬁcations are often necessary.5 to 4 times the die diameter. If kept as lay-ﬂat.. This lay-ﬂat or collapsed tube is then taken back down the extrusion ‘tower’ via more rollers. Air is introduced via a hole in the centre of the die to blow up the tube like a balloon. until it passes through nip rolls where the tube is ﬂattened to create what is known as a ‘lay-ﬂat’ tube of ﬁlm. Mounted on top of the die. The melt temperature in the cast ﬁlm process is higher than in the blown ﬁlm process. the air inside the bubble is also exchanged. Most biodegradable polymers are suitable for ﬁlm blowing and casting. For example. Also. The lay-ﬂat ﬁlm is then either kept as such or the edges of the lay-ﬂat are slit off to produce two ﬂat ﬁlm sheets and wound up onto reels. starch-based Mater-Bi ﬁlms can be produced by ﬁlm blowing and casting equipment traditionally used for LDPE with little or no modiﬁcation. which is drawn down along the extrusion direction only. Film production productivity is reported to be 80-90% of LDPE. food wrap ﬁlm. for plastic bags and sacks) or the tube can be slit to form a sheet. Typically. The desired range of compositions for semi-crystalline PLA is less than 15 wt% meso-lactide. This is done either in line with the blown ﬁlm process or at a later stage. The cast ﬁlm process is used to make a ﬁlm with gloss and sparkle. packaging ﬁlm for frozen products. PLA can be difﬁcult to process into a ﬁlm due to instability at elevated processing temperatures. The drawdown between the melt wall thickness and the cooled ﬁlm thickness occurs in both radial and longitudinal directions and is easily controlled by changing the volume of air inside the bubble and by altering the haul off speed. and productivity may not be as high as conventional thermoplastics. 26 . Typical applications include packaging (e. melt stable PLA suitable for processing into ﬁlm can be made by controlling the polymer composition as well as adding stabilising or catalyst-destabilising agents. On higher output lines. Polyethylenes (HDPE.
4 Blow Moulding Thermoplastics can be moulded into articles by injection moulding or blow moulding. There are two main types of blow moulding. dependant on the material being processed.11. In what is known as the fountain ﬂow effect. and also acts as a ram during the injection phase. Most thermoplastics can be processed using injection moulding. injection blow moulding and extrusion blow moulding. combs and toys. which involves holding constrained oriented ﬁlm at temperatures above the glass transition temperature (Tg). PLA is a polymer that may not be well suited to injection moulding. The screw melts (plasticises) the polymer. The screw action also provides additional heating by virtue of the shearing action on the polymer. polypropylene. Orientation by drawing during ﬁlm casting or blowing or after it has cast or blown. 2. Most biodegradable polymers can be used for making injection moulded articles. The pressure of injection is high. Some of the most commonly used include ABS. It is a fast process and is used to produce large numbers of identical items from high precision engineering components to disposable consumer goods. rulers.3 Injection Moulding Injection moulding is one of the prime processes for producing plastics articles. The degree of crystallinity of injection moulded PHBV affects both the properties of the article as well as its biodegradability. Its rate of crystallisation is too slow to allow cycle times typical of those for commodity thermoplastics such as polystyrene. One example is the processing of poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (PHBV) into injection moulded articles. Heat setting. 3. Adding a plasticising agent such as dioctyl adipate. The difference in cooling rate and orientation causes a difference in the crystallisation between the material close to the surface and material closer to the core. NatureWorks has patented four methods to increase the rate of PLA crystallisation: 1. This result is also true for many other biodegradable polymers. Starch-based polymers are used to manufacture a wide range of items such as pencil sharpeners. plant pots and bones. polycarbonate and polystyrene. Blow moulding is the most common process for making hollow articles such as bottles. nylon. The injection moulding machine consists of a heated barrel equipped with a reciprocating screw (usually driven by a hydraulic motor). it can be up to one thousand atmospheres. hot melt ﬂows into a cold mould and quickly forms a frozen layer on the surface of the mould while material in the centre of the sample does not cool as quickly. It was found that the degree of crystallinity is a result of the processing history during the injection moulding process. Adding a nucleating agent such as talc. 27 .Overview of Biodegradable Polymers Crystallisation of a thermoplastic must occur within a few seconds for efﬁcient ﬁlm processing. 4. Stress induced crystallisation that can enhance PLA crystallisation is better suited to processes such as ﬁbre spinning or biaxial orientation of ﬁlm. which feeds the molten polymer into a temperature controlled split mould via a channel system of gates and runners. 3. 3.11. cartridges.
The preform and blow mould can have many cavities. which inﬂates into the ﬁnished article shape. Blowing: The preform mould opens and the core rod is rotated and clamped into the hollow. heated preform mould. After a cooling period the mould is opened and the ﬁnal article is ejected. there has been a growing interest from brand owners and retailers in the use of PLA for manufacture of stretch blow moulded bottles for short shelf-life products such as mineral water and milk.11. The preform mould forms the external shape and is clamped around a mandrel (the core rod) which forms the internal shape of the preform. which allow concurrent preform injection. blow moulding and ejection. 3. Ejection: After a cooling period the blow mould opens and the core rod is rotated to the ejection position. The mould mates closely at its bottom edge thus forming a seal. The main applications are bottles. The molten polymer is led through a right angle and through a die to emerge as a hollow (usually circular) pipe section called a parison. There are three sets of core rods. typically three to sixteen depending on the article size and the required output. The molten polymer is fed into a manifold where it is injected through nozzles into a hollow. The parison is cut at the top by a knife prior to the mould being moved sideways to a second position where air is blown into the parison to inﬂate it to the shape of the mould. To speed production several identical moulds may be fed in cycle by the same extruder unit. The preform consists of a fully formed bottle/jar neck with a thick tube of polymer attached. 28 . For extrusion blow moulding. chilled blow mould. in that the molten material is forced into a mould under air pressure. which will form the body. 3. The core rod opens and allows compressed air into the perform. The process is not unlike that used for producing glass bottles. The ﬁnished article is stripped off the core rod and leak-tested prior to packing. 2. The process is ideal for both narrow and wide-mouthed containers and produces them fully ﬁnished with no ﬂash. PET is the most widely used polymer for injection stretch blow moulding of bottles. After a set time the injection moulds and core pins part and the preform held in a neck carrier is rotated 90°. During the last two years. The ISBM process is divided into four stages. The process is divided into three stages: 1. When the parison has reached a sufﬁcient length a hollow mould is closed around it.5 Injection Stretch Blow Moulding Injection stretch blow moulding (ISBM) is used for the production of high quality and high clarity containers. jars and other containers. to produce the desired shape of the preform with a mandrel (the core pin) producing the inner diameter and the injection cavity the outer. Injection: The injection blow moulding machine is based on an extruder barrel and screw assembly which melts the polymer. the blow moulding machine is based on a standard extruder barrel and screw assembly to plasticise the polymer.Biodegradable Polymers Injection blow moulding is used for the production of hollow objects in large quantities. Injection: Molten polymer ﬂows into the injection cavity via the hot runner block. 1. The Injection blow moulding process produces bottles of superior visual and dimensional quality compared to extrusion blow moulding.
CPET. polypropylene. bakery and patisserie packaging. including polystyrene. The process is invariably automated and faster cycle times are achieved than in the vacuum forming process. To ensure a good and consistent quality of container. Only thermoplastic sheet can be processed by this method. Other industries include toiletries. EVOH is commonly incorporated into a co-extrusion for its superior barrier properties in food. The modern food supply chain uses many forms of thermoformed articles. 3. The line is fed with plastics raw material.6 Thermoforming Thermoforming has close similarities with vacuum forming. Larger production units have in house sheet extrusion equipment. the extruded sheet being produced in advance of production schedules. 4. Starch-based biodegradable polymers can also be thermoformed for production of trays and containers for packaging fresh food and convenience food. It then indexes to the forming station where the mould tools are located. except that greater use is made of air pressure and plug assisted forming of the softened sheet. Co-extrusions of these materials are commonly used to provide precise properties for speciﬁc applications. ice cream and margarine tubs. PLA is ﬁnding growing use for manufacture of thermoformed articles such as single-use disposable cups and trays. Stretching: Once conditioned to the correct temperature the preform is ready for stretching and blowing to the ﬁnished shape. 3. closed loop system can be justiﬁed. Heating is employed to achieve this conditioning. Because of the complexities in synchronising sheet extrusion equipment and the thermoforming machines. it is of varying temperatures throughout its wall thickness. Other non-food applications include manufacturing collation trays. particularly for outdoor events. moisture and gases. APET.11. with extruders feeding directly into the thermoforming machine. microwave and deep freeze containers. the preform needs a uniform temperature. Many thermoplastics can be thermoformed. With very large volumes a fully integrated in-line. pharmaceuticals and electronics. and PVC. Sheet fed machines are used for the smaller volume applications. The majority of thermoforming production is by roll fed machines. In terms of biodegradable polymers. delicatessen tubs. The plastic sheet is softened at the heating station. the two processes can be carried out independently of each other. The forming of the sheet is by a combination of air pressure and male core 29 . a stretch rod is introduced to stretch the preform longitudinally and using two levels of air pressure.Overview of Biodegradable Polymers 2. meat trays. Blowing: Once the preform is within the blow mould area the moulds close. blister packaging and point of sale display trays. The largest application for thermoformed articles is for food packaging. sandwich packs and vending drink cups are just a few of the food related applications. hence the use of plastics with superior barrier properties. snack tubs. the preform is blown circumferentially. The demands of the food packaging industry are for materials which resist the passage of odours. Conditioning: Because the preform has been cooled in the injection station quickly.
plugs. Certain designs of thermoforming tool facilitate the cropping of the article being formed within the thermoforming tool. Greater accuracy of cut can be achieved by this method due to the article being produced, and the skeletal (scrap), not having to be re-positioned. Alternatives are where the formed sheet, including skeletal, are indexed to the cropping station. The high volumes of articles being produced demand that a parts stacker is integrated into the forming machine. Once stacked the ﬁnished articles are now packed into boxes for transportation to the end customer. The separated skeletal is either wound onto a mandrill, for subsequent chopping, or passes through a chopping machine which is in line with the thermoforming machine.
3.11.7 Fibre Spinning
The most commonly used commercial processes for making ﬁbres are melt spinning, dry spinning and wet spinning. Melt spinning is the most economical, but can only be applied to polymers that are stable at temperatures sufﬁciently above their melting point to be extruded in the molten state without degradation. The properties of crystalline polymers can be improved when made into ﬁbre form by the process of orientation or drawing. The result is the increased strength, stiffness, and dimensional stability associated with synthetic ﬁbres. PLA is the most common type of biodegradable polymer found in ﬁbre form. PLA ﬁbre properties compare favourably with both PET and rayon ﬁbres. Conditions that the polymers are subject to during the spinning process impact on ﬁbre properties such as tensile strength and elongation. Polymer degradation can take place during the melt spinning process even when using dry polymer with less than 0.005% water content. Fibres produced by dry spinning undergo very slight degradation.
1. 2. 3. 4. Catia Bastioli, Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers, Rapra Technology Ltd, 2003, 5. Catia Bastioli, Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers, Rapra Technology Ltd, 2003, 11-13. Catia Bastioli, Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers, Rapra Technology Ltd, 2003, 20-22. Catia Bastioli, Handbook of Biodegradable Polymers, Rapra Technology Ltd, 2003, 257-260.
The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market
In 2005, there were very few biodegradable polymer production plants operating on a fully commercial scale. NatureWorks LLC, Novamont, Rodenburg Biopolymers and BASF are currently the only major operators with signiﬁcant production capacity. Nevertheless, the world biopolymers market has shown signiﬁcant growth during the last ﬁve years or so, albeit from a very small base. The major classes of biopolymer, starch and starch blends, polylactic acid (PLA) and aliphatic-aromatic co-polyesters, are now being used in a wide variety of niche applications, particularly for manufacture of rigid and ﬂexible packaging, bags and sacks and foodservice products. However, market volumes for biopolymers remain extremely low compared with standard petrochemical-based plastics. For example, biopolymer consumption accounted for just 0.14% of total thermoplastics consumption in Western Europe for 2005. This section reviews the major factors that are driving demand for biodegradable polymers in Western Europe and other major world regions. These include increasing concern for environmental protection, the encouragement of recycling and packaging waste reduction and the development of composting infrastructures in a growing number of countries. There has also been a narrowing in the price differential between biopolymers and standard thermoplastics in recent years, which has encouraged some brand owners to switch in favour of biopolymers. The section also provides an analysis of biodegradable polymer market size and growth over the last ﬁve years for the three major world regions (Western Europe, North America and Asia Paciﬁc), plus forecasts to 2010.
4.2 Market Drivers
4.2.1 Development of Framework Conditions
Biodegradable polymers can make a positive contribution to the conservation of the world’s natural resources and protection of the environment. However, their market potential will only be fulﬁlled if the required framework conditions are put in place to ensure the necessary investment in technology and production capacity. Framework conditions refer to the development of industry standards and regulatory systems, certiﬁcation and certiﬁcation systems that are designed to encourage biodegradable polymer market development. Biodegradable polymers are one answer to the growing problem of how to dispose of domestic waste materials. Waste management is becoming an increasingly important issue in Western Europe and most other developed countries, especially where there are few sites left that can be used for landﬁll. Since a high proportion of domestic waste is made of plastics, there is a growing interest in recycling plastics and in producing plastic materials that can be safely and easily disposed of in the environment.
Plastic recycling is a requirement of European Union countries. The European Commission Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste aims to prevent or minimise the impact of packaging waste on the environment through recovery and recycling targets. In 2002, the EU decided that the material-speciﬁc recycling quota for plastics was to be raised from 20% to 22.5%. The mechanical recycling quota for all the different material groups taken together is to be set at a minimum of 55% and a maximum of 80%. All participants in the supply chain, from polymer producers to retailers, have a ﬁnancial obligation under the directive for meeting the recycling targets. In December 2005, the EU proposed new legislation to modernise the 1975 Waste Framework Directive, which should give a further boost to the development of biodegradable polymers. The main elements of the proposals are: • • Focussing waste policy on improving the way resources are used; Mandatory national waste prevention programmes, which take account of the variety of national, regional and local conditions, to be ﬁnalised three years after entry into force of the directive; Improving the recycling market by setting environmental standards that specify under which conditions certain recycled wastes are no longer considered waste.
This long-term strategy aims to help Europe become a recycling society that seeks to avoid waste and uses waste as a resource. EU-wide statistics on waste treatment are available only for municipal waste, which represents about 14% of total waste produced. At present, 49% of EU municipal waste is disposed of through landﬁll, 18% is incinerated and 27% recycled or composted. There are wide discrepancies between Member States. Some landﬁll 90% of their municipal waste, others only 10%. The proportion of recycled municipal waste has been increasing, but this has been offset almost completely by an increase in municipal waste generation. As a result, landﬁll is only reducing slowly. For example, the amount of plastic waste going to landﬁll increased by 21.7% between 1990 and 2002, even though the percentage of plastic waste being landﬁlled dropped from 77% to 62%. Recycling of municipal waste nearly doubled between 1995 and 2003 and now accounts for 82.3 million tonnes per year. Incineration is slowly increasing and generates energy equivalent to 8 million tonnes of oil. Biodegradable materials are created speciﬁcally with recyclability or disposal in mind. Recycling techniques for post-consumer biodegradable plastic products have two important features, which distinguish them from conventional polymers: their biodegradability or compostability and the use of renewable resources in their manufacture. The established methods for biological waste recycling of biodegradable plastic products are composting and biogasiﬁcation. Biodegradable plastics can also be used for energy recovery by incineration and, like conventional polymers, they have a high caloriﬁc value. The end products of both processes are carbon dioxide and water. Composting additionally generates biomass, which contributes to the compost’s value as a fertiliser. Incineration generates ash and releases thermal energy. The material cycle can be closed in both scenarios with biodegradable plastics derived from renewable resources. The choice of recycling option depends primarily on the waste-disposal infrastructure already in place. The choice of recycling route will differ according to product group and region. The goal
The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market
should always be to obtain maximum recycling efﬁciency, both economically and environmentally, in compliance with waste legislation requirements. Composting is the most favoured method for recovery of post-consumer waste biodegradable plastic products, since incineration requires a high calorimetric value and landﬁll is not suitable for organic materials. Composting is already well established in some European countries, and is being established in others. The Netherlands and Germany are leading countries in the development of a composting infrastructure for biodegradable plastic products. In these countries, more than 95% and 60%, respectively, of all households have access to industrial composting plants. Containers (bio bins) are provided for the collection of organic household refuse. In the EU, organic matter makes up 30-40% of total domestic refuse. In Germany, about 500 plants convert more than six million tonnes of organic refuse into compost. Biodegradable plastic products must meet stringent quality criteria if they are to be composted. Dedicated standards and certiﬁcation schemes/tests have been established for verifying the compostability of plastic products. Compostable polymers must pass compostability test standards that are described in the harmonised European standard EN 13432, introduced in 2000. This standard applies to ‘Packaging’ and is virtually the same as the former DIN V 54900 standard. The German testing institute, Din Certco, is the body responsible for testing and certifying biodegradable and compostable polymers and products and licenses the use of the corresponding Mark developed by the IBAW, the European Biodegradable Polymers Association and Working Groups. Certiﬁcation enables compostable products to be identiﬁed by a unique mark and channelled for recovery of their constituent materials in specially developed processes. The Compostability Mark thus conveys product information to waste-disposal plant operators and product image to consumers. A certiﬁcation can be conducted according to three standards: • • DIN V 54900 ‘Testing of the compostability of plastics’ (replaced by DIN EN 13432. DIN EN 13432 ‘Packaging - Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation’ – Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the ﬁnal acceptance of packaging. ASTM D 6400 ’Standard Speciﬁcation for Compostable Plastics’.
Laboratory tests have to be performed for materials, intermediates and additives. In these tests the chemical properties are checked, the ultimate biodegradability is veriﬁed and the disintegration properties are determined. Chemical testing serves to ensure that neither harmful organic substances, such as polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and dioxins, nor heavy metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, pass into the soil via the compost. The method speciﬁed for the testing of biodegradability serves to verify the complete degradation of the materials within the processing period of normal composting plants. An ecological nontoxicity test that is also prescribed ensures that the plastics used have no adverse effect on the quality of the compost. Additionally the maximum compostable layer thickness is determined. If the results of the tests are in conformity with the standard(s) and/or the certiﬁcation scheme, the material, intermediate or additive is registered as biodegradable and compostable.
Products that have been manufactured from registered materials, intermediates and additives, may be certiﬁed, if they meet the maximum compostable layer thickness of the used materials or intermediates. Veriﬁcation tests are performed in order to verify that the same base materials as those declared on application for certiﬁcation are being used. For this purpose, infrared spectra are recorded and compared. The biodegradable plastics industry initiated the development of standards to protect biodegradable plastics suppliers from imitation products. The term ‘compostable’ could not be legally protected and can be abused by other product suppliers. For example, manufacturers of standard polymers, such as polyethylene, offer what they term ‘compostable grades’ for production of plastic bags. None of the additive containing PE products has so far provided compelling proof of compostability as set out in the stringent standards criteria. Polymeric materials whose organic constituents undergo complete biological degradation are termed biodegradable. Biodegradation is a process caused by biological activity that, accompanied by changes to the chemical structure of the material, leads to naturally occurring metabolic end products. The ambient conditions and the rate of biodegradation have to be determined in standardised test methods. The very fact that a material is biodegradable is not good enough on its own when it comes to industrial processes for recycling biodegradable products. Much more important is veriﬁable degradation within the typical timeframe of the method. Accordingly, the mentioned DIN standard deﬁnes compostability as the property of a polymeric material to degrade during a composting process. ‘Biologically degradable’ is therefore by no means equivalent to ‘compostable’. Since the term ‘compostable’ could not be protected by legal means and biodegradable plastic products cannot be distinguished from conventional polymers by their appearance, a certiﬁcation and identiﬁcation process was created with the support of the German Ministry for Consumer Protection, Agriculture and Forests. The certiﬁcation programme for compostable biodegradable plastic products has been set up by experts responsible for waste recycling and compost quality assurance. The members are as follows: • • Bundesgütegemeinschaft Kompost (German association for compost quality assurance) Bundesverband der deutschen Entsorgungswirtschaft (Association of the German wastemanagement industries) Bundesverband Humus- und Erdenwirtschaft e.V. (German association for humus and soil application) Bundesvereinigung der kommunalen Spitzenverbände (Association of German cities and municipalities) Deutscher Bauernverband (German farmers association) Industrieverband Kunststoffverpackungen (Association for plastic packaging) IBAW, the European Biodegradable Plastics Association
• • •
The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market
Industry associations have recognised the need for quality assurance measures as a means of counteracting the threats posed to the biodegradable plastics industry by other materials claiming to be biodegradable and compostable. IBAW has worked alongside the Biodegradable Polymers Institute (BPI) in the USA and the Biodegradable Polymer Society (BPS) in Japan to establish a harmonised certiﬁcation and labelling system at the international level. In 2005, the four leading European biodegradable plastics material suppliers: BASF, NatureWorks, Novamont and Rodenburg Polymers, have also agreed to submit their packaging materials and products for certiﬁcation by Din Certco under EN 13432, and label their packaging products with the compostability logo to better inform consumers and retailers. The biodegradable polymers industry is also slowly receiving more political support to bolster market development. The amended German Packaging Ordinance in December 2004, makes special provision for certiﬁed bio-packaging, i.e., packaging proven to be compostable. Up to 2012, certiﬁed biodegradable plastic packaging products need not be accepted as returns, nor are they subject to recycling quotas. The German Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture has also announced that the national budget allocated to research, development and market launches of renewable materials for 2005 has been virtually doubled to €54 million. In October 2005, the French National Assembly also boosted the prospects for biopolymers with a vote to ban production and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags from 2010. Food and industrial packaging will not be affected. The legislation is designed not only to combat littering but to provide farmers with a new source of income, growing starch-rich maize for packaging. France’s environment ministry estimates that some 15 billion plastic carrier bags, representing 60,000-80,000 tonnes of polymer are circulated in the country annually and that 120 million bags are discarded rather than being recycled.
4.2.2 Development of a Composting Infrastructure
For biodegradable polymers to achieve their full market potential, they should add greater functionality and productivity for the end user, if the relatively high prices are to be justiﬁed. So far there has been very limited development of an infrastructure for composting and thus the true beneﬁts from using biodegradable polymers are not being realised. Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles for the adoption of biodegradable and compostable materials has been the lack of kerb-side collection and municipal composting facilities, particularly in the USA and parts of Europe. Municipal composting would ‘complete the circle’ for materials such as biopolymers, which start as natural renewable resources and degrade back to useable compost material. The wider development of a composting infrastructure would permit a realisation of the marketing beneﬁts that seems to drive the adoption of sustainable materials. Over the last few years, European legislation has become the key driver for national and regional policy on composting. The targets for diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landﬁll set out in the European Landﬁll Directive (EC/31/1999) have led to signiﬁcant developments in composting infrastructures across Europe. The landﬁll directive is one of the most important environmental directives the European Parliament has dealt with in recent years. It marks the beginning of a major shift in waste management practice
Italy. source separation of organic residues from households. These are Austria. and the relevant government body in each nation is responsible for dividing the targets between local authorities who manage disposal. Spain and the United Kingdom. The Waste and Emissions Trading (WET) Act 2003 provides the framework for the Landﬁll Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) designed to meet the diversion targets laid down in Article 5(2) of the Landﬁll Directive. recycling and composting targets to improve performance in the management of household waste. In Germany. In England the aim is to achieve a combined recycling and composting rate of 33% of household waste by 2015. in Wales the target is 40% recycling and composting of municipal waste by 2010 (with a minimum of 15% from composting). Scotland and Northern Ireland. LATS is a market-based mechanism that introduces progressively tighter restrictions on the amount of paper. the directive calls for the establishment of European Union wide standards for proper management of landﬁlls. The national targets are divided between local authorities depending on individual performance. Secondly. Wales. the Household Waste Recycling Act (2003) requires all local authorities in England to provide kerbside collections for all householders for a minimum of two materials by 2010. Scotland has set municipal waste targets of 35% recycling and 20% composting by 2020. the introduction of LATS together with the ‘composting’ element of the waste strategy targets is likely to focus efforts on biodegradable municipal wastes. Germany and the Netherlands lead the way for separate collection of organic municipal waste for composting. They are under a duty not to exceed this allowance and face punitive ﬁnes for every tonne landﬁlled above the total amount of allowances they hold.Biodegradable Polymers in Europe. EU ﬁnes imposed on the UK for failure to meet the targets will be split between local authorities in direct proportion to their contribution in breaching the targets. For the public it represents the end of an era in which people have given very little thought to what happens to the waste they produce. Against this backdrop of waste strategy targets. 36 . Ireland. The UK targets have been divided up between England. In Europe. The three key features of the directive are ﬁrstly the promotion of the move away from landﬁll to more environmentally acceptable alternatives. These national targets aim to push waste further up the waste management hierarchy. it should result in the discouragement of the transport of waste across frontiers by removing the disparities between the practices and prices relating to landﬁll in the Member States. Finland. In the UK. Seven countries currently landﬁll more than half of the municipal waste they produce. and Northern Ireland has set a target for household waste of 25% recycling and composting by 2010. In the Netherlands. this directive poses a major challenge to the so-called ‘throwaway’ culture. Local authorities are allocated an annual landﬁll allowance for municipal biodegradable waste. gardens and parks (biowaste) is one of the main measures in waste management. For these countries in particular. Thirdly. Greece. The devolved nations have each set incremental recovery. The participation rate in source separation of biowaste is 70-75% of all German households. over 90% of households were involved in the separate collection system for organic waste. Whilst improving the performance levels for dry recyclables will continue to be important for authorities. food and garden waste that authorities can landﬁll. Under the Act kerbside collections of food waste as well as green waste will count as a type of recyclable (providing the waste collection authority does not levy a charge for green waste collections).
the Dutch regulations agreed to permit biodegradable materials in the ‘green bins’ for professional composting.3 Pricing Trends Recent upswings in the cost and declining availability of standard petroleum-based resins have brought biodegradable polymers to a price-competitive level versus petrochemical based polymers. starch-based biopolymers.0-5. have dropped considerably over the last three years.5-3. polylactic acid (PLA) and aliphatic aromatic co-polyester.5 per kg three years ago.1 shows the changes in average standard thermoplastic prices for the years 2003-2005 in Western Europe.5 31. The price of starch-based biopolymers has come down considerably over the last three years as production volumes have increased.7 At the same time. NatureWorks PLA has been price competitive with PET for example over the last twelve months as PLA manufacturing scale has increased and process improvements were made alongside the recent sustained higher levels of PET pricing.75 per kg compared to a price range of €3. Similarly. Western Europe (€/tonne) 2003 LDPE PP homo PS crystal PET bottle grade 851 798 882 1054 2004 1022 898 1101 1146 2005 1145 1051 1157 1241 % Change 2003-2005 34.1 Average standard thermoplastic prices 2003-2005. the average price of starch blends was around €3.2 17. 37 . PLA biodegradable polymer prices have fallen sharply over the last ﬁve years since the polymers were ﬁrst commercialised. with an average price close to €1.0 per kg.37-2. Commodity resin prices have climbed steadily since 2003 as oil and natural gas prices have surged.5 per kg. Table 4. only biodegradable shopping bags will be allowed in the green bins. As a ﬁrst step. more efﬁcient production processes have been deployed and lower cost raw materials have been found.7 31. In 2005.2.0-3. prices for three major types of bio-based resins. then retailers will be allowed to put products that have passed their sell by date direct into the green bins. thus saving on costs. without separating the content of the packaging.5% and bottle-grade PET prices have increased by nearly 18%.75 per kg. ‘Green bins’ are part of a system for separating household waste from ‘green’ or recyclable waste. the average price range of starch blends was down to €1. average PP homopolymer prices and general purpose polystyrene prices have jumped by over 31%. LDPE ﬁlm grade prices have gone up by 34. Table 4. In 2003. If the scheme proves a success. 4.The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market In 2003. During the period 2003-2005. NatureWorks PLA is now available at prices between €1.
Prices are expected to fall further over time as production volumes increase and unit costs fall. Biodegradable packaging is a natural ﬁt with organic products. in any event. 38 . This did not just apply to those consumers who usually buy organic produce. and other produce.15 for a carrier bag. in biodegradable packaging. as much as €0. which remain in ﬁelds after crops are harvested. drinks and personal care products. There is also growing evidence that brand owners and retailers are favouring greater use of sustainable packaging based on biodegradable materials rather than conventional plastics. and 87% said they would buy it again. There are no doubt good opportunities for companies to differentiate their products from those of the competition. However. a survey of 600 people in the town of Kassel. For a biodegradable yoghurt tub.Biodegradable Polymers The price of synthetic biopolymers has come down a little during the last three years. In 2001. Consumers also found the idea of potatoes wrapped in potato-based packaging a fascinating concept and many consumers appreciated that it represented progress. the average price of aliphatic aromatic co-polyesters was around €3. 4. Using materials such as corn stover. as resin feedstock.5-4. they would willingly pay an extra €0. Germany was conducted to determine the acceptability of biodegradable packaging to consumers. it was found that a higher surcharge would deter sales.2. the average cost of an aliphatic aromatic co-polyester biopolymer was between €2.10. In 2003. could also increase productivity and economic performance.75-3. However. one-third of consumers would be prepared to pay a surcharge.05. Historically. Such trends underline why concern about the environmental impact of food packaging has never been greater. The results of the Kassel project show that. A number of retailers are now offering organically grown fruit and vegetables. 4. which is a fast growing market. Datamonitor statistics for example. Single people spend 50% more per person on consumer-packaged goods than a two adult household. 80% of customers using biodegradable packaging classiﬁed the quality as either good or very good.0 per kg. Sustainable packaging presents an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to differentiate their products and to present a more environmentally-friendly image to consumers. provided it were compostable.5 Consumer Preference for Sustainable Packaging Consumers are in favour of a sustainable product development such as biodegradable plastics. Demographic trends are also encouraging growth in pre-packaged food sales. wheat straw and rice straw.2. instead of the current €0.65 per kg. pricing had been the biggest barrier to biodegradable polymer market development. The study revealed that about 90% considered the idea of replacing conventional plastic packaging by compostable packaging to be either good or very good.4 Growth in Pre-Packaged Food Sales The inexorable rise in pre-packaged disposable meals means that food manufacturers and packagers are increasingly being targeted to improve their environmental performances. growing volumes of production and the development of new technology should further allow bio-based resin makers to reduce costs. In 2005. show that more than one-third of European consumers live alone and are spending €140 billion a year on food.
6 Product and Technology Development During the last few years.The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market 4. introduced a new range of colour and additive masterbatches for biodegradable resins for the European market in 2005. there has been a stream of new product and technology development by leading biodegradable polymer suppliers that have opened up new markets and potential applications. PolyOne for example.000 tonnes. there are around 30 major companies worldwide that are actively involved in developing biodegradable plastic materials. The synthetic biopolymers market is dominated by large.000 tonnes. The starch and PLA sectors contain mainly specialist biopolymer companies such as Novamont.000 tonnes by 2008. Polylactide (PLA) is the leading polymer type among biodegradables with global production capacity for this material amounting to about 250. while offering a similar ease of processing in both bottle blowing and thermoforming processes. 39 . In the synthetic biodegradables sector. which were speciﬁcally established purely to develop biodegradable polymers. production was mainly on a pilot-plant basis with total worldwide capacity amounting to no more than 25-30. and Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals. In 2005. 4. Rodenburg Biopolymers and Biotec. It can also be microwaved with fatty and liquid foods. Toray Industries has developed a new technology for manufacture of PLA ﬂexible ﬁlm that has succeeded in containing the occurrence of bleeding out when faced with changes in temperature or pressure and displays highly stable ﬂexibility while not losing any of the superior features of PLA such as transparency.000 tonnes. NatureWorks.3 Market Development and Structure Global production capacity for biodegradable polymers has grown dramatically since the mid 1990s. Developments in additive formulations are also helping to improve processing efﬁciencies for biodegradable polymers. and biodegradability. a low-molecular-weight liquid plasticiser addition method has been used for achieving ﬂexible PLA ﬁlms. without distortion or stress cracking. Based on announced projects.000 tonnes per annum in 2005. global capacity for biodegradable polymers was around 360.000 tonnes per annum. Traditionally. In 2006. In 1995. Hycail announced the launch of a new PLA material which can withstand temperatures over 200 °C without distortion.000 tonnes with synthetic biopolymers accounting for approximately 60. total production capacity is set to almost reach 600. The company has also announced results of research that showed bottles could be used to package oxygen sensitive food and beverages using barrier-enhanced PLA in the future. Starch-based polymer capacity is approaching 60. DuPont. BASF expanded its Ecoﬂex-brand with Ecovio.2. In the starch sector for example. a blend of NatureWorks PLA and Ecoﬂex. Biopolymers based on renewable resources (starch and PLA and including looseﬁll packaging) accounted for around 300. global and vertically integrated chemical companies such as BASF. NatureWorks is developing a new generation of PLA that can be used for microwavable packaging. heat resistance. Stanelco is understood to be developing a new starch-based biopolymer that it claims will undercut PET and PP prices.
2 World biodegradable polymers market.Biodegradable Polymers Table 4. NatureWorks.2 shows the major biodegradable polymer suppliers by product type for 2005. Table 4. 40 . 2005 – major suppliers by product type Starch BASF BIOP Biomer Biotec Cereplast Daicel Chemical Dainippon DuPont Earth Shell FkuR Grenidea Hycail IRe Chemical Metabolix Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Mitsui Chemical NEC NNZ NatureWorks Novamont Plantic Polyscience Procter & Gamble Rodenberg SK Chemical Showa Solvay Stanelco Toyota X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X PLA PHA Synthetic X The leading biodegradable polymer suppliers are Novamont. which together represent over 90% of the European market for biodegradable plastics. BASF and Rodenburg Biopolymers.
a signiﬁcant number of products are commercially available and the emphasis has switched to the end user and developing markets and applications. from a marketing perspective. Brand owners and supermarkets as well as a consumer. Hence. the global biodegradable plastics market tonnage is 94. marketing of biodegradable plastics products is most successful when their cost savings and material advantages are exploited to the full. less air pollutants.000 tonnes in 2000.400 tonnes. In 2005. cleaner soil. Hence. Only then will they endorse this biopolymers’ movement and invest in educating consumers in the value to society of these materials. product improvements and a narrowing of the price differential between biopolymers and petrochemicalbased plastics. there are a growing number of biodegradable polymers performing well in niche applications. During the last ten years or so the main focus of research and development activity for companies involved in the biopolymers market was on improving the technology and the products in readiness for full commercialisation. Demand has been fuelled by growing public demand for sustainable packaging materials. the introduction of a wider variety of biodegradable polymers. The development of new applications will be crucial to achieving higher production volumes and generating the proﬁtability needed for further investment in production capacity. including the costs of handling and disposal. volumes must be increased if unit costs are to fall and proﬁtability is to improve. While the cost of some biodegradable plastics are currently higher than most conventional polymers. which are of course lower for biodegradable plastics. and less impact on global warming. which represents a compound annual growth rate of 17. Now. Buyers must begin to understand the marketing value of sustainable materials such as greater energy independence. Also.800 tonnes (including loose-ﬁll packaging) compared with 28. It is education and awareness along with the cost and performance improvements that will take sustainable materials out of their niche market status and into mainstream applications. it is important not only to consider the material cost. but also all associated costs.4 The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast Over the last ﬁve years.The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market At the moment. growth in composting infrastructures. the biodegradable plastics industry has about ﬁfteen to twenty years of development time behind it and has now reached the market introduction stage. PE. Production costs for biopolymers still remain high because of the relatively low volumes being produced and the proﬁtability of biodegradable plastics products remains low. will have a key role to play in the growth of this industry over the next ﬁve to ten years. 4.7% during the period 41 . In 2005. Many of these materials can be even more cost competitive in the future compared to petroleum-based resins including PET. users of biodegradable plastics can differentiate themselves from the competition by demonstrating how innovative and proactive they are for the beneﬁt of the environment. global consumption of biodegradable polymers has shown strong growth. a new product or polymer would generally require about thirty years from the research and development stage before becoming a commodity product when millions of tonnes are produced annually for mainstream application. In terms of the product life cycle analysis. market tonnage is forecast to reach 214. In 2010. and PP as suppliers develop better material properties that can lead to thinner ﬁlms or lower processing costs.
800 tonnes (including loose-ﬁll foam packaging) consumed in 2005.4 16.3 17.800 tonnes in 2005.3 Global consumption of biodegradable polymers. followed by North America with 22% and Asia Paciﬁc with 19%. The embryonic PHA category amounts to around 250 tonnes.8 2010 129. which is a relatively more mature sector for starch-based biodegradable polymers.4 % CAGR 2005-2010 18.7 Western Europe is the leading market for biodegradable polymers with 59% of market volumes in 2005. starch-based materials amounted to 21. followed by synthetic aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters with 14. Table 4.1 Percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by geographic region for 2005 Starch-based materials represent the largest class of biodegradable polymer with 44.7 5.3 shows global consumption of biodegradable polymers by world region for the years 2000. 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) 2000 Western Europe North America Asia Paciﬁc 15.7 17.8 28.9 16. Figure 4.1 shows percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by geographic region for 2005. Western Europe is also forecast to show the fastest growth rate for biodegradable polymers over the period 2005-2010. 2005 and forecast for 2010.700 tonnes and the compound annual growth rate for the period 2005-2010 is projected to be 20.5 38. Table 4.5 214.5 6.0 2005 55. global market tonnage in 2005 is 71. Excluding loose-ﬁll packaging. 42 . Polylactic acid (PLA) is the second largest material class with 35.3%. Excluding loose-ﬁll.700 tonnes in 2005.7 21.Biodegradable Polymers 2005-2010.000 tonnes. 2000.4 46.8 94. Figure 4.
3 shows percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by end user sector for 2005.6% per annum and starch-based polymers will grow at 14. The PHA sector. Figure 4. Synthetic types will grow by 18. However.2 shows percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type for 2005. which is growing at a lower rate than other applications. PLA will grow the fastest with a compound annual growth rate of 20. excluding loose-ﬁll packaging. 2005 All classes of biodegradable polymers are projected to show substantial growth during the next ﬁve years.3 Percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by end user sector.2 Percentage share of global biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type. Figure 4. Figure 4.The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market Figure 4.6% per annum over the next ﬁve years. 2005 43 .8% per annum. Of the material classes with existing commercial applications. is projected to grow at close to 60% per annum. starch is forecast to grow by 20.1% for the period 2005-2010. which started from virtually a zero base in 2005.
Figure 4. 4. and accounts for 9% of total market volumes.0 6. Europe has also beneﬁted from some of the world’s leading biodegradable producers such as Novamont. which represents a compound annual growth rate of 18. PLA accounts for 34% with synthetics making up the remaining 12% of market volumes. Others include a wide range of very small application areas. excluding loose-ﬁll packaging.4 shows Western European biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type for the years 2000.0 129. Western European consumption of biodegradable polymers is forecast to reach 129.1 55. followed by bags and sacks with 21%.500 tonnes in 2000. The Western European market for biodegradable polymers has been driven more by regulation than other world regions such as the USA and Japan.7 2010 62.5 15. the most important of which are agriculture and ﬁshing. Western Europe consumed 55.0 15.9 19.7 1.4 Western European biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type. 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) 2000 Starch PLA Synthetic PHA 10.700 tonnes of biodegradable polymers compared with 15.6 21.8 1.8 21.4 % CAGR 2005-2010 15.4% during the period 2005-2010.400 tonnes.5 0.4. Starch is the most widely used biodegradable polymer in Western Europe accounting for 54% of market tonnage in 2005.1 50.Biodegradable Polymers In terms of end use markets. paper coating and foodservice) is the largest sector with 39% of total market volumes in 2005.0 60. Table 4. Rodenburg Biopolymers and BASF being based in the region. is projected to be the fastest growing biopolymer in Western Europe for the period 2005-2010 with a compound annual growth rate of 44 . In 2010.4 shows the percentage share of Western European biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type for 2005. Starch.3 3. packaging (including rigid and ﬂexible packaging.0 18.1 Western European Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast Western Europe is by far the biggest market for biodegradable polymers accounting for 59% of world consumption in 2005. Table 4. medical devices. Fibres or textiles. These include the European Union directives on packaging waste and landﬁll which aim to divert a growing amount of packaging waste towards recycling and composting. consumer products and hygiene products.7 0.4 In 2005. is an important sector for PLA. 2000. Loose-ﬁll packaging is the second largest sector with 24%. 2005 and 2010.5 2005 29.
5 shows percentage share of Western European biodegradable polymer consumption by end use sector for 2005. 2005 just over 22%. with synthetic biopolymers growing at a slightly lower rate of 18.5 Percentage share of Western European biodegradable polymer consumption by end use sector. 2005 Packaging is the largest sector for biodegradable polymers in Western Europe accounting for 37% of market tonnage on 2005. PLA is also forecast to grow close to 22%. which started in UK in 2001-2002. Figure 4.4 Percentage share of Western European biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type.7% per annum. Rigid packaging applications have been around in Europe longer than the ﬁlm packaging market.The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market Figure 4. Switzerland. Figure 4. Belgium and the Netherlands. and was followed by Italy. Biowaste collection bags are 45 . Bags and sacks is another signiﬁcant European market for biopolymers representing 21% of total consumption.
0 6.2 North American Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast North America has lagged well behind Western Europe in terms of biodegradable polymer market development. Major retailers and food manufacturers have opted for biodegradable packaging in 2005.5 16. attitudes are slowly changing.4 18.7 21. Traditionally.5 shows North American biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type for the years 2000.3 46.7 9.0 11. Wal-Mart Stores selected NatureWorks PLA to manufacture containers for herbs and other products. These include: • Growth of the composting infrastructure with more municipalities coming on line in both the US and Canada.1 1. Mulch ﬁlm is mainly used in France. Tipping fees for landﬁll are rising.6 18. The rising cost of petrochemical-based polymers over the last two years. Table 4. Loose-ﬁll packaging is rather a more mature sector and future growth trends are expected to be less than 10% per annum over the next ﬁve years. Better understanding among foodservice suppliers that there is a market for compostable materials. there has not been the same degree of urgency to address the issue of waste disposal through landﬁll in North America because of its enormous landmass.9 46 . 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) % CAGR 2000 2005 2010 2005-2010 Starch 2.7 Synthetic 1. Spain. 2000. More institutions such as schools looking at food waste diversion from landﬁll. Italy and Benelux. and has strong growth potential. Agricultural mulch ﬁlm is the most important sector included under the ‘others’ category. Government and consumer attitudes towards recycling of packaging waste and environmental protection have also militated against market development of sustainable materials.4. while Del Monte Fresh Produce increased its use of NatureWorks PLA for packaging fruit. • • • • • Table 4.0 0.2 3. During the last few years there have been a number of positive trends that are encouraging biodegradable polymer development.8 8.0 14.Biodegradable Polymers used in nearly all EU countries and have strong growth potential.5 North American biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type. 2005 and 2010.4 PHA 0. However. 4.6 22.5 71.6 8. especially in more populated areas of the country. For example.9 PLA 2.
6 shows percentage share of North American biodegradable polymer consumption by product type for 2005.6 Percentage share of North American biodegradable polymer consumption by type. In 2010. North American biodegradable polymer consumption was 21. which represents a compound annual growth rate of 16.500 tonnes. Figure 4.700 tonnes in 2000.300 tonnes against 6. followed by starch with 38% and synthetics with the remaining 17%.7 shows percentage share of North American biodegradable polymer consumption by end use market for 2005.7%.7 Percentage share of North American biodegradable polymer consumption by end use market.5%.The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market In 2005. PLA is also expected to show the fastest rate of growth over the forecast period with volumes increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 18. Synthetic biodegradable polymer growth is not far behind at 18. Figure 4. biodegradable polymer consumption is projected to reach 46. 2005 47 . 2005 PLA. with 45% of total volume.9% during the period 2005-2010. Figure 4. Figure 4. is the most widely used biodegradable polymer in North America.
6 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (daily products) Product/trade name BDP type Producer “CHIKYU-MARU” drain net PLA Yamadai “Nature Green” straw PLA WEI MON INDUSTRY Garbage bag PBAT SARUKAWA Drawstring trash bag PBSA Arke Planning Calender frame PLA Fuji Chemicals Case for desk calendar (sheet type) PLA Arke Planning Ruler PLA Arke Planning Envelope with window PLA Arke Planning Clip PLA Arke Planning Clear ﬁle PLA Arke Planning Card PLA Arke Planning Fan PLA Arke Planning Biodegradable garbage bag PETS J Film “CHIKYU-MARU” biodegradable drain net PLA Yamadai Biodegradable daily bag PBSA Ohkura Industrial Garbage bage for business use PBSA Asahi Kasei Life & Living 48 . During the period 2003-2005. Tables 4. 4. to develop evaluation methods of GreenPla and certify GreenPla products. In Japan. the Biodegradable Plastics Society (BPS) was set up in 1989 to establish technology of biodegradable plastics (GreenPla).9 show certiﬁed GreenPla products in the ﬁelds of daily use. the BPS has certiﬁed a large number of GreenPla products in Japan. followed by Australia and New Zealand.3 Asia Paciﬁc Biodegradable Polymers Market Forecast Japan is the largest consumer of biodegradable polymers in the Asia Paciﬁc region. with Taiwan. some way behind in terms of market development.6. 4. Table 4. commercial use of GreenPla. Other signiﬁcant markets are loose-ﬁll packaging foam and bags and sacks. Taiwan and Japan probably offer the best prospects for growth in biodegradable plastics over the next ﬁve years.Biodegradable Polymers Packaging is the largest application area for bioplastics in North America with 41% of total volumes in 2005. South Korea. to lead extensive. packaging. The Taiwanese government has responded to the growing problems that are being caused to the environment by the disposal of waste plastic items by introducing new environmental policies banning the use of disposable plastics starting with petroleum-based plastic shopping bags and disposable plastic tableware.4. agriculture and horticulture and foodservice. Singapore and China.8 and 4.7. 4.
The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market Table 4.6 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (daily products) Continued Product/trade name BDP type Producer “NAMANAMA 4444” (Trash bag) PLA Towakako Compost bag PBSA KIRA SHIKO Biodegradable garbage bag CL-BS copolymer Tohcello “NAMANAMA” (Trash bag) PLA Towakako Trash bag (“ECOLOME LBS”) PBSA Ohkura Industrial “PAPERMAC” compost bag CL CL-BS copolymer Kitamura Chemicals Compost bag PESA KIRA SHIKO Compost bag BS-LA copolymer KIRA SHIKO Shoehorn PBS Daito Mechatronics Biodegradable garbage bag. shopping bag PBAT Tohcello Fashion bag with cotton string PBAT Ohkura Industrial Garbage bag BS-LA copolymer Kuki-Miyashiro “BRIGHTON” shopping bag PLA HORIAKI “BRIGHTON” trash bag PLA HORIAKI Green Environmental Bags PCL Technology “TERRAMAC ﬁlm” trash bag PLA Unitika Trading “ECO&B” handy loupe PLA NTT Neomeit Hokuri Biodegradable straw PLA Watanabe Kogyo Pland-derived neck strap PLA NAX “PEACH COAT” LR series synthetic paper PLA NISSINBO Industries for printing “TERRAMAC” trash bag JM PLA Unitika Biodegradable garbage bag for business use PBAT Asahi Kasei Life & Living (GB series) Table 4.7 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (packaging) Product/trade name BDP type Producer “TERRAMAC” Film PLA Unitika Plant-derived opaque sheet PLA SEKISUI SEIKEI String bag for booklet PBAT SARUKAWA “KANEPEARL” PLA foam PLA KANEKA (Packaging materials) “KANEPEARL” PLA foam PLA KANEKA (Container for food) Shrink label for heat shrinkable cap PLA Dai Nippon Printing “Nature Green” packaging bags PBAT WEI MON INDUSTRY “Nature Green” ﬁlm PBAT WEI MON INDUSTRY 49 .
Biodegradable Polymers Table 4.7 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (packaging) Continued Product/trade name BDP type Producer “Nature Green” NCP0002 sheet PLA WEI MON INDUSTRY “Nature Green” PESC101 sheet PLA WEI MON INDUSTRY “BIPLA TAPE” PBAT Shinano kagaku Heat shrink cap seal PLA Fuji Seal Biodegradable packaging bag PLA Vendor service Over wrapping ﬁlm for vegetables and fruits PLA Taiyo Kogyo Container for vegetables and fruits PLA Taiyo Kogyo Bag for vegetables and fruits PLA Taiyo Kogyo Antifog bag for vegetables & fruits PBAT Ofﬁce Media (ﬂexible type) Flexible bag for electronic appliance parts PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL”PLA alumina metalizing PLA Ofﬁce Media transparent high-barrier ﬁlm “NAI-SMELL” PLA aluminum metalizing PLA Ofﬁce Media high-barrier ﬁlm Nonslip clothing bag PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” PLA antifog bag for PLA Ofﬁce Media vegetables & fruits (ﬂexible type) “NAI-SMELL” PLA antifog bag for PLA Ofﬁce Media vegetables & fruits (rigid type) Biodegradable shopping bag PBSA KIRA SHIKO Biodegradable ﬁlm PLA SEKISUI JUSHI Tablet case PLA Toppan Printing “POPURAN GREEN” PETS Yamato Heat shrink label PLA Fuji Seal Coating ﬁlm PLA MIKASA INDUSTRY Over wrapping ﬁlm PLA Taiyo Kogyo “BIOPLUS” laminate ﬁlm PLA Asahi Kasei Life & Living “DOLON NK-A” PLA Aicello Chemical Bags for foods Starch Dai Nippon Printing Bags for foods PBAT Dai Nippon Printing Packaging materials for newspaper & PBSA MATSUMOTO GOUSEI magazine to recycle “TERRAMAC” sheet HS PLA Unitika “ECO&B” bag for calendar CL-BS copolymer NTT Neomeit Hokuriku Biodegradable thin ﬁlm PLA Yao Qing Biotechnology Biodegradable bag PLA Yao Qing Biotechnology Expanded heat resistance sheet PLA Yao Qing Biotechnology Heat resistance sheet PLA Yao Qing Biotechnology Transparent food packaging PLA Yao Qing Biotechnology 50 .
The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market Table 4.7 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (packaging) Continued Product/trade name BDP type Producer PLA transparent sheet PLA Yao Qing Biotechnology Opaque sheet PLA SEKISUI SEIKEI Translucent sheet PLA SEKISUI SEIKEI “KANKYO” bag B PLA UNITIKA FIBERS “TERRAMAC” sheet SS PLA Unitika Package for novelties PLA Tohcello “PALGREEN LC” ﬂower wrap PLA Tohcello Package for pocket tissue paper BS-LA copolymer Tohcello Starch-based “MATER-FOLIO” (packaging ﬁlm) ASAHI SOGYO copolyester Starch-based “MATER-BAG” MF (packaging ﬁlm) ASAHI SOGYO copolyester “SANN FILM-ECO-C” (PES based) PES Materiverpackage “SANN FILM-ECO-B” (PLA based) PLA Materiverpackage Barrier over-wrapping ﬁlm for food PET copolymer Ofﬁce Media Barrier pillow type packaging ﬁlm for food PET copolymer Ofﬁce Media Barrier shrinkable packaging ﬁlm for food PET copolymer Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” packaging ﬁlm for tableware PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” shrinkable packaging ﬁlm for PLA Ofﬁce Media lunchbox “NAI-SMELL” packaging ﬁlm for bread PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” packaging ﬁlm for bun PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” packaging ﬁlm for rice ball PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” packaging ﬁlm for sandwich PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” multi-layered barrier overPLA Ofﬁce Media wrapping ﬁlm for food “NAI-SMELL” multi-layered barrier pillow PLA Ofﬁce Media type packaging ﬁlm “NAI-SMELL” multi-layered barrier shrink PLA Ofﬁce Media ﬁlm “NAI-SMELL” over-wrapping ﬁlm for food PLA Ofﬁce Media “NAI-SMELL” pillow type packaging ﬁlm PLA Ofﬁce Media for food “NAI-SMELL” shrink ﬁlm for food packaging PLA Ofﬁce Media Bottle PLA MIKASA INDUSTRY “BIOMICRON” LT container PLA JSP “BIOMICRON” C container Starch JSP “BIONOLLE” bag PBS(A) Syowa Highpolymer “BIONOLLE” sheet PBS(A) Syowa Highpolymer “Nature Green” PESC101 sheet PLA Towakako 51 .
ﬁlm PCL Technology “KIEMARU” (sheet for fumigation) BS-LA copolymer Unyck “WILLEY” CL-BS copolymer Shinano Kagaku “CORNPOLE” LD tape PLA Gifu Agrifoods Biodegradable wrapping ﬁlm for wood PBAT Sekisui Film Sheet PBS(A) HEISEI POLYMER “DJ STARCH” ﬁlm & sheet PCL KANKYO KAIHATHU 52 .7 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (packaging) Continued Product/trade name BDP type Producer “FLORA BAG” PBAT SHINWA SERVICE Flexible container PBS(A) HEISEI POLYMER Sandbag PBS(A) HEISEI POLYMER “DJ STARCH” bags PCL KANKYO KAIHATHU Table 4.8 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (agriculture/horticulture/forestry) Product/trade name BDP type Producer “BP” marking tape PLA Marusho Suzuki Shoten Biomass planter PLA Tokai Kasei “AGRI” Biodegradable sheet for repellent PLA Gifu Agrifoods and weed barrier “KANEPEARL” PLA foam (Agri-/ PLA KANEKA Horticultural materials) “Nature Green” nursery tray & sheet PLA WEI MON INDUSTRY THE FURUKAWA “Bio-Ace sheet” PBS ELECTRIC “SB pack” series PLA Nishimune Number printed tape E-type PLA Marusho Suzuki Shoten Agri-biodegradable anti-glass sheet PLA Gifu Agrifoods “Cornpole” net-sheet PLA Gifu Agrifoods “CONTAPE” PLA Chubu Nozai “UNIGREEN SAKIGAKE” BS-LA copolymer Unyck “NATURA (Mulch ﬁlm) PBAT Iwatani Materials “TOKAN” paper seeding pot (laminated) PBS TOKAN KOGYO Green Environment Multi sheet.Biodegradable Polymers Table 4.
Table 4. Tray for snack PLA KUNIMUNE Plant-derived biodegradable PLA CP Kasei food container Food container/partition PLA KIMURA ALUMI FOIL “DJ STARCH” container PCL KANKYO KAIHATHU Plant-derived biodegradable PLA CP Kasei lid for food container Biodegradable lunchbox PLA FP CORPORATION Biodegradable container PLA FP CORPORATION Lid for biodegradable PLA Tohcello container PLA is the most certiﬁed biodegradable plastic type in Japan with most applications found in the packaging sector. There have also been a signiﬁcant number of certiﬁed products based on synthetic biodegradable plastics such as PBSA and PBAT. 53 . 2005 and 2010. Consumption of biodegradable plastics increased from 5. Chop sticks PLA SEKISAKA SHIKKI “Nature Green” NCP0005 PLA WEI MON INDUSTRY tableware “Nature Green” NCP0001 PLA WEI MON INDUSTRY food contactable serviceware Cup PLA MIKASA INDUSTRY Cap (for food container) 2 BS-LA copolymer MIKASA INDUSTRY Green Environment Container PCL Technology Plant-derived food container PLA DIAFOODS “Nature Green” cup.500 tonnes in 2010.10 shows Asia Paciﬁc biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type for the years 2000. Asia Paciﬁc biodegradable plastics consumption is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.8 shows percentage share of Asia Paciﬁc biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type for 2005. Ltd.The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market Table 4. Yao Qing Biotechnology and Taiyo Kogyo are some of the leading converters of biodegradable polymers in Asia.800 tonnes in 2000 to 17.7% to reach 38. Wei Mon Industry Co.9 Certiﬁed GreenPla products (foodservice) Product / trade name BDP type Producer Tableware. Figure 4. lid PLA Towakako Cup PLA ITOCHU Cap (for food container) PLA MIKASA INDUSTRY Catering tray. During the period 2005-2010. Tray. Ofﬁce Media Co. Ltd.800 tonnes in 2005.
1 54.7 0.10 Asia Paciﬁc biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type.3 2.0 21.8 Percentage share of Asia Paciﬁc biodegradable polymer consumption by polymer type.8 2005 6. 2005 54 .4 38.1 16.6 0. 2000.5 % CAGR 2005-2010 13.8 18.7 Figure 4. 2005 Figure 4.9 Percentage share of Asia Paciﬁc biodegradable polymer consumption by end use market.4 8.9 7.1 17.0 16.2 0.Biodegradable Polymers Table 4. 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) 2000 Starch PLA Synthetic PHA 2.9 2010 13.0 5.2 3.3 1.
The Global Biodegradable Polymers Market PLA is the most widely used biodegradable polymer type in the Asia Paciﬁc region accounting for 40% of total consumption in 2005. accounts for 39% of total consumption. mainly loose-ﬁll packaging. Bags and sacks is the second largest market with 21% followed by loose-ﬁll packaging with 15%. Synthetic biodegradable polymers are expected to show the fastest growth rate of all the established biodegradable polymer classes over the forecast period.9 shows percentage share of Asia Paciﬁc biodegradable polymer consumption by end use market for 2005. Synthetic polymers account for the remaining 21% of consumption. Packaging is the largest market for biodegradable polymers in Asia Paciﬁc with 44% of market volume in 2005. Starch. Figure 4. 55 .
Biodegradable Polymers 56 .
They can also be used for applications with speciﬁc features. Starch-based biodegradable polymers are now ﬁnding commercial applications in loose-ﬁll packaging. Historically. ﬂexible packaging. Novamont started its research activities in 1989 as part of the Montedison group and its Mater-Bi polymers were commercialised in 1990 with the opening of a 4. Starch-based biodegradable polymers make a signiﬁcant reduction in environmental impact. USA. the US pharmaceutical company. They are also used for applications where recovery and reuse are difﬁcult and where composting of organic waste is effective such as food packaging. 57 . loose ﬁll foam packaging and compost bags were the principal applications for starch-based polymers. Warner-Lambert decided to suspend production three years later following heavy losses for the business.1 Introduction Walter-Lambert. Despite the early promise of its Novon polymers. many other applications have been developed. Novon biodegradable polymers were introduced commercially in 1990 with the construction of a large manufacturing facility in Illinois. According to Novamont. the performance of Mater-Bi polymers in use is similar to petrochemicalbased plastics such as polyethylene and processing performance is also similar or improved compared with traditional plastics. in comparison with traditional materials and can be composted in a wide range of composting conditions from home composting to rotary fermenting reactors. Nowadays. The materials have a wide range of mechanical properties. bags and sacks.000 tonnes per annum plant at Terni in Italy. 5. rigid packaging. and hence cuts fuel consumption while promoting good driving properties.5 The Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymer Market 5. Mater-Bi has been incorporated into Goodyear Biotred tyres to reduce the roll resistance of the tyre. Walter-Lambert scientists in Switzerland discovered starch-based polymers while they were researching injection-mouldable materials that could replace gelatine in pharmaceutical capsules.2 Applications Development Starch-based polymers ﬁnd use in applications where biodegradable polymers can be used in natural environment such as agricultural and ﬁshery materials. Italian company Novamont has since emerged as the leading supplier of starch-based polymers. Novamont further consolidated its leading position in starch-based polymers in 1997 with the acquisition of worldwide patents belonging to Warner-Lambert and has continued to grow the business very successfully since then. from soft and tough materials to rigid. exhibit antistatic behaviour and Mater-Bi ﬁlms have a wide range of permeability to water vapour. particularly with respect to carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption. where functionality and performance can also be completely separated from the main function. agriculture and horticulture and various small-scale injection moulding applications. played a pioneering role in the development of starch-based biodegradable polymers in the early 1990s. For example.
the city of San Francisco selected BioBag to promote their residential food waste collection programme. cartridges. BioBag is making inroads into the US market. a biodegradable and compostable waste disposal bag made from Novamont’s Mater-Bi polymers. The city is sending 100. Following an agreement with Novamont in 1998. both incorporating seven-colour images. Their principal product is the BioBag waste disposal bag. Norwegian company BioBag International is one of the world’s leading producers of environmentally friendly packaging. BioBag’s main area is supplying biodegradable bags for waste management systems and for agricultural applications such as mulch ﬁlm. The product meets ASTM D 6400 speciﬁcations for biodegradability and compostability. shopping bags and compost bags. Flexible packaging applications include extruded bags and nets for fresh fruit and vegetables. Recently. In 2005. and a second from almost unmodiﬁed starch. food packaging applications and for packing hygiene articles. Their products are based on Novamont’s Mater-Bi polymers. Rigid packaging applications include thermoformed trays and containers for packaging fresh food and convenience food. The bags and their labels. Fortune Plastics is one of the top ﬁve plastic waste disposal bag manufacturers in the USA. importer and distributor of organic fruit and vegetables. COMP-LETE has been certiﬁed by the US Biodegradable Products Institute. refuse sacks. Starch-based biodegradable plastics are used for manufacture of various types of bags and sacks including. the company began selling a range of seasonal vegetables in 100% compostable packaging based on ﬁlm made from the starch-based Mater-Bi polymer manufactured by Novamont. In 2005. the company introduced COMP-LETE. The Heritage Bag Company produces a biodegradable and compostable waste disposal bag under the trade name Bio-Tuf. combs and toys.Biodegradable Polymers Loose-ﬁll packaging was one of the ﬁrst successful areas of application for starch-based biodegradable polymers. BioBag also supplies biodegradable and compostable ﬁlm products for shopping bags. BioBag is the world’s largest brand of 100% biodegradable and compostable bags and ﬁlms made from the renewable materials. Organic Farm Foods is the UK’s largest pre-packer. rulers. Some examples of new applications development for starch-based biodegradable polymers are outlined below. National Starch Co is licensing two technologies for the production of loose-ﬁll packaging. are claimed to break down totally in less than twelve weeks. There are various other small ﬁelds of application including injection moulding items such as pencil sharpeners. Loose-ﬁll starch-based foam is used for packaging consumer products as an alternative to polystyrene and polyethylene. 58 . covering ﬁlm and plant pots. Agriculture and horticulture applications include mulching ﬁlm.000 rolls of BioBags to residents within the county to help educate consumers on the importance of diverting food and other biodegradable waste from entering landﬁlls. They are also used for hygiene products including sanitary products and nappies. plant pots and bones. one from hydroxypropylated high amylose starch.
They can be used for long shelf-life products. • • • • • 59 . the average price range of starch blends was down to €1. and are fully microwavable and ovenable. while offering a similar ease of processing in both bottle blowing and thermoforming processes. In 2003.67 per kg. even in freshly packaged fruit and vegetables. more efﬁcient production processes have been deployed and lower cost raw materials have been found. Stanelco. with an average price close to €1. which only decomposes in a communal composting system. Also in ﬁlm packaging made from starch blend. combined with their proprietary PPM (Primary Packaging Materials) which they say make efﬁcient and commercially viable biodegradable rigid packaging.5-3.0 per kg. Stanelco hopes to bring the price of the Biotec packaging alternative down to about €2. while Biotec’s ﬁlm has a cost base of between €4-6. the average price of starch blends was around €3. Thermoformed starch sheets give better transparency compared with some other biodegradable polymer such as PLA. starch blends can produce ﬁlm with better moisture barrier protection and higher clarity.0-5.75 per kg. the perforations that are normally required can be dispensed with because the optimum moisture content soon establishes itself automatically. In 2006. Biosphere’s materials are moisture resistant and can be used in food service items as well as general packaging including a wide range of rigid foam trays. containers and cups. This will be advantageous for starch-based biopolymers over PLA. which open up more application possibilities. along with its subsidiary business Biotec. Starch blends have better physical and mechanical properties than pure plant based polymers. Biosphere PPM materials biodegrade in less than sixty days. The price of starch-based biopolymers has come down considerably over the last three years as production volumes have increased. are developing a new starch-based biopolymer that it claims will undercut PET and PP prices.5 per kg. For example.The Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymer Market California-based Biosphere Industries was established in 2002 to manufacture equipment for biodegradable rigid packaging. This is a cheaper alternative to gelatine and certain other packaging materials but much more expensive than PET. Starch-based biodegradable polymers also have a better environmental image than synthetic biopolymers as they are based on sustainable resources. which is a growing consumer trend. 5.5 per kg. The material offers good potential for home composting.5 per kg. Stanelco announced that it had developed a potentially new application area for biodegradable polymers. a cigarette ﬁlm made from food grade starch that will decompose in two months. • Starch-based biopolymers are lower cost materials than some other biodegradable polymer types such as synthetic co-polyesters and PLA. which open up marketing opportunities for brand owners who wish to promote their products as being packaged in materials based on sustainable resources. They have adopted advanced aerospace engineering applied to production equipment design. In 2005.3 Market Drivers The speciﬁc drivers of starch-based biodegradable polymers are summarised below. Currently APET/PE sheet for making food trays costs about €2. They are produced from relatively cheap agricultural feedstock and have simpler manufacturing processes compared with synthetic biopolymers. The company claims that its proprietary production process can produce packaging competitive with conventional heavy paper and plastic disposables.
0 21. The most important of the ‘other’ sectors include agricultural ﬁlm.8%.6% In 2005. excluding loose-ﬁll.1 shows global consumption of starch-based biodegradable polymers by major world region for the years 2000.3 20.9 62.8 89.8 8. 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) Western Europe 2000 2005 2010 CAGR 2005-2010 15.1 13. 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) Western Europe 2000 2005 2010 CAGR 2005-2010 9. 2005 and 2010. During the period 2005-2010.9 13. loose-ﬁll packaging represents by far the largest sector for starch-based biopolymers with 52% of world market volumes.6%.5 29. 2000.8% Asia Paciﬁc 2.7% Total 20.2 3. respectively. by major world region. by major world region for the years 2000.800 tonnes against 20.1 Global consumption of starch-based biodegradable polymers by major world region.7% Total 12.8% In 2005. Excluding loose-ﬁll packaging.1 15.3 9.0 14.3 4.2 22.1% North America 1.1 38. 2005 and 2010. world consumption of starch-based biodegradable polymers is 44.7% North America 2.7 55. Bags and sacks is the next most important market accounting for 28% of total volumes. Table 5.5% Asia Paciﬁc 1.1 shows global consumption of starch-based biodegradable polymers by end use sector.3 6. Packaging and ‘other’ sectors account for 14% and 6%. 2005.Biodegradable Polymers 5.2 shows global consumption of starch-based biodegradable polymers.700 tonnes.4 17.7 17. Growth over the same period is forecast at 20.2 Global consumption of starch-based biodegradable polymers.4 Market Size and Forecast Table 5.6 44. Table 5.5 14.600 tonnes in 2000. excluding loose-ﬁll. hygiene products and a wide range of injection moulding consumer products. 2000. excluding loose-ﬁll packaging.0 11. Figure 5.2 14. 60 . Table 5.3 7. total starch-based biodegradable polymer consumption is forecast to increase at a compound annual average rate of 14. consumption in 2005 is 21.
2005 Bags and sacks offer the best growth potential for starch-based biodegradable packaging in all three major world regions. One technology is based on high amylose starch and the second from almost unmodiﬁed starch.0% for Asia Paciﬁc.1 Novamont Novamont is the major producer of biodegradable blends based on starch and synthetic polymers with annual production of over 20. The company has beneﬁted from growing consumption of biodegradable plastics in Italy due mainly to the separate collection programme for organic waste that favours the installation of composting sites. In Western Europe.1 Global consumption of starch-based biodegradable polymers by end use sector. estimated annual production by licensees for starch-based biodegradable loose-ﬁll packaging was in the region of 20. respectively.The Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymer Market Figure 5. 19. In addition to its internal production.0% and 18. 5. Following an agreement with Novamont.8% per annum in North America and by 5. Packaging is another area of strong growth potential for starch-based biopolymers with forecast growth of 20. 6. the bags and sacks market for starch-based biopolymers is forecast to grow close to 24% per annum during the next ﬁve years. 5.6% per annum in Asia Paciﬁc. Novamont’s sales have been growing at an annual rate of 20-30% per annum during the period 2002-2005. National Starch & Chemical Co.5 Major Suppliers and their Products The major world suppliers of starch-based biodegradable polymers are described below. Production capacity stands at around 40.5.000 tonnes per annum. is licensing two technologies for the production of starch-based biodegradable loose-ﬁll foam for protective packaging applications. Bags and sacks will also show the strongest growth for starch-based biopolymers in North America and in Asia Paciﬁc with forecast growth rates of 18.8%.2% for North America and 17. In 2005.0% per annum for Western Europe.000 tonnes and sales of over €35m in 2005.000 tonnes. for example. 61 .6% per annum in Western Europe. loose-ﬁll packaging volumes are forecast to grow by 8. As a relatively mature market for starch-based biopolymers.
As an antistatic material. cartridges.500 councils in Europe. In particular. Under the Mater-Bi trademark. and afﬁliates. rulers. In September 2004. which is about the same as traditional plastics. 62 . Mater-Bi can be coloured using the Mater-Bi-based. Novamont offers different grades for speciﬁc applications such as bags. Each class is available in several grades to meet the needs of speciﬁc applications. The maximum injection temperature is less than 200 °C. Thermoforming: For thermoforming applications. These include pencil sharpeners. as well as for barrier ﬁlms and waste-bin liners. hard. Novamont secured a global agreement with Biotec Biologische Naturverpackungen GmbH & Co KG. This exclusive license will strengthen Novamont’s patent portfolio in the ﬁeld of starch-based materials that includes over 800 patents and patent applications worldwide. The deal includes all patents and technology rights but not production facilities or distribution channels. Injection moulding: Mater-Bi can be injection moulded using normal injection presses. Mater-Bi is being used to manufacture nontransparent. Eastman introduced its biodegradable polymer in 1997 and since then has invested more than €75m in the project. with cold runners or hot chamber injection systems. plant pots. the company has invested over €60m in R&D activities for its ‘Mater-Bi’ family of biodegradable plastic materials.000 tonnes per annum production plant at Hartlepool in the UK. Eastman has a 15. Novamont claims that about 10% of the scraps can be reused in injection moulding. injection moulding and foams. thermoformed trays for packaging fresh food. leading to improved waste quality and claims cost savings of up to 20%. Classes include grades for ﬁlm and sheet extrusion. shopping bags. the acquisition of patents from Biotec GmbH & Co KG and in the development of its latest biodegradable product. Film: Mater-Bi ﬁlm can be used in variety of applications. which was started up in 1999. combs made of Mater-Bi do not produce the electrical charge given by conventional combs. biodegradable masterbatches. Since then. ﬁlms for packaging and hygiene ﬁlms. In 2001. The resin is used commercially for single-trip disposable packaging. E Khashoggi Industries Inc. Terms of the settlement include various cross-licensing arrangements. Mater-Bi polymers were issued with the ‘OK home compost’ certiﬁcate from Belgium’s AIB Vincotte international certiﬁcation institute meaning that it can be used in bags for the recycling of biodegradable organic waste in home compost bins. from agriculture to packaging ﬁnished products. The technology acquired from Eastman will enhance the market position of Novamont in polyester and starch-based polyester systems and will allow Novamont not only to complement its existing portfolio but also speed up the internal development of polyesters from renewable raw materials. In June 2005. for production of Eastar Bio products. Novamont acquired the ‘Eastar Bio’ technology of Eastman Chemical for an undisclosed sum. toys.Biodegradable Polymers Novamont began its research activities in 1989 being then a part of the Italian chemical group Montedison. Novamont is acquiring a worldwide exclusive license under Biotec’s patents in the ﬁlm industry. and bones. A variety of injection moulded articles can be produced using Mater-Bi. with lower extrusion temperatures and with the possibility of regenerating the scraps using similar techniques to those used for PE. to settle all patent litigation it has with those parties worldwide. mulching ﬁlms. Novamont produces different classes of starch-based biodegradable materials and blends of starch with synthetic polymers. ‘Mater-Foam’. Novamont claims the Mater-Bi plastic is already used by over 3. Mater-Bi polymers can be made into ﬁlm using the standard LPDE extrusion equipment.
ground limestone. In 2003. it is possible to produce completely biodegradable cotton buds of Mater-Bi on traditional extrusion lines. is one of the largest producers of plantbased biopolymers in Europe. and cups.3 EarthShell Corporation EarthShell Corporation. 5. The EarthShell composite consists of cellulose from paper waste. bowls. The company is planning to develop other markets such as packaging in future. laboratory equipment.2 Rodenburg Biopolymers. Apack dispenses with the limestone but adds a polymeric ingredient. Both composites are foamed and formed with special equipment in a process comparable to making wafﬂes. California. Other examples include extruded nets for fruit and vegetables and sheets for thermoforming. and is expanded using water. including cups.The Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymer Market Extruded articles: Mater-Bi can be extruded and rolled with water cooling. extruded into sheets and then assembled into blocks that can be cut into any shape. Wave by Mater-Bi is starch-based. starch from potato waste. Initially. In these products. based in the Netherlands. Wave by Mater-Bi is recommended for packaging pharmaceutical products. the injection pressure is about 20-30% higher than needed for polyoleﬁns. is an environmental packaging technology company. consumer goods. polyester is used as a moisture-barrier over a rigid substrate made of a low-cost natural composite supplied by EarthShell and Apack AG.5. 63 . polyurethane and polyethylene. The recommended temperature proﬁle ranges from about 110 °C at the ﬁrst heated zone to 170 °C at the nozzle.5. However. The foams have a robust and resilient closed-cell structure. EarthShell also supplies materials for manufacture of thermoformed trays for fresh produce and meat. For loose ﬁll packaging. USA.000 tonnes per annum plant for production of Solanyl. hinged-lid containers and sandwich wraps. a biopolymer based on potato peel. bowls and hinged-lid sandwich containers in North America. Similar contracts have also been concluded with DuPont and Green Earth Packaging. and mail order goods. Mechanical properties are roughly in the same order of magnitude as polyethylene and polystyrene. Foams: Wave by Mater-Bi. foamed sheet packaging is a biodegradable alternative to conventional protective foam packaging such as polystyrene. For example. EarthShell Corp signed a licence agreement with the Sweetheart Cup Company whereby Sweetheart produces and markets EarthShell packaging items such as cups. Solanyl has excellent ﬂow properties enabling low wall thickness. In 2002. hinged clamshells. Rodenburg is targeting injectionmoulding applications such as ﬂowerpots. bowls. the company opened a 47. plates. and water. The DuPont deal focuses on the disposable food service market. The products are based on a proprietary composite technology that combines organics such as starch from potatoes and inorganic materials such as limestone. and hot and cold cups. BV. including plates. Germany. 5. The optimum processing temperature for Solanyl is lower than those of synthetic plastics. It licenses and commercialises proprietary composite material technology for the manufacture of EarthShell Packaging. as well as disposable plates. Solanyl’s rate of degradation is adjustable and there are also grades available for controlled release purposes of active ingredients such as fertilizers and fragrances. BV Rodenburg Biopolymers.
000 tonnes per annum. a cheaper alternative to gelatine and other materials. Stanelco’s radio frequency sealing technology can be used to process starch polymers without the degradation caused by other methods such as thermal processing. compostable plastic materials. Food contact approval has also been granted for Starpol 2000 for fruit and vegetables in the US. Khashoggi Industries. Florida in a bid to target ASDA’s parent company. Wal-Mart. a German-based company that makes starch-based polymer packaging for the food and pharmaceutical industries for €20m from E. along with Albertson’s. having passed the shelf-life test. In May 2005 the company opened an ofﬁce in Orlando.000-10. which can be used in place of petroleum-based plastics. air pillows and edible packaging. which can be used to replace conventional polymers such as gelatine. it has failed to meet its ﬁnancial targets. Stanelco currently uses Biotec’s starch products for making food trays. Kroger’s and Safeway. Biotec’s ﬁlm has a cost base of between €4-6. production capacity for Bioplast was between 8. Biotec has been producing its proprietary Bioplast starch blends for nearly a decade at Emmerich. 64 . Biotec’s product portfolio includes thermoplastic starch. Following analysis and testing carried out by PIRA International. low cost packaging format and the ‘CradleWrap’ line of biodegradable. said the purchase would give it access to Biotec’s proprietary pharmaceutical grade ﬁlm. Stanelco offers the Starpol range of biodegradable. Stanelco. which markets a method to seal plastic food-tray packages using radio frequency technology. Bioplast is a high performance biodegradable material and is comparable with normal thermoplastics in terms of its properties. 5. The material is available in a range of blends and can be used in sheet or ﬁlm form for products including food containers. the company has lost more than $300 million since it was founded 13 years ago.4 Stanelco Group The UK-based Stanelco Group of companies has brought together expertise in radio frequency (RF) technology. which can be substituted for petrochemical based plastic packaging. Starpol 2000 materials will completely biodegrade in an active compost in approximately sixty days.5. Stanelco’s Starpol 2000 PLA has been approved for all food contact in the EU. ‘Starpol’ blends of starch and PVA.Biodegradable Polymers While EarthShell has had some success in terms of market development. The second trial for the Greenseal technology with ASDA has moved into the retail phase. Indeed.5 per kg. Stanelco use of radio frequency technology to seal plastic tray packages of perishable food was launched in the UK in a trial partnership with the ASDA supermarket chain. In 2005. with tests continuing for contact with all other food types to meet Food and Drug Administration standards. Stanelco acquired Biotec. carrier bags and shopping bags. air cushion packaging. the ‘FrogPack’ high impact. Starpol 2000 is available in both ﬂexible and rigid forms. Other Stanelco packaging technologies include ‘Greenseal’ food tray lidding. Starpol 2000 is a biodegradable material consisting of PLA (polylactic acid). RF applications and biodegradable material sciences to create an interesting range of packaging technologies. Germany. Bioplast granules can be processed on only slightly modiﬁed machines for thermoplastic resins and can be used in the same way as traditional synthetic plastics. In June 2005. and in 2005 announced that it is closing its Santa Barbara corporate ofﬁce and moving to Maryland. The purchase of Biotec will help the company develop alternatives to petroleum-based packaging.
to pursue requirements for environmentally friendly packaging.5. trays. Biotec focused on ﬁlm applications.6 Biopolymer Technologies Biopolymer Technologies (Biop) offers a starch-based material containing an additive consisting of a vinyl alcohol/vinyl acetate copolymer.7 NNZ BV Netherlands based packaging company NNZ BV offers Okopack. strings.5 Grenidea Technologies Grenidea Technologies is a technology company that develops environmentally friendly products based on their proprietary biodegradable AgroResin material. wrap ﬁlm. cutlery. Materials can be produced to be 100% biodegradable to DIN 13432 standard. a wide range of applications have been produced from Bioplast including: accessories for ﬂower arrangements. Its clients include some of the world’s leading fast food brands in the US. 5. the company transferred production of its bioplastics from The Netherlands to Schwarzheide in Germany and invested €7m in a new plant there. technical ﬁlms. So far. packaging. planters. The announcement followed the decision earlier in 2005 by BASF to produce its ’Ecoﬂex’ biodegradable plastic. This will be the focus for production and further development at a €4. AgroResin is also compatible with existing moulded pulp manufacturing processes. increasing its production capacity to 10. More recently the company has shifted emphasis onto pharmaceutical packaging and injection moulding applications. one of the components of Biop’s Biopar resins. In 2005. The resin is being used in bakery trays and fresh produce containers. Okopack is available in three varieties: Okopack C is transparent with high gloss. tapes. at the Schwarzheide site.5. including McDonalds and Coca Cola. boxes. The agreement will focus on development of Biotec’s biodegradable thermoplastic starch products for food packaging materials. which biodegrade almost completely in less than three months. Stanelco made a co-operation agreement with supply chain specialist Perseco. horticultural ﬁlms. nets. with international partners and joint venture units around the world. golf tees. sacks. tableware. Biop also plans to extend its range of bioplastics and make the products available in larger quantities. planting pots. In January 2006. which Stanelco plans to build at Blaenau Gwent in Wales. such as wheat straw. cups. It has received DIN Certco certiﬁcation for products made of compostable materials (DIN EN 13432:2000-12). Development applications are packaging ﬁlms. Perseco is a subsidiary of Havi Global Solutions. packaging material for mailing. a biodegradable starch-based material. bags. 5. AgroResin is a biodegradable packaging material formulated from ﬁbrous agricultural residues (AgroFibre). agricultural applications and a range of moulded products. edge protectors. AgroResin is currently made from bi-products of the palm oil industry. which provides packaging and supply chain services to the food service and beverage industries.4m facility. shopping bags.000 tonnes per annum. carrier bags. 5.5. Grenidea Technologies operates from Singapore. mantling for candles. especially potato starch. straws. with 65 . packaging ﬁlms. The main component of the Bopar production process are based on renewable resources. It can also be made from agricultural ﬁbres. that are common biproducts of annual crops. which have been commercial since 2003.The Starch-Based Biodegradable Polymer Market Historically. waste bags.
Biodegradable Polymers properties similar to polypropylene. The Melbourne production facility produces ﬂat sheet roll stock in a range of standard colours and gauges. which can be used for fruit and vegetable packaging. In 2005. Lindt and Spungli and the Byron Bay Cookie Company. In January 2006. sleeve ﬁlms and bags and sacks. and trays for electronic components. Nestle became the ﬁrst major user in Europe to adopt Plantic’s biodegradable starch-based materials for manufacture of Dairy Box chocolate trays in Europe. Plantic has also concluded supply deals with companies such as Cadbury Schweppes. Okopack C and S can be used for production of ﬂat ﬁlms. blister packaging. Plantic announced a two-year collaboration programme with Amcor Australasia plc to develop biodegradable ﬂexible packaging solutions for food and confectionery packaging. Okopack S is semi-transparent with properties similar to polyethylene and Okopack Net for netting applications.8 Plantic Technologies Australian company Plantic Technologies has been producing starch-based biodegradable polymers since 2003.5. 5. 66 . Since 2003. Their Plantic R1 material is used to manufacture rigid trays and is also suitable for dry food packaging such as biscuit and confectionery trays. In January 2006. Okopack ﬁlm and Okopack trays received full Din-Certco certiﬁcation for biodegradability.
It is suitable for a wide range of processing technologies including injection moulding. blow moulding. the agricultural company. NatureWorks PLA polymers exhibit good permeability to water vapour so that moisture can pass through ﬂexible and rigid ﬁlm thus minimising condensation. which is now trading as NatureWorks LLC. began commercial scale production of their NatureWorks polylactic acid (PLA) based biopolymers in Blair. was one of the most signiﬁcant developments in the evolution of the biodegradable polymers market. Polylactic acid was ﬁrst discovered in the 1930s when a DuPont scientist. They have a good ﬂavour and aroma barrier with comparable organoleptic properties to glass and PET. but advances in fermentation of glucose. Films and labels for a wide range of applications in the ﬁlm market including labels. 6. The natural surface energy of the polymer is readily acceptable for many ink formulations for good printability.6 The Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Polymers Market 6. heat-seal overlays.000 tonnes per annum facility for PLA production.1 Introduction Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable polymer derived from lactic acid. and Dow Chemicals in 1997. PLA exhibits many properties that are equivalent to or better than many petroleum-based plastics. The company has since invested in the development of a large scale 140. including: • • Thermoformed trays and containers for food packaging and food service applications. It is a highly versatile material and is made from 100% renewable resources such as corn. grease resistance to most oils and fats. Wallace Caruthers. ﬂow wrap. thermoforming and ﬁbre spinning. produced a low molecular weight PLA product. There is also a wide range of disposal options available including mechanical and chemical recycling. has dramatically lowered the cost of producing lactic acid and signiﬁcantly increased interest in the polymer. Nebraska. heat sealability with initiation temperatures around 80 °C and heat seal strengths of greater than 2 lb/inch. which forms lactic acid. DuPont patented Carothers’ process. 67 . wheat and other starch-rich products. Dead-fold is 25% better than cellophane. which makes it suitable for a variety of applications. In 1954. industrial composting and incineration with energy.2 Applications Development PLA has potential for use in a wide range of applications. stiffness which allows for downgauging. high clarity and gloss with less than 5% haze. window ﬁlms. which means less spoilage or waste from open packages and minimal changes are necessary to existing processing equipment. Cargill Dow. The formation of Cargill Dow Polymers. PLA is available either in a rigid or ﬂexible form and can be co-polymerised with other materials. sugar beet. a joint venture between Cargill. twist wrap and formulations for carrier bags. USA in 1997. Initially the focus was on the manufacture of medical grade applications due to the high cost of the polymer. ﬁlm and sheet extrusion.
the second largest Belgian brewery. became the ﬁrst US company to manufacture thermoformed food containers and trays made from biodegradable polymers. Wilkinson Industries Inc.1 Rigid Packaging Ex-Tech Plastics Inc. bedding. The NaturesPLAstic product range is based on NatureWorks PLA polymers. dairy beverages and edible oil. which is manufactured from biodegradable cellulose derived from wood pulp. RPC says that PLA offers excellent clarity and has an equivalent oxygen barrier to polypropylene.2. The products are designed to meet the needs of various foodservice operators. and cutlery. BioWare products are clear and sturdy. For example Alken Maes. Huhtamaki’s Chinet range is an environmentally sound alternative to chinaware. Chinet plates are made from Huhtamaki’s own post-industrial paper cup cuttings in the European manufacturing unit in Norway with a proprietary smooth-moulding process and they are recognised for their rigidity. credit and retail cards. cutlery and containers made from polylactic acid produced by NatureWorks LLC. Disposable serviceware: PLA can be used in the manufacturing of disposable cold drink cups. NatureWorks has built up more than 85 leading brand owners. RPC Bebo Nederland launched a range of biodegradable containers manufactured in NatureWork’s PLA material. soft drinks and shakes. phone. two of the world’s leading processors of rigid plastic packaging. textile manufacturers and lifestyle partners to develop and market products under their Ingeo brand. key. Chinet plates and bowls are made from 100% moulded ﬁbre and are certiﬁed for compostability according to EN 13432. nonwovens and industrial textiles. compostable lidding ﬁlm. In 2004. In November 2004. In Europe. Other sheet applications include folding cartons and blister packs. 6.Biodegradable Polymers • Injection stretch blow moulded bottles and jars for short shelf-life applications that use cold-ﬁlling techniques such as still water. both announced new product ranges based on NatureWorks PLA. Fibres: PLA ﬁbre applications include apparel. Huhtamaki introduced BioWare. fresh juices. 68 . plates. personal care. furnishings. functionality and premium ﬁnish. • • • Some examples of new PLA application developments are discussed below. bowls. RPC Bebo Nederland can also supply a heatsealable. a new range of biodegradable and compostable foodservice packaging including single-serve cold drinks cups. and are suited for serving cold drinks including water. after which the cups were composted. Huhtamaki and RPC Group. BioWare has already achieved some success in the marketplace. For sealed packs. Speciality Cards: PLA can be used for a variety of cards including gift. carpet. used the BioWare beer cups in the 2004 summer festivals. beer. ranging from outdoor festivals and mass events to catering and daily food and beverage service. became the ﬁrst company to produce thermoformed sheet based on NatureWorks PLA in 2003. In 2004. plates.
It offers a wide variety of plastic types. optimum clarity and transparency. oxygen and water. The metallised ﬁlm meets both EU and US. The product’s mechanical properties mean that it can be used on normal packing lines with stretch ﬁlm or sealed with PLA ﬁlm to produce a 100% biodegradable pack. In 2005. shrink ﬁlm and envelope ﬁlm. plastic ﬁlm on donut boxes. Cortec completed the Din Certco application and review process for Eco Film and Eco Works products. including articles based on NatureWorks PLA polymers. Cortec Corporation of White Bear Lake. Natura Packaging GmbH. specialises in thermoforming polystyrene for food industry applications. While waste collection bags are by far the largest application of these products at the moment. a US extruder of blown ﬁlm for labels and envelopes. Treofan GmbH developed a metallised version of its PLA biodegradable ﬁlm that reduces permeability aromas. It was hitherto thought that PLA was unsuitable for blown ﬁlm extrusion. label ﬁlm. Plastic gift cards. 6. The most common types of Eco Film and Eco Works products are organic collection bags used by consumers for organic waste diversion programmes. 69 . ﬂoral wrap ﬁlm. tomato packages. has produced the world’s ﬁrst blown ﬁlm from NatureWorks PLA. belongs to the Eurea group of companies. where the mirror-like ﬁnish adds a decorative feature to the barrier properties. is breathable and is US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) compliant. sprouts. odour barrier. Areas of application for EarthFirst include window carton ﬁlm for food packaging. and other applications will follow. Cedap. Natura focuses on three main areas: fruit and vegetable packaging. construction and food protection ﬁlms. make them aesthetically similar to clear polystyrene. the company maintains they are suitable for a wide range of other applications including agricultural. is a manufacturer of environmentally responsible packaging and materials protection technologies.. MN. salad boxes. The expanded structure also helps to absorb the liquid released by meat. Plastic Supplies claims that its EarthFirst ﬁlm is 100% compostable. cut fruit and herbs to Wal-Mart. certiﬁed biodegradable packaging technologies. Wall thickness of the HI-COMPOST containers range from 200 to 1500 micron. packaging and shopping bags. Target markets include fresh foods such as meat. Faerch Plast AS is a manufacturer of packaging for the food and retail sectors. Wal-Mart decided to switch from petroleum-based plastics to corn-based plastics based on NatureWorks PLA. salad and pasta. The metallised Biophan PLA ﬁlm is said to be suitable for packaging fatty foods such as butter and cheese.2 Flexible Packaging In 2004. waste management. Cortec offers two families of high performance. The company specialises in manufacture of biodegradable packaging products based on renewable raw materials such as polylactic acid (PLA). a division of Siamp-Cedap. Food & Drug Administration food contact requirements. The company also offers thermoformed PLA-based single-serve cups. Italian fresh food packaging company Coopbox Europe launched a PLA-based tray for packing fresh foods such as meat. Plastic Suppliers Inc. say the company. has high gloss. deli trays. which meet ASTM D 6400 international standards for commercial compostability. as well as for confectionery. ﬂavour retention.2.The Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Polymers Market RPC’s HI-COMPOST product range of biodegradable containers have a highly transparent and glossy ﬁnish which. NatureWorks will initially supply PLA for manufacture of 114 million packages a year for fresh strawberries. In 2005. high moisture vapour transmission rate. Eco Film and Eco Works ﬁlms and bags.
and through adopting two-layer and three-layer structures. Ofﬁce Media (Tokyo) developed a new PLA ﬁlm exhibiting vastly improved functionality as a packaging material. of Japan has used PLA as a replacement for polycarbonate to manufacture an optical disc.3 Blow Moulded Bottles Amcor. have been balanced in multiple dimensions. Sony says the use of additives and modiﬁcations to moulding parameters allows it to process PLA compound on conventional injection presses in commercially viable cycle times.Biodegradable Polymers In 2004 it was announced that Japanese companies Kuraray Co. to be made using PLA. and is suitable for injection stretch blow moulding. introduced the ﬁrst biodegradable water bottle onto the US market. Ltd. is rated UL94 V-2 and complies with the EU’s Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. which supplied its NatureWorks PLA material. of the USA. PLA can be used for noncarbonated beverages such as water. formed a partnership in 2004 to explore the use of PLA in automotive applications. as well as edible oil products. and the cost of PLA is comparable to that of PET.4 High Performance Applications In 2004. ﬂexibility. juices. In 2004.3 Market Drivers The speciﬁc market drivers of PLA biodegradable polymers are discussed below. The resin employs an aluminium hydroxide ﬂame retardant. heat resistance and impact resistance. a subsidiary of Toyota Corp. milk. 6. Husky supplied BIOTA with the 24-cavity HyPET 120 injection moulding system. Technology to eliminate the characteristic odour of PLA developed independently by Ofﬁce Media. Amcor PET Packaging has already designed and produced preforms and bottles made out of PLA in conjunction with Canada-based Husky Injection Moulding Systems. is investigating the potential for a new line of biodegradable bottles for the European markets. the ﬁlm’s transparency. Toyota Tsusho Corp. Husky working alongside BIOTA Brands of America. The capital costs of a PLA system compared to a PET system are very similar. The Pack Corp and Matsuura Sangyo Co.. have also been applied. Ltd. 6. Sony and Mitsubishi Plastics teamed up to develop a ﬂame retardant PLA biodegradable resin claimed to be as strong as ABS. blow moulding equipment supplier SIG Corpoplast and Cargill Dow..2. 70 . Pioneer Corp. one of the world’s largest manufacturers of PET bottles. and Diversiﬁed Natural Products Inc. 6. Biodegradable PLA bottles can also be easily separated from PET bottles in the waste stream since the adoption of the Compostability Mark. In 2005. gas barrier properties have also been improved. The new material will be used in the front panel of Sony standalone DVD players. The main cost component is resin. Through combination with other biodegradable plastics. began offering biodegradable shopping bags made from polylactic acid to women’s clothing stores and also to high-end supermarkets who wish to project an image of environmental consciousness.2.
3.000 tonne capacity lactic acid plant in Blair. as well as at its corporate ofﬁces in Minnetonka. NatureWorks PLA is now available at prices between €1. cost between €2.37-2.3 World’s First Greenhouse-Gas-Neutral Polymer NatureWorks PLA claims to be the world’s ﬁrst greenhouse-gas-neutral polymer. One of the cheapest biopolymers is Solanyl. produced by Rodenburg Biopolymers. PLA biodegradable polymer prices have fallen sharply over the last ﬁve years since the polymers were ﬁrst commercialised. This factor is important for European customers whereby NatureWorks PLA could assist them to achieve compliance with the greenhouse-gas-emission reduction requirements of the Kyoto Protocol that came into effect in February 2005. a very cheap source of raw material. NatureWorks PLA has been price competitive with PET for example over the last twelve months as PLA manufacturing scale has increased and process improvements were made alongside the recent sustained higher levels of PET pricing. packaging legislation from governments across Europe means that PLA packaging not only helps to avoid existing and proposed taxes on packaging and packaging waste but can also in some instances qualify for subsidies.2 Stable Supply and More Competitive Prices Biodegradable polymer prices are generally much higher than commodity polymers for a number of reasons.75 per kg compared to a price range of €3. Minn.1 Better Environmental Credentials The environmental attributes of PLA make it an attractive packaging alternative to fossil fuel based plastics and other synthetic biodegradable packaging materials with positive consumer appeal.3. 6. 6.. NatureWorks claims these trends are encouraging many customers to seek multi-year contracts to ensure a more stable raw material supply and secure a predictable cost position for their own packaging materials. which costs between €0.70 per kg. The greenhouse-gas-neutral claim is the result of the combination of renewable-resource-based feedstock.. on the other hand. Most biopolymers have only been commercially available for a couple of years and production volumes are very low compared with the mass produced polyoleﬁns.The Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Polymers Market 6.5 per kg ﬁve years ago. In addition. Initial development costs are also very high.8-1.3. 71 . Solanyl prices are so low because it uses scrap potato peel.0-3. Another factor that is encouraging uptake is the stability of maize prices versus petroleum-based polymers. Neb. along with the purchase of renewable energy certiﬁcates (RECs) backed by lifecycle assessment data. USA. The purchase of renewable energy will allow NatureWorks to decrease its fossil fuel footprint by 68%.000 tonne capacity manufacturing plant and 182.85-3. The company will purchase certiﬁcates for projected 2006 production at its 140.5 per kg. USA. These RECs will serve as an offset to cover all of the emissions from the energy used for the production of NatureWorks PLA. FkuR’s PLA/polyester blends.
heat shrinkage etc. Cups also feature high gloss and clarity.6 Source Options NatureWorks LLC has announced a source options program. However. especially for European customers who may view maize variety as an important market issue. PLA is also an alternative to traditional plastic ﬁlms such as cellophane.) for further successful commercialisation.3. resulting in the bleeding out of the liquid plasticiser. etc. retail and gift cards. Biodegradable polymers provide retailers and brand owners with an opportunity to provide a more responsible environmental position to traditional plastics such as PVC for these applications. PLA also reduces fogging on the lid of the packaging. membership.Biodegradable Polymers 6. For ﬂexible ﬁlm applications such as carrier and trash bags PLA has the potential to replace LDPE and HDPE bags when a compostable solution is desired.4 Replacement of Traditional Packaging Materials For rigid thermoformed packaging. PLA blow moulded bottles offer comparable organoleptic properties to glass and PET making it suitable for a variety of short shelf-life food and beverage bottling applications. cellulose acetate and glassine. While PLA has made good progress in ﬂexible ﬁlm applications. PLA is also ﬁnding growing use in the manufacture of thermoformed disposable serviceware. Because of its compostability. Traditionally. the ﬁlm made with this method was found to be unstable against changes in external factors such as temperature and pressure. the stiffness of PLA enables more efﬁcient down gauging versus existing PET materials. Toray Industries has developed a new technology that has succeeded in containing the occurrence of bleeding out when faced with changes in temperature or pressure and displays highly stable ﬂexibility while not losing any of the superior features of PLA such as transparency. and biodegradability. 6. ductility. heat resistance. cups and containers made from PLA can be collected with food waste and transported to an appropriate commercial composting facility. Furthermore. the high water vapour transmission rate of PLA is beneﬁcial for fresh food applications where it is important that the water vapour escapes quickly from the packaging. as well as a low temperature heat seal layer and/or ﬂavour and aroma barrier in co-extruded structures where its combination of properties allows layer simpliﬁcation or replacement of speciﬁc layers. which in turn would lead to defects in the ﬁlm characteristics such as transparency and ﬂexibility. a low-molecular-weight liquid plasticiser addition method has been used for achieving ﬂexible PLA ﬁlms.) and mechanical properties (strength. which were altered over time. The rigid properties of PLA sheet allow it to be easily scored and PLA also exhibits an optimum surface for printing and varnishing. Customers may choose their desired level of 72 . development of new technologies is required to improve the fundamental qualities such as thermal properties: heat resistance.5 Speciality Cards PLA is ﬁnding new applications in speciality cards such as credit.3. strength and excellent printability. 6.3.
as a replacement for traditional shrink sleeve materials. The problems associated with PVC. Decorative Sleeves. restricting shrinkage level. 6. Available programs include certiﬁcation that the polymer has no genetically-modiﬁed content. plans to adopt PLA biopolymers for its cellphones and personal computers in order to achieve product differentiation.3. is also in the process of testing PLA-based shrink sleeves. Unitika Textiles in Japan has also developed a technology to manufacture foam-moulded products with good heat resistance using PLA. Japanese electronics company Sharp has developed technology to blend PLA biopolymers with conventional plastics recovered from scrapped consumer appliances. have resulted in a surge in use of polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG). Gilbreth has found that the PLA-based shrink sleeve shrinks at lower temperatures than traditional shrink sleeve material such as PETG.The Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Polymers Market market impact regarding the maize source of the polymer. Wine and spirit bottles could be the ﬁrst target application for compostable PLA-based shrink sleeves being developed by Gilbreth. Another Japanese consumer electronics company. is running ﬁeld tests with packaging converters using polylactic acid polymers for its CESA-extend masterbatch.7 New Applications Shrink sleeve suppliers.8 Better Processing Plastic additives manufacturer. Shrink sleeves can be made from PVC. Meanwhile. The aim of the new additive is to improve 73 . The company is at the ﬁnal stages of testing a PLA material supplied from Plastic Supplies. foamed polystyrene products. The housing is moulded of a specially developed PLA/polycarbonate blend that provide the required heat and ﬂame resistance. and then applied to notebook personal computer housings starting in 2007. heat deformation resistance and durability are required for cellphones and the company has developed a kenaf-reinforced polylactic acid that meets these requirements. Another company. and blends tend to show inferior properties such as impact strength and heat resistance. a source offset option (guarantees an equal amount of non-genetically modiﬁed maize is purchased and delivered) and a seed-to-ﬁnished product identity-preserved grade of NatureWorks PLA. and oriented polystyrene (OPS).3. Fujitsu and Toray Industries have developed the ﬁrst large-scale notebook computer housing based on polylactic acid biodegradable polymers. which is based on polylactic acid. NEC. Impact strength. PP and oriented PS. brand owners and packaging converters are examining better performing and more environmentally-friendly alternatives such as polylactic acid. foamed resin moulded product. Plans now call for the reinforced resin to be given non-phosphorous. Japanese company Kaneka developed the ﬁrst beads-process. PET. The company expects to use such blends in its consumer electronics products by early 2007. The new KanePearl product has the strength and shock-absorbing properties of existing beads-process. but this material is not suitable for all applications. 6. Sharp claims to have overcome these problems with a microdispersion technology that dramatically improves the properties of the blended material. In 2005. Clariant. Petroleum-based plastics are generally incompatible with bioplastics. non-halogen ﬂame retardancy. recyclability.
Western Europe is the largest market for PLA in 2005 with just over 53.1 Percentage share of global PLA consumption by end use sector. 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) Western Europe 2000 2005 2010 CAGR 2005-2010 3.800 tonnes against 8.7 9.0%.1 shows percentage share of global PLA consumption by end use sector for 2005.4 Market Size and Forecast Table 6. Figure 6. In 2005.2 16.0 50. which should lead to greater production efﬁciencies and cost savings when using PLA polymers.7% Asia Paciﬁc 2.5 20. which represents a compound annual growth rate of 20.3 7.6 18.0% of world PLA consumption. 2005 and 2010.8 89. Table 6.7 35.6% North America 2.1% World consumption of polylactic acid biodegradable polymers has increased signiﬁcantly over the last ﬁve years as major suppliers such as NatureWorks have brought their 140.000 tonnes per annum plant fully on stream. During the period 2005-2010.9% Total 8. 2000.6 22.1 Global consumption of polylactic acid biodegradable polymers by major world region. 2005 74 .5 21.Biodegradable Polymers the viscosity of PLA for stretch blow moulding applications. 6.700 tonnes ﬁve years earlier.4 17.7 19. PLA consumption is forecast to reach 89.1%.500 tonnes. North America accounts for 27. Figure 6.0% and Asia Paciﬁc the remaining 20.1 shows global consumption of polylactic acid biodegradable polymers by major world region for the years 2000. world consumption of PLA amounted to 35.
Until then. including foodservice. in 2005. Over the next few years.0 per lb to $0. include speciality cards and sheet. would increase its use of NatureWorks PLA in packaging for pineapple. NatureWorks followed up the Wal-Mart deal with an announcement that Del Monte Fresh Produce NA Inc.5 Major Suppliers and their Products The major suppliers of biodegradable polymers based on PLA are described below. NatureWorks has also concluded an exclusive agreement with Taiwan’s Wei Mon Industry Cn. starting with bags and tablecloths made from fossil raw materials. deli and produce containers and other packaging uses where the resin can function and compete on price with established polymers such as PET. Cargill Dow. with just 7% of total volumes. as the company was then known. the pilot production capacity for PLA was only 4. Ltd (WMI) for the marketing of packaging products made of ‘NatureWorks’ PLA material. The company was renamed after its product. In view of Taiwan’s growing plastic waste problem.85 per lb or lower. the PLA-based biologically degradable polymer. around $250m is to be invested in commercial development and technology improvement. it was announced that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Sales rose 60% during the ﬁrst nine months of 2004 compared to the same period a year earlier and the number of customers during the same period doubled. Nebraska. ‘Other’ applications. 6. 75 . The company aims to secure market share as quickly as possible. melons and fruit and vegetable medleys.The Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Polymers Market Packaging. The unit has planned capacity to produce 136. The material is being marketed in Taiwan under the name ‘Nature Green’.000 tonnes per annum. Cargill Dow Polymers LLC started up its ﬁrst commercial-scale plant for polylactic acid (PLA) at Blair. NatureWorks says that NatureWorks PLA resin is competitive with petrochemical-based products. the government is working on new environmental guidelines banning the use of disposable products made of plastics. Woolmark Company Ltd and the British Autobar Group Ltd. Marketing activities are being focused on drinking cups. particularly in the food packaging area. The company claims that its PLA has a life cycle that reduces fossil fuel consumption by 50% in its production and emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced by 15-60%.000 tonnes per annum. NatureWorks has signed cooperation agreements with a number of users including Tetra Pak. In early 2004. the material is also suitable for the production of textiles (garments. Mitsubishi Plastics. In 2005. would use PLA in containers for produce such as herbs and other products. NatureWorks is achieving some success in persuading leading retailers and manufacturers to switch to PLA packaging. its former joint venture partner. agricultural products and a wide range of injection moulded products. making PLA more competitive with materials such as PET. NatureWorks LLC is the new name of Cargill Dow LLC. carpets). is easily the largest end use market for PLA with 70% of total consumption in 2005. Pricing was reduced from an original level of $1. following the Dow Chemical Company’s sale of its 50% stake to agricultural company Cargill. refocused market development on food packaging and textiles. NatureWorks’ PLA is also being used in containers for Newman’s Own salad dressing and bottles for Biota drinking water. Trespaphan GmbH. in the US in 2002. Textile ﬁbres account for an estimated 23% of total volumes. In ﬁbre form.
coatings and chewing gum base. with a barrier resin middle layer and an outer layer of PLA. and thermoformed using conventional processing equipment. wheat starch or potato starch. binders. NEC has applied proprietary property-modifying additives such as inorganic heat absorbants. The company also announced results of research that showed bottles could be used to package oxygen sensitive food and beverages using barrier-enhanced PLA in the future. emulsions. cast or biaxially oriented. had improved water and oxygen barriers. the Netherlands with ofﬁces also located in Noordhorn. manufactures PLA biodegradable polymers for applications such as rigid packaging. electronics. strength. In 2004. Cereplast bioplastics can be used to manufacture thermoformed articles such as cups. The company is currently in the process of constructing its ﬁrst fullscale European plant with an annual capacity of at least 25. Netherlands-based Hycail. Hycail products are certiﬁed according to EN 13432 and safe for food contact use. the Toyota Motor Corporation of Japan brought on stream a pilot plant to make bioplastics based on polylactic acid and derived from sugar cane and other natural sources. ﬂexibilisers. The company has had a semicommercial plant operational since April 2004 and currently manufactures just a few hundred tonnes of PLA polymers. Cereplast biodegradable resins incorporate the following ingredients in their formulation: starch derived from cornstarch. In 2005. polylactic acid generated from the corn dextrose and minerals and other biodegradable components. This has been achieved without the use of halogenated or phosphorous ﬂame retardants. which means it can be utilised in a wide variety of electronic products. The plant. costing €14m. Toyota has been involved in a number of programmes aimed at promoting ‘global regeneration’ and the creation of a recycling oriented society.000 tonnes per annum. and Turkku.Biodegradable Polymers NatureWorks currently offers two biodegradable polymer brands for packaging and ﬁbre applications. heat resistance and other performance criteria are used in the Toyota Raum passenger vehicle. support Cereplast’s conﬁdence in the viability of the bioplastics market. It is said to possess the world’s best ﬂame retardance for a product of this type. Californian based company Cereplast Inc. Japanese company NEC has developed a plant-derived bioplastic whose main component is polylactic acid. Ingeo PLA is used for manufacture of nonwoven textile ﬁbres. NatureWorks LLC announced that it was is developing a new generation of PLA that can be used for microwavable packaging. Speciﬁcally. plus extrusion coating. adhesives. ﬁlms. The production plant is located in Noordhorn. to enhance the physical properties required for the various applications. and in some cases offers better performance characteristics. Tests showed that multi-layer bottles. Bioplastics with improved performance in terms of durability. The material conforms to the UL94 5V standard.000 tonnes per annum. NatureWorks PLA is used for manufacture of food packaging and serviceware. 76 . clarity. proﬁle extrusion and blow moulding grades. The company claims that NatureWorks PLA performs like traditional petroleum-based plastics. including gloss. NatureWorks PLA can be extruded. is the developer and manufacturer of a proprietary biodegradable and compostable biopolymer based on NatureWorks PLA resin. In March 2006. Finland. a fully owned subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America. has a capacity of 1. and ﬂavour and aroma barrier. high ﬂow modiﬁers and impact modiﬁers to realise the bioplastic. The company also reported that advances in nano-technology that they have introduced into their process coupled with polymer processing advantages through lower temperatures. including personal computer housing. containers and cutlery. Cereplast announced plans to double its capacity by the summer of 2006 and is investing in new and more efﬁcient equipment.
The compound is homogeneous. FKuR has also developed Bio-Flex grades with higher stiffness. Germany. without distortion or stress cracking: cups made from the material have stood up to microwaving with olive oil up to 205 °C for 30 minutes. Tests show that the new Bio-Flex 219F material can be processed on conventional blown ﬁlm lines without modiﬁcations to screws. which can withstand temperatures over 200 °C without distortion. Bio-Flex 219F is targeted for shopping bags. The material is notable for its low shrinkage and virtual absence of warpage. This ﬁlm. FkuR has developed a PLA/polyester blend that reportedly processes like LDPE ﬁlm. The company has capacity of more than 2. It has high thermal stability and can be moulded on standard machines with a general-purpose screw. 77 . is white in colour and produced with natural ﬁllers and a special vegetable oil. Toray are conﬁdent that the environment-friendly features of PLA ﬁlm are expected to spur widespread demand in the future. Biograde 300A will contain special additives that permit the material to be thermoformed into hot cups. Up to 20% regrind can be processed without deterioration of properties. Osaka-based Mitsui Chemicals Inc.700 tonnes per annum and sells in all global regions. It can also be microwaved with fatty and liquid foods. ﬁlms for building materials. The company claims easy processing results from the high compatibility of the blend components. with more than 70% PLA. Hycail announced the launch of a new biodegradable material. The formulation consists of more than 10% PLA (purchased from NatureWorks LLC) plus a biodegradable co-polyester and special additives. Honda Motor Co. succeeded in developing the world’s ﬁrst plasticiser-free ﬂexible PLA ﬁlm using Toray’s own nano-structure control technology for biaxially oriented ﬁlms. FKuR says a special combination of compatibilisers permits coupling between the PLA and the co-polyester. and take-offs. Ltd. is increasing production of its Lacea-brand PLA resin. Biograde 300A can be injection moulded for foodservice applications such as cutlery. Toray Industries. Film up to 110 microns thick is 90% degraded after twelve weeks in composting conditions. is for cast ﬁlm. electronic devices. Another offering in FKuR’s Nature Compounds line is a modiﬁed cellulose with processing characteristics and mechanical properties similar to polystyrene. Inc. In collaboration with the Fraunhofer Umsicht Institute in Oberhausen. Grade 482F. Hycail claims that the increased heat resistance has not affected other properties such as transparency. Toray plans to commercialise the PLA ﬁlm in areas such as soft packaging materials. has achieved superior ﬂexibility levels. envelope windows and prepaid phone cards. Most recently. FKuR Kunststoff GmbH (FKuR) launched its biopolymer business in 2000. processability and strength.The Polylactic Acid Biodegradable Polymers Market In December 2005. dies. mulch ﬁlm. The company claims that the new material is a genuine game changer in PLA technology and puts it in the high performance thermoplastics arena. Grade 466F (more than 20% PLA) and grade 467F (more than 30% PLA) are for shopping bags. which allows the ﬁlm to be drawn down to 8 microns. and laminates for trays. Hycail XM 1020. meaning it could be used as packaging ﬁlms such as wrapping ﬁlms. of Tokyo has used Lacea PLA in packaging straps at its auto plants. The bio-based material has been used in electronics packaging. according to the company. In 2004. and automobiles as well as for industrial material usage such as in process ﬁlms. without losing the transparency and heat resistance features of PLA.
.R. and offers fast cycles. Biomer claims that 1. which are injection moulded. Injection moulded applications include medical diagnostic tools. The polyester extract is then compounded with low.and high-molecularweight plasticisers. Biomer.Biodegradable Polymers FKuR also introduced Biograde 200C in 2005. The materials are said to process like liquid-crystal polymers and have a melt ﬂow rate (MFR) above 20 g/10 min. and practice artillery shells for the military. but with the addition of barrier performance comparable to PLA. It consists of 100% renewable resources. Biomer also produces smaller amounts of PLA for transparent medical diagnostic strips. Biomer develops micro-organisms that ferment sugar or starch syrup through a toll manufacturing arrangement. PHB is also extruded into multi-ﬁlaments for woven surgical patches. another German biopolymer manufacturer. to build a 10. an unﬁlled cellulose blend with high stiffness and transparency for cast ﬁlm and injection moulding. Grade P226 reportedly has mechanical properties similar to PP.000 tonnes per annum continuous polylactide plant at Harbin Heilongjiang Province. Uhde Inventa-Fischer has been awarded a contract by Harbin Weilida Pharmaceutical Co. The ﬁrst PLA production facility in China is scheduled to start up by the second half of 2007. is exploring new markets for its PHB and PLA polyesters. ﬁrework casings. and processing aids to produce three standard injection moulding formulations. is easy to mould. Grade P240 is a higher impact version of P209. nucleators. 78 . China.2 mm thick samples of its materials degrade in a composting environment within six weeks. Injection moulded Biograde 200C exhibits properties comparable to polystyrene. Ltd. The material can also be blow moulded into bottles and thermoformed into cups and trays. Biomer is developing PHB grades with higher melt strength for blown ﬁlm. Melt viscosity is very low. P. Grade P209 has properties similar to HDPE but elongation at break is signiﬁcantly lower because of the material’s crystalline structure. but does not contain starch. so high clamp force is not necessary to produce complex structures.
marketed by Procter & Gamble. 79 . followed by a production phase.7 The PHA Biodegradable Polymers Market 7. including drug release. being developed by Metabolix. the polymer is poly-(3-hydroxybutyric acid) (PHB). The biodegradable and non-toxic effect of PHBs also make them a strong possibility for many medical applications. These polymers are synthesised in the bodies of bacteria fed with glucose (e.1 Introduction Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are a family of biodegradable aliphatic co-polyesters produced by bacterial fermentation. which involves converting natural sugars or oils into PHA polymers directly inside aerated fermentation tanks. PHA biodegradable polymers are still largely at the development stage of market development. and Nodax PHBH. Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is the most common type of PHA. during which empty cells (bio-factories) are grown to target concentrations. R can be hydrogen or hydrocarbon chains of up to around C13 in length.. producing a range from high stiffness to elastomeric. PHA was ﬁrst discovered in prokaryotes as a high molecular weight storage molecule in cytoplasmic granules. Since then over one hundred PHA compositions have been reported. In recent years there has been growing interest in the use of PHB and PHB copolymers in the biodegradable plastics industry. bone regeneration. and x can range from 1 to 3 or more. Metabolix PHA polymers are semi-crystalline thermoplastics: Varying the chain length and side chains can produce a broad range of physical and mechanical properties. during which the cells ﬁll up with PHA. When R is a methyl group and x=1. Varying x and R affects hydrophobicity. The main candidates for commercialisation are Biopol PHBV. Metabolix is the leading producer of PHA biodegradable material. although there a few commercial applications available. from sugar cane) in a fermentation plant. The company produces PHA through aerobic fermentation. and nerve guidance. Tm (melt temperature) and the level of crystallinity. PHAs are extremely versatile polymers as their crystallinity can be manipulated to provide a broad range of mechanical and barrier properties. Each fermentation consists of a growth phase. Metabolix’ manufacturing process by its very nature means that all 3-hydroxy units have an R conﬁguration. The level of crystallinity can vary from around 70% to very low. Tg (glass transition temperature). which is the base homopolymer in the PHA class. in some cases matching the performance of engineered thermoplastics. Metabolix PHA polymers containing 3-hydroxy acids have a chiral centre. and are optically active.g. some made by genetically engineered bacterial strains.
• • Molecular weight . They also rapidly decompose to carbon dioxide and water and will degrade in anaerobic environments.Metabolix PHAs cover a broad range of physical properties and can behave both as traditional thermoplastic polymers and as elastomers. river water and marine environments.000 to over one million.Metabolix PHA is available in molecular weights ranging from around 1. composting. > 500% ultimate elongation at break). waste treatment processes. Hence there is no need to use traditional coalescing solvents or plasticizers to artiﬁcially reduce the polymer glass transition temperature during the ﬁlm formation and drying processes. from rigid thermoplastics to thermoplastic elastomers.PHA natural plastics are thermally unstable above 180 °C. a copolymer polyester of 3-hydroxybutyric and 3hydroxyhexanoic acid.g. The ‘Nodax’ biopolymers are based on the copolymer PHBH. These materials can be used for adhesives. Thermal properties . Metabolix can also convert its PHA copolymers into their building blocks. These dispersions are unique in that they can be made in the amorphous state. Gas barrier properties . Mechanical properties . Copolymer grades have a broad property spectrum. and melting points range between 135 and 185 °C (275-365 °F). the more ﬂexible 80 . but form semi-crystalline ﬁlms after drying. Metabolix PHA polymers can also be produced as aqueous dispersions with glass transition temperatures (Tg) generally below 0 °C. The physical properties claimed for Metabolix PHA polymers are described below. Some polymers (polyethylene. styrenics and aromatic polyesters.Biodegradable Polymers Metabolix offers PHA homopolymers. copolymers. adhesives. Metabolix has developed techniques and formulations that allow these high Tm PHA polymers to be processed with minimal loss in molecular weight. The higher the 3-hydroxyhexanoic acid comonomer component.Metabolix PHA are aliphatic polyesters and therefore have good UV stability compared with formulated polyoleﬁns. These ﬁlms are extremely tough and show unusual scrub and scuff resistance compared with conventional emulsion polymers. Biodegradability . unlike some other biodegradable polymers. and terpolymers.Metabolix PHA polymers have lower moisture vapour transmission rates than other biodegradable polymers. The heat resistance of PHA means they can be applied to applications such as coated paper cups for hot drinks. and thermoplastic elastomers) have high elongation at break. Elongation can be manipulated from 5% to 100%. Metabolix has developed elastomeric grades that have high levels of recovery (typically >80-90%).Metabolix PHA offer hydrolytic stability under normal service conditions but when exposed to microbial organisms naturally present they break down enzymatically in soil. Attempts to process these materials with high Tm (melting temperature) using conventional techniques can result in a progressive reduction in molecular weight and hence mechanical properties. • • • • Procter & Gamble is the other leading pioneer on the ﬁeld of PHA biodegradable polymers. which have applications as solvents and chemical intermediates. UV Stability . Metabolix’s PHBV (polyhydroxybutyrate valerate) was initially developed by ICI. and have properties similar to vulcanized rubbers. even under high levels of deformation (e. and binders. stretch coatings and ﬁbres. and grades useful in waxes. 0% relative humidity. and yield irreversibly at high levels of extension. ﬂexible PVC. PHBV and related copolymers are made in a pilot plant using different bacteria to create compositions with up to 70% crystallinity. The oxygen transmission rates for unoriented PHA ﬁlms are 25-30 cc-mil/(100 in²-day) at 77 °C.
The material is also said to differ from degradable PLA materials in that it can be broken down by bacteria without prior hydrolysis. Japan. These characteristics open potential for lower-cost handling and disposal of troublesome wastes. which brought a production plant on line in 2005. and automotive parts. 7. electrical and electronics. the most important properties of Nodax polymers according to P&G are its anaerobic and aerobic degradability. hydrolytic stability. For example. single use and disposable items. Nodax C4/C6 is said to be ‘a natural ﬁt’ for injection moulding and extrusion of sheet or ﬁlm. It is the branched nature of Nodax PHBH copolymers that makes them distinctive. These ﬂushable products may exist in the form of paper coatings. paints and coatings. adhesives. from rigid through to ﬂexible ﬁlm.g.The PHA Biodegradable Polymers Market the copolymer becomes. wide range of tailored mechanical properties and excellent miscibility with other resins to further optimise properties. consumer durables. Furthermore.. P&G recently licensed rights to make these polymers to Kuraray in Tokyo. PHBH biodegrades both aerobically and anaerobically (e. which offer possibilities for application in feminine hygiene products such as wipes and tampon applicators. but current emphasis is on the C4/C6 class. To date. cast sheet for thermoforming and melt extruded paper and board coating. foam. the company plans to extend the range of conversion processes to include blown ﬁlm. and comonomer content can range from 2% to 20%. appliances. Metabolix has developed formulations suitable for injection moulding. melting point. PHBH’s long-chain branching allows a considerable range for tailoring crystallinity. In summary. and long-chain (C12-22) species. Carbon side chains of C6 to C24 length are appended to the C4 backbone. In recycling. Procter & Gamble claim potential applications for their Nodax polymers are as follows: • Feminine hygiene products Nodax has the beneﬁt of degradation in septic systems. medical waste containers and devices could be put in a ‘trash digester’ (an industrial alkaline washing machine) for disposal. medium-chain (C8-10). Nodax’s oxygen barrier property approaches that of EVOH. PHBH comes in short-chain (C6). industrial stretchwrap ﬁlms used to protect automobiles during shipment might be removed and disposed of by hot washing and ﬂushing steps instead of labour-intensive ﬁlm handling. stiffness. adhesives and emulsion coatings. surface properties are ideal for printing. and toughness. Adhesion to LDPE and PP is good enough to avoid tie layers in multi-layer structures. Therefore. ﬁbre and nonwovens. ﬁbres. good odour and oxygen barrier. Analogous to a conventional LDPE copolymer. underwater) and is alkaline digestible and water-soluble. it might be feasible to alkaline digest low-value elements of a bottle recycling stream (labels and caps) while keeping the bottles intact for reclaim. agriculture and soil stabilization.2 Applications Development Metabolix’s PHA is being targeted at potential applications in packaging. In future. blow moulding. including high receptivity to printing inks and dyes. ﬁlms and foams. houseware. cast ﬁlm. controlling the copolymerisation ratio is said to enable production of a wide variety of grades. 81 . The polymer has mechanical properties similar to a polyoleﬁn and surface properties much like PET.
plates. Nodax is a soft and pliable.2. sealability and printability provides potential for Nodax in ﬂexible packaging.2. Nodax coating can also be applied to foodservice articles such as cups. 82 . Polyester ﬁlms have better printability because of their higher surface energy. and placemats. will spontaneously digest Nodax coating. High temperature. where there is growing industry interest in use of degradable materials.2. since it can be converted like a polypropylene ﬁlm and is already printable. Nodax could be applied in either a solid particulate or latex form to thermally bonded nonwovens. heat and dielectric sealability. high barrier. cruise and navy ships. Its fast anaerobic degradability means these materials can be disposed of in marine or other low oxygen environments. 7. hydrolytic stability and compostability characteristics offer potential as compostable paper or plastic bags as well as agricultural ﬁlm.Biodegradable Polymers • Nonwovens Nodax properties are suitable for short life applications include medical surgical garments and disposable wipes and also some long life applications include automotive upholstery and carpet. yet reasonably transparent polyester resin.3 Thermoformed Articles Nodax’ properties of barrier. The ideal market opportunities are found in closed loop environments such as theme park landﬁlls. 7. Nodax can substitute for both the polypropylene and polyester layers. in the presence of caustics. while at the same time preserving aesthetics and disposal options. Nodax could also provide high wet strength to tissue and other papers. and excellent printability of Nodax offer opportunities in coated linerboard and coated papers. This is especially attractive since no sticky residues will be created from the Nodax coated recycled paper. Nodax is complimentary with composting of food waste. • Binders The thermal and surface properties of Nodax offer potential for binding of nonwovens such as PET. 7. When it comes to disposal. This allows the converter to combine high quality printing and high barrier with traditional paper recycling. 7. For example. a thin layer of PET is often reverse-printed and then laminated over polypropylene.2 Flexible Packaging The combination of odour barrier. and printability offer potential as lidding or tub stock for thermoformed articles.4 Coated/Corrugated Paper The repulpability.1 Films Nodax’ combination of odour barrier. Nodax is easily digestible by the same process as the de-inking step in the recycling of used paper.2.
2.0 per kg. The cost of PHA-based materials is on the high side and prices will have to come down much more for major inroads into end use markets to be made in future.0 per kg. a big obstacle is obtaining food contact approvals. which makes the material suitable for some medical applications such as drug release.5 Synthetic Papers There are growing opportunities for polymer-based synthetic papers for labels where the printability and reduced environmental impact of Nodax polymers could play a role. In Japan. plans call for exploring direct or plant-grown PHBV. food-approval testing is prohibitively expensive. Despite high prices. there are a few places where PHB is used. However. and nerve guidance. which can be easily thrown overboard after use and degrade in the sea. PHB is being used for manufacture of women’s disposable razors. crop-based production has potential to drive PHB costs to more competitive levels from improved productivity. bone regeneration. is investigating the manufacture of Nodax by plant-grown methods. The US Navy opted to use PHB cups. Over the longer term. 7. Metabolix has produced PHBV for the ﬁrst time in a commercial-scale fermentation plant. PHB prices range from €9-16 per kg.2. 7. Much idle fermentation capacity exists in the U. P&G for example. for making animal feed such as lysine and food additives like MSG.0-2. To further reduce PHBV costs. which prevents them from replacing lower-priced commodity plastics for the time being. PHB producers expect continued progress in fermentation processes and identiﬁcation of lower cost feedstock to provide more reasonable material costs for niche markets.The PHA Biodegradable Polymers Market 7. The supplier states that this method could reduce Nodax prices to between €1. 7.7 Polymer Blends Nodax can be blended with other biodegradable polymers such as polylactic acid and thermoplastic starch for improved processing performance. The supplier plans to use this on a toll basis or through a joint venture to cut the current high costs.S. PHB producers believe the material is suitable for food packaging such as yoghurt cups and beverage bottles. It holds out hope of driving PHBV cost down to below €2.6 Bioresorbable Medical Devices Nodax has superior biocompatibility compared to other bioresorbable plastics. in which polymer is made in the leaves or roots of a plant. Longer term. For example.3 Market Drivers The speciﬁc factors driving demand for PHA-based biodegradable polymers are discussed below. Due to the many substances present in the residual biomass. Suppliers such as Biomer are putting food-approval effort on hold until it can secure a commitment from a large food processor. Metabolix claims that switchgrass is being investigated because it grows well on marginal land. 83 .2.
5). Metabolix has received $10 million in federal funding for switch grass research. ADM will obtain exclusive manufacturing rights and certain co-exclusive marketing rights to Metabolix proprietary PHA technology. The ﬁrst commercial product using Metabolix PHA will be a soil stake used in farming.Biodegradable Polymers Leading suppliers such as Metabolix and Procter & Gamble have also formed collaboration agreements with strategic partners to speed up the commercialisation of PHA biodegradable polymers (Section 7. The ﬁrm is also involved in joint ventures with agricultural processing ﬁrm Archer Daniels Midland Co. Through the alliance. In 2003. In 2005. ﬁbres. 7. Metabolix is also exploring the use of switch grass. and moulded goods. Metabolix Inc. which is supplying initial feedstock. that was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992 and acquired biopolymer technology from Monsanto Inc. a common wild grass that grows in many areas of the Midwest.5 Suppliers and their Products The major suppliers of PHA-based biodegradable polymers are described below. which can be used to produce biodegrading plastic materials. and BP plc. which can be converted to energy. BASF will investigate the material’s technology and processing. the two companies are planning to establish a state-of-the-art 50.000 tonnes by 2010. and in developing niche applications. In addition.000 tonnes per annum production facility and a 50/50 joint venture to manufacture and market natural PHA polymers for a wide variety of applications. USA.. Metabolix and BASF teamed up to speed the commercialisation of PHA materials in ﬁlm. A co-product of the process would be advantaged biomass material. moulded parts and coatings. the companies will explore commercial options to exploit any technology that results from the collaboration. The item was available from early 2006.4 Market Size and Forecast The PHA-based biodegradable polymers’ market is still very much at the developmental stage with few commercial applications in existence. Assuming that producers are successful in bringing down PHA production costs and prices. The two-year collaboration agreement with BP will involve research and development of grass crops containing high levels of naturally grown polymers.. 7. in 2001. as a potential feedstock. The polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) polyester will be produced from sugar by Metabolix Inc using fermentation technology for the initial one-year agreement. The strategic alliance with Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has the purpose of commercialising Metabolix PHA products. BP will provide ﬁnancial support for the programme as well as full-time staff over the two-year period starting 14th February 2005. PHA has been used in the medical area 84 . market tonnage is estimated at no more than around 250-300 tonnes worldwide. Under the agreement. based on corn sugar in 2005 at an undisclosed location in the Midwest. Metabolix began its ﬁrst commercial production of organic polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) resin. including coated paper. To date. The plant was expected to produce around 100 tonnes of material in 2005 and close to 1000 tonnes in 2006. ﬁlm. is a private ﬁrm based in Cambridge. market tonnage could be around 3. Massachusetts.
In 2004. and blending materials for production of biomaterials. US speciality chemical company Polyscience Inc has introduced a new range of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) biodegradable polymers that are potential candidates for drug delivery. is easy to mould. it will be necessary to ﬁnd attractive applications for the materials in niche markets. Biomer claims that 1. wrapping fragrances for food applications. Injection moulded applications include medical diagnostic tools. so high clamp force is not necessary to produce complex structures. Melt viscosity is very low. Grade P226 reportedly has mechanical properties similar to polypropylene. German company Biomer is exploring new markets for its PHB and PLA polyesters. Grade P209 has properties similar to HDPE but elongation at break is signiﬁcantly lower because of the material’s crystalline structure. The polyester extract is then compounded with low and high molecular weight plasticizers. PHB is also extruded into multi-ﬁlaments for woven surgical patches. cosmetic applications. This allows the PHA block to remain optically active and the side chain length and ratio with PEG to be varied. As PHA is more expensive than commodity plastics.2 mm thick samples of its materials degrade in a composting environment within six weeks. Biomer has experienced strong growth over the period 2004-2005. Biomer is developing PHB grades with higher melt strength for blown ﬁlm. The materials are said to process like liquid crystal polymers and have a melt ﬂow rate (MFR) above 20 g/10 min. which is not a price sensitive area. Biomer develops microorganisms that ferment sugar or starch syrup through a toll manufacturing arrangement. particularly in the USA. and processing aids to produce three standard injection moulding formulations. They are manufactured with a controlled molecular PHA block from high molecular weight bacterial PHA. and offers fast cycle times. PHA-b-PEG block copolymers are a new family of amphiphilic block copolymers. 85 . Production capacity is believed to be several tonnes per month.The PHA Biodegradable Polymers Market for biodegradable surgical threads. Grade P240 is a higher impact version of P209. which are injection moulded. ﬁrework casings. Procter & Gamble formed a joint development agreement with Japan’s Kaneka Corporation for the commercialisation of Nodax biodegradable polymers. nucleators. and practice artillery shells for the military. The companies will develop costeffective ways of producing Nodax through fermentation and make the polymer easier to process so it can be used in a wider range of applications. Biomer also produces smaller amounts of PLA for transparent medical diagnostic strips.
Biodegradable Polymers 86 .
The solution is a combination of aliphatic polyesters and aromatic polyesters. aromatic polyesters like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) have high melting points above 200 °C and very good material properties. 87 . Novamont. but because of their melting points of 60 °C are unsuitable for many applications. One is highly amorphous. Unlike other petrochemicalbased polymers that take a very long time to degrade after disposal. these polyesters break down rapidly to CO2 and water in appropriate conditions where they are exposed to the combined attack of water and microbes.g. or PS. The three most prominent global suppliers of synthetic biodegradable polymers are BASF. with properties similar to PET. A second group of semicrystalline polyesters is more rigid. Synthetic biodegradable polyesters fall into two broad categories. The main types of synthetic biodegradable polymer in commercial use are as follows. and DuPont. In this way it was possible to combine the degradability of aliphatic polyesters with the outstanding properties of aromatic polyesters. Synthetic biodegradable polyesters are made in modiﬁed PET polymerisation facilities from petrochemical feedstocks. This involves modifying the crystalline structure of PBT by incorporating aliphatic monomer (adipic acid) in the polymer chain in such a way that the material properties of the polymer would remain acceptable (e. and Japanese composting standards. PP.. but the polymer would also be readily compostable/biodegradable.8 The Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers Market 8. • • • • • • • Polybutylene adipate/terephthalate (PBAT) from BASF and IRe Chemical Polybutylene succinate (PBS) from Showa Highpolymers Polybutylene succinate/adipate) (PBSA) from Showa Highpolymers and IRe Chemicals Polybutylene succinate/carbonate (PBSC) from Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Polybutylene succinate terephthalate (PBST) from DuPont Polytetramethylene adipate/terephthalate (PTMT) from Novamont Polycaprolactone (PCL) from Daicel Chemical and Solvay Aliphatic polyesters like polycaprolactone (PCL) or polybutylene adipate (PBA) are readily biodegradable. which acquired Eastman Chemicals Eastar Bio product portfolio in 2005.1 Introduction In the past ﬁve years. On the other hand. imparting ﬂexibility and clarity comparable to a conventional LDPE copolymer. These products meet US. typically breaking down in twelve weeks under aerobic conditions. European. melting point of the crystalline range still around 100 °C). but are not biodegradable. a broad range of synthetic biodegradable resins based on aliphatic-aromatic copolyesters have been commercialised by global suppliers.
Bags and sacks is one of the most important market sectors for Ecoﬂex. lawn-and-garden bags. and meat wraps. USA. and terephthalic acid. adipic acid. That makes it possible for 10-micron cling ﬁlms to replace vinyl in vegetable. 8.2 Applications Development Synthetic biodegradable polyesters are used mainly as specialty materials for paper coating. Ecoﬂex can be used as a coating material to make paper. the consumer division of NTI. Zerust’s new Great Green Earth bags can be used to replace paper bags for organic waste disposal. ﬁsh. These are useful properties for hamburger boxes. to market a synthetic biodegradable clear plastics bag for lawn and leaf applications. packaging for meat. and natural-ﬁbre reinforcements such as ﬂax. cardboard or starch-based foam tougher and protect against fat. Zerust. Eastar Bio is offered in general-purpose and blown-ﬁlm grades. using either Ecoﬂex on its own. and process much like LDPE. The Great Green Earth bags are manufactured using a proprietary technology developed by Northern Technologies International (NTI). In the semi-crystalline category. as moisture-barrier ﬁlms). ﬁbres. and garbage bags and sacks. They have high moisture and grease resistance. food dishes and fast-food boxes. refuse bags and carrier bags. DuPont offers a modiﬁed PET incorporating three proprietary aliphatic monomers. Lino Lakes. The aliphatic-aromatic co-polyesters have a melting point of 108 °C and offer good contact clarity. The ﬁlm can be ploughed into the ﬁeld and is degraded in the soil after use. BASF’s products contain long-chain branching while Eastar Bio is highly linear in structure. moisture and temperature variations. agricultural ﬁlms. Biomax 6962 has 1. BASF claims its materials also make ﬁlms with 50% lower MVTR (moisture vapour transmission rate) than other biodegradable polymers. poultry. or an Ecoﬂex/starch blend. also markets food waste bags and agricultural ﬁlm under the Great Green Earth brand. and elongation.. Ecoﬂex is also found in agricultural ﬁlms such as cover sheeting and mulch ﬁlm. They are also showing up in thermoformed packaging as functional adjuncts to lower-cost biodegradable materials (e. Ecoﬂex is said to have high toughness and good cling properties.Biodegradable Polymers BASF’s Ecoﬂex and Novamont’s Eastar Bio Ecoﬂex are aromatic-aliphatic co-polyesters based on butanediol. and paper coatings. netting. Ecoﬂex co-polyester is being used by Zerust Consumer Products in Ohio. adhesion. Great Green Earth bags are approved by the US Biodegradable Products Institute. Biodegradable polyesters also generally work well in blends with PLA. and are certiﬁed via ASTM D6400 for their ability to biodegrade swiftly and safely during municipal or commercial composting. The Ecoﬂex F (ﬁlm) version imparts high elongation and dart impact and yields clear ﬁlms that weld and print easily. Mechanical properties include high stiffness and 40% to 500% elongation. fruit or vegetables. versus 250 °C for PET. organic wastes.g. Eastar Bio is used in nonwovens. They have a melting point of 110-115 °C. resulting in higher service temperature capability and faster processing rates than for other biodegradables. fruit. It can be used in the manufacture of fresh fruit and vegetable bags. 88 . starch.35 g/cc density and 195 °C melting point. BASF Ecoﬂex co-polyester ﬁlms have a property proﬁle similar to that of low-density polyethylene and can be produced on existing LDPE extrusion processing lines. Minn. In packaging. coffee cups.
DuPont’s Biomax is used in a number of specialty packaging applications.5-4. disposable cutlery. lawn-and-garden bags. world consumption of synthetic biopolymers is projected to reach 32. Polycaprolactones cost between €4-7 per kg.65 per kg. injection-moulded parts.6% during the period 20052010.0 per kg. better barrier properties and a greater ease of processing. DuPont has targeted fast-food disposable packaging.4 Market Size and Forecast Table 8. and paper coatings. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 18. agricultural ﬁlms.900 tonnes to 14. In 2010. 2005 and 2010. for particular development. and bottles. Synthetic types can cost up to three times the price of commodity polymers such as polyethylene and polypropylene. agricultural ﬁlm. These forecasts assume that producers are successful in lowering the cost of production and that the price differential between synthetic biopolymers and standard thermoplastics continue to narrow. New product development is also playing an important role in driving the synthetic biopolymer market. SK Chemicals’ SkyGreen products are used in ﬁlms. better clarity. Feedstock is expensive compared with biopolymers based on renewable resources and the production process is more complex and costly. for example. as well as yard-waste bags.1 shows global consumption of synthetic biodegradable polymers by major world region for the years 2000. synthetic biodegradable polymers are more costly than either starch-based or PLA polymers. 8. The more specialised polymers. the launch of the Ecovio product by BASF in 2005 is expected to boost sales of synthetic biopolymers in ﬂexible ﬁlm applications.3 Market Drivers The speciﬁc drivers for synthetic biodegradable polymers are discussed below. For example. such as DuPont’s Biomax.753. and paper coatings. thermoformed cups and trays.000 tonnes. world consumption of synthetic biodegradable polymers has increased from 3. The price of synthetic biodegradable polymers has come down a little during the last three years. 89 . Synthetic polymers based on polyesters and co-polyesters are some of the most expensive biopolymers. and industrial trays. ﬂowerpots. cost as much as €5-6 per kg. These include higher strength. diaper backing. While. food trays. During the period 2000 to 2005. they often have better physical and mechanical properties than types of biodegradable polymers based on renewable resource. agricultural films. the average price of Eastar Bio and BASF’s Ecoﬂex was around €3. netting. In 2003. Synthetic biodegradable polymer prices are expected to fall further over time as production volumes increase and unit costs fall further. trafﬁc cones. coatings for paper.800 tonnes. Showa’s Bionelle products are used in commodity bags.The Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers Market Eastar Bio is used in nonwovens. the average cost of an aliphatic aromatic polyester biopolymer was between €2. In 2005. and ﬁlms because of its superior barrier properties. hairbrush handles. 8.
BASF production capacity for Ecoﬂex is currently around 14.6% Western Europe is the leading market for synthetic biopolymers with 48% of total world consumption in 2005. 2000.7 8.4 18.000 tonnes per annum.6 18.1 shows percentage share of global synthetic biodegradable polymers consumption by end use market for the year 2005. Packaging represents 39% of total consumption with ‘other’ applications such as agricultural ﬁlm. 8.8 18. Asia Paciﬁc and North America each account for around 26% of consumption.000 tonnes of annual production of the material in early 2006 at Schwarzheide.5% Asia Paciﬁc 1. Figure 8. Germany to meet growing demand for the polymer.0 32.2 3.1 Global consumption of synthetic biodegradable polymers by major world region. 2005 Bags and sacks represents around a half of synthetic biodegradable polymer consumption worldwide in 2005. paper coating and nonwovens representing 11% of total market volumes.4% Total 3.5 Suppliers and their Products The major suppliers of synthetic biodegradable polymers are described below.2 3.1 Percentage share of global synthetic biodegradable polymers consumption by end use market. 90 .7 15.8 18.5 6. 2005 and 2010 (’000 tonnes) Western Europe 2000 2005 2010 CAGR 2005-2010 1.Biodegradable Polymers Table 8. Figure 8. The ﬁrm added about 6.7% North America 1.9 14.6 8.
Biomax can be recycled. Biomax 6962 has 1. BASF will also supply the ‘basic component’ as Ecovio L. Sorona makes a softer ﬁbre than either polyester or nylon while still offering other desirable attributes like superior comfort-stretch. For example. Proprietary monomers are incorporated into the polymer. According to DuPont. so that processors can combine it with Ecoﬂex or PLA themselves to obtain softer or harder formulations than the ﬁrst LBX 8145 grade or to modify Ecovio L to make it suitable for injection moulding or deep-drawing applications. Sorona ﬁbre also enables ﬁbre to be dyed at lower temperatures than either polyester or nylon. as well as for barrier ﬁlms and waste-bin liners. and Korea’s SK Chemicals both have small plants producing aliphatic (polybutylene succinate) and aliphatic-aromatic (polybutyrate adipate terephthalate) polyesters. resulting in higher service temperature capability and faster processing rates than for other biodegradable polymers. Eastman introduced its biodegradable polymer in 1997 and since then has invested more than €75m in the project. The plant will make a grade of corn-based propanediol used to produce DuPont’s Sorona-brand polymer. Some Bionolle grades are modiﬁed with diisocyanate chain extenders to improve stiffness and thermal properties. Ecovio was commercially available from March 2006. incinerated or landﬁlled. At elevated temperatures. The joint venture DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts LLC will build a manufacturing plant in Loudon. It is planned to introduce Ecovio in Asia and NAFTA during the second half of 2006. which is set to open in 2006. BASF announced that it was expanding its Ecoﬂex-brand natural plastic line with Ecovio.000 tonnes per annum. All of the new plant’s output will be consumed internally by Sorona production. Showa’s Bionelle products are used in commodity bags. recovery and dyeability. which are then consumed by naturally occurring microbes and converted to carbon dioxide. a blend of NatureWorks PLA and Ecoﬂex. The ﬁbre also allows manufacturers to use up to three different dye methods to create a single fabric with many different colors in a pattern. Ecovio production began in October 2005 at an undisclosed location in Germany. which is being marketed into clothing. Mechanical properties include high stiffness and 40% to 500% elongation. injection-moulded parts. 91 . The resin is used commercially for single-trip disposable packaging. Eastar Bio technology. an agricultural products ﬁrm. On the technology front. and industrial trays.000 tonnes per annum production plant at Hartlepool in the UK. Tennessee. Apart from offering Ecovio to ﬁlm processors. Both ﬁrms also offer their resins in the USA. DuPont has stepped up its efforts in the biodegradable polymers market by forming a joint venture with Tate & Lyle plc. In Europe. but is designed speciﬁcally for disposal by composting. coatings for paper. and ﬁlms because of its superior barrier properties. Biomax is being used in a number of specialty packaging applications. was acquired by Novamont in 2005. the structure of the fibre molecule gives Sorona materials improved characteristics. which is polyester-based. which was developed and owned by Eastman Chemicals. Japan’s Showa Highpolymers. DuPont offers a family of biodegradable polymers based on polyethylene terephthalate (PET) technology known commercially as Biomax. textile ﬁbres and packaging. the large polymer molecules are cleaved by moisture into smaller molecules. The plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 45. which began production in 1999. trafﬁc cones.The Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers Market In November 2005. Eastman has a 15. BASF said the ﬁrst application will be in ﬂexible ﬁlms used for shopping bags. versus 250 °C (482 °F) for PET. agricultural ﬁlms. water and biomass. thermoformed cups and trays. creating sites that are susceptible to hydrolysis. The ﬁrst Ecovio LBX 8145 grade contains 45% by weight of PLA that is chemically bound to the Ecoﬂex. part of the Showa Denko group.35 g/cc density and 195 °C (383 °F) melting point. DuPont offers three proprietary aliphatic monomers.
92 .Biodegradable Polymers In 2005. MGC’s PEC reportedly is used in a new portable tape-cassette player introduced by Sony Corp. which cost less. DIC developed a biodegradable copolymer called CPLA based on a co-polyester plus lactic acid. Daicel Chemicals of Japan offers Celgreen PH. It has a melting point of 110 °C and stiffness-toughness balance comparable to PP homopolymer. Solvay’s CAPA products are a range of polycaprolactone homopolymers that offer a combination of properties resulting in hard crystalline biodegradable polymers that melt at low temperatures (58-60 °C) and have very good hot melt adhesive characteristics. hairbrush handles and paper coatings. which is ﬂexible but resists tearing because of its unique ‘tangled’ molecular structure. where reuse or recycling are difﬁcult. food trays. Japan’s Dainippon Ink and Chemicals (DIC) has pursued the alternate approach of combining polyester and PLA properties into one polymer. and in applications that take advantage of other Celgreen strengths. while more lactic acid adds stiffness. Showa developed a new biodegradable formulation of polybutylene succinate (PBS). Japan’s Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC) also offers a biodegradable version of polycarbonate termed ‘polyester carbonate’ (PEC). Aliphatic versions biodegrade more rapidly and offer better processing and tensile properties than the aromatic-aliphatic grades. They are used in ﬁlms. biodegradable polymers based on polycaprolactone (PCL) and Celgreen PCA based on cellulose acetate. The latter are available as ﬁlled or unﬁlled versions for applications ranging from laminating adhesives to biodegradable ﬁlms. The polymers are terminated with primary OH groups and can be utilised for crosslinking in applications such as reactive hot melt adhesives. The main applications are found in textile ﬁbres. environmental ﬁelds. One version of CPLA is reported to combine PS-like clarity with PP-like physical properties. and low melting point. oxygen barrier strength. disposable cutlery. Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals offers a PBS based synthetic biopolymer under the Iupex trade name. Solvay also offers premium grades such as the high clarity option (CAPA 6500C) and blown ﬁlm grades (CAPA FB). A higher ratio of co-polyester increases ﬂexibility. South Korean company SK Chemicals produces SKYGREEN polybutylene succinate (PBS) thermoplastics based on aliphatic polyester and aliphatic/aromatic co-polyesters that were developed from SK Chemicals polyethylene terephthalate (PET) technology. Japan’s IRe Chemicals also offers a polybutylene succinate product under the trade name EnPol 4000. SKYGREEN BDP products offer LDPE-like properties. water retention and absorption. including in vivo biodegradation absorption.
9 • • • • • • • • • Market Opportunities for Biodegradable Polymers 9. sacks and packaging. The reason that a biodegradable ﬁlm could be advantageous 93 .2 Packaging The packaging market offers the greatest potential for biodegradable polymers.1 Introduction During the last three years biodegradable polymers have begun to ﬁnd new applications outside of their traditional market of bags. the packaging sector offers many opportunities for biodegradable polymers in future.1 Flexible Packaging Film. wrap and bags for food scrap. This section reviews the market opportunities for manufacturers of biodegradable plastics in packaging markets. Conventional plastics are a signiﬁcant contaminant in organics processing and they reduce the marketability of the compost produced.2. Packaging is by far the largest market for plastics accounting for about 30% of the 40 million tonnes of plastics consumed in the European Union. food residues and food products. Another application for biodegradable plastics is for plastic ﬁlms used in fresh food wrapping and plastic wrap used in the catering industry. This chapter examines where biodegradable polymers are currently being used and assesses future market opportunities in the following areas: Packaging Bags and sacks Disposable serviceware Agriculture and horticulture Medical devices Consumer electronics Automotive Speciality cards Fibres 9. These applications depend on the disposal environment being a commercial composting operation. Given the growing environmental awareness of consumers and brand owners. destined for composting in commercial composting facilities. which provides the necessary conditions for the polymer to degrade. government concerns about the growing cost of waste disposal and the developing compost infrastructure in various European countries. 9. holds considerable potential for biodegradable plastics.
a blend of NatureWorks PLA and Ecoﬂex. The ﬁrst Ecovio LBX 8145 grade contains 45% by weight of PLA that is chemically bound to the Ecoﬂex. PLA can also be used for a wide range of ﬁlms and label applications in the ﬂexible packaging market including heat-seal overlays.2. According to companies such as Mitsubishi Plastics. heat resistance. especially for fast food restaurants and outdoor events. The high water vapour permeability of starch blend ﬁlm is an advantage and helps to keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer. window ﬁlms. Consumers are already encountering biodegradable ﬂexible packaging in a number of supermarkets.2 Rigid Packaging Biodegradable plastics are also ﬁnding growing interest for the manufacture of rigid packaging in place of conventional plastics such as polypropylene. which is polyester-based. PLA ﬁlm was traditionally found to be unstable against changes in external factors such as temperature and pressure. supermarket chains such as Sainsbury and Tesco are using biodegradable packaging for organic food products. thus opening up more opportunities for the polymer. They regard PLA as a product that provides a seamless transition from PET and other petroleum-based plastics. Environmental trends. In the Netherlands. When the shelf life has expired. with little further manual input necessary. more competitive pricing and high performance features are seen as the main growth drivers. and displays highly stable ﬂexibility while not losing any of the superior features of PLA such as transparency. Product development is also playing an important role in expanding the market for biodegradable packaging ﬁlm. ﬂow wrap and twist wrap. and biodegradability. In 2005 for example. Biodegradable plastics have particular advantages for manufacture of disposable and single use food and beverage trays and containers. BASF said the ﬁrst application will be in ﬂexible ﬁlms for shopping bags. PET and polystyrene. Eosta.Biodegradable Polymers in these areas is that a signiﬁcant amount of food waste from catering companies and shopping centres can potentially be diverted to commercial composting facilities. Toray Industries has developed a new technology that contains the occurrence of bleeding out when faced with changes in temperature or pressure. Also in the Netherlands. a company that trades in organically grown vegetables and fruit decided to package all their products in starch-based bioplastics. where commercial composting of left over food would be feasible. Albert Heijn has been using biodegradable packaging for a number of its fresh organic fruit and vegetable products since 2003. resulting in the bleeding out of the liquid plasticiser used for its manufacture. for example. BASF introduced Ecovio. 94 . 9. the food and the packaging can be composted efﬁciently together. In the UK. This development should lead to production of improved ﬁlm in future. This in turn led to defects in the ﬁlm characteristics such as transparency and ﬂexibility. which were altered over time. Starch-based biodegradable plastics are used to make extruded bags and nets for fresh fruit and vegetables. the ﬂexible packaging sector has the most potential for NatureWorks PLA. Mitsubishi Plastics is conducting research on NatureWorks PLAbased biaxially-oriented ﬁlm for high performance industrial plastic applications and believes there is bright promise for NatureWorks PLA in composite ﬁlm products.
vegetable oils and dairy products. Husky. 95 . Jivita became the most recent water to be bottled in NatureWorks PLA. Dairy packaging. ﬂowers. but as volumes pick up the price gap will narrow. Monolayer bottles of NatureWorks PLA can be formed on the same injection moulding/stretch blow moulding equipment used for PET. including tubs for yoghurt. to create the world’s ﬁrst aromatherapeutic water. PLA is also used for thermoformed trays and containers. PLA permits manufacture of varied and complex bottle shapes and sizes. UK mineral water brand Belu launched the UK’s ﬁrst biodegradable mineral water bottle made of PLA. As PLA prices move closer to those of PET there may be a tendency for brand owners to switch from PET in favour of biodegradable polymers such as PLA for injection stretch blow moulded bottles. dairy beverages and edible oil is also a potentially interesting market for PLA. Amcor is at an advanced stage of development with a PLA bottle project for at least one major European customer. The market for PLA bottles is attracting a lot of attention in Europe and consumers are starting to show an interest in packaging made from renewable resources. These development activities appear to be paying off with the announcement in September 2005 that Amcor PET Packaging is working with Husky to develop a European market for compostable PLA bottles for applications such as still mineral water. London restaurants and clubs such as Nobu. Sketch and the Groucho Club. PET has some properties that PLA does not have and so NatureWorks is targeting applications where it has a competitive edge such as fresh food packaging and products that don’t require sophisticated barriers such as water. US dairy products supplier Naturally Iowa Dairy announced natural and organic milk in bottles stretch blow moulded from NatureWorks PLA. The new bottle is available through outlets that already stock the brand. Starch-based biodegradable plastics are used for the manufacture of thermoformed trays and containers for packaging fresh food and convenience food. In November 2005. a strategic partner in the development. with no sacriﬁce in production rate. sour cream and margarine is another growing area of application for biodegradable polymers. However. and an 11-oz single-serve PLA bottle. The PLA price is a bit on the high side compared with PET and polypropylene at the moment. milk and juice products. fresh juices.25-2-gallon bottles. The company chose biodegradable plastics as a means of enhancing its environmental credentials.Market Opportunities for Biodegradable Polymers Examples of where biodegradable plastics are being used at the moment are described below. Injection stretch blow moulded bottles and jars for short-shelf-life applications that use cold-ﬁlling techniques for contents such as still water.25-2-gallon bottles are produced by Liquid Container/Plaxicon using stock moulds. Several varieties of PLA-bottled milk are being offered including half-gallon ‘grip’ bottles. Also in 2005. In 2005. The 1. PLA is also ﬁnding that there are growing opportunities in thermoformed trays and containers for packaging fresh food. but also because renewable packaging materials have marketing advantages for the consumer. pricing remains an issue. including the Waitrose retail chain. The company says that the PLA bottle and label are a natural ﬁt and help strengthen the product’s all-natural appeal. has demonstrated production of NatureWorks PLA preforms on a HyPet 90 moulding system. not only on cost grounds. The brand contains natural extracts. 1. resins and bark.
usually to provide a moisture barrier layer to lower-cost biodegradable materials. At present. This also restricts the biodegradation of the paper substrate since it acts as an impervious barrier. They added that the PLA packaging ﬁtted neatly with the company’s organic message and saw PLA as a way to differentiate their products from the competition. Auchan launched NatureWorks PLA rigid containers for salads in April 2005 and reported six months later that sales of its PLA packed salads had grown signiﬁcantly. which can withstand temperatures over 200 °C without distortion. select tomato packaging and gift cards in due course. Iper. Also in 2004. became one of the ﬁrst adopters of PLA for packaging with the introduction of thermoformed containers for fresh fruits. In 2004. 96 . For example. Iper worked with European packaging suppliers Autobar to develop thermoformed containers and with Treofan GmbH to develop the ﬁlm lidstock for their containers. Del Monte estimates that 50% of its containers for fresh cut produce will be made from NatureWorks PLA in 2006. pasta and salad. It plans to expand use of nature-based packaging for items such as cut vegetables. Research showed that consumers perceive that nature-based packaging enhances the appeal of fresh food. pears and tomatoes in rigid trays sealed with a ﬂow wrap ﬁlm made from NatureWorks PLA. herbs. in 2005. 9. and strongly prefer products packaged in biodegradable plastic containers. Wal-Mart began using NatureWorks PLA for fresh cut fruit. In 2005. Italian supermarket chain. are extrusion coated with low density polyethylene ﬁlm that is resistant to biodegradation. Iper selected PLA because it enabled the company to provide customers with a natural food product protected by a natural package. Hycail claims that the increased heat resistance has not affected other properties such as transparency. Newman’s claim that the packaging helped the success of the products from launch and generated higher sales than expected.Biodegradable Polymers In 2002. Synthetic biodegradable polymers are also ﬁnding a growing number of applications in thermoformed packaging. without distortion or stress cracking. processability and strength.3 Paper Coating Coated or laminated paper products represent a signiﬁcant potential market for biodegradable polymers. donut boxes.2. SPAR Austria started packaging organic apples. which they say is an important combination that allows them to differentiate themselves from the competition. Hycail announced the launch of a new biodegradable material. The company claims that the new material is a genuine game changer in PLA technology and puts it in the high performance thermoplastics arena. Newman’s Own introduced a line of organic salads packaged in NatureWorks PLA clamshell containers. It can also be microwaved with fatty and liquid foods. Auchan plans to expand NatureWorks PLA to packaging its line of pastries. Other retailers using PLA containers include Auchan and Wal-Mart. packaging such as hamburger wrapping and disposable cups. strawberries and Brussels sprouts in 2005. Product development is also playing a role in widening the application potential for PLA in rigid packaging. Del Monte Fresh Produce NA introduced NatureWorks PLA containers for fresh cut produce in Wild Oats Markets. Hycail XM 1020. vegetables.
creating 147 kg of compost. 9.5 million beers in NatureWorks PLA cups at three popular Belgian music festivals. These are ideal properties for hamburger boxes. food dishes and fast food boxes. Indeed. concerts. 97 . Over the next ﬁve years. Biodegradable plastics present an attractive alternative to polyethylene in these applications. or an Ecoﬂex/starch blend. universities. There is still considerable potential for biodegradable polymers in the manufacture of bags and sacks. While. There are opportunities for biodegradable polymers for manufacture of supermarket carrier bags. 9.Market Opportunities for Biodegradable Polymers Synthetic biodegradable polymers such as BASF’s Ecoﬂex can be used as a coating material for paper. biodegradable plastics have made some inroads into these markets. fruit or vegetables. shopping malls and other venues that beneﬁt from the disposal options available with biodegradable polymers. the French government has voted to ban production and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags from 2010. Coated paper for butter and lard also beneﬁt from the very high grease resistance of some synthetic bioplastics. using either Ecoﬂex on its own. coffee cups. moisture and temperature variations. refuse bags and carrier bags. It can be used to manufacture fresh fruit and vegetable bags. Starch-based biodegradable plastics are used for manufacture of various types of bags and sacks including refuse sacks. Loose-ﬁll starch-based foam is used for packaging consumer products as an alternative to polystyrene and polyethylene. and cutlery. given the growing concern by various governments about the use of plastic bags. packaging for meat. A total of 2. Bags and sacks is one of the most important market sectors for synthetic biodegradable polymers such as BASF’s Ecoﬂex.3 Bags and Sacks Plastic bags have a high proﬁle in the land waste stream as these materials are not currently accepted in the kerbside collection and recycling systems. 9.4 Loose-Fill Packaging Loose-ﬁll packaging was one of the ﬁrst successful areas of application for starch-based biodegradable polymers. poultry.2. biopolymers are expected to make further inroads into these markets. Serviceware made with biodegradable polymers such as PLA is particularly valued at outdoor events such as sports stadiums. and generated a lot of interest in Alken-Maes. plates.4 Disposable Serviceware PLA can be used in the manufacturing of disposable cold drink cups. The development of municipal waste collection programmes and composting infrastructures around the world offers excellent growth prospects for the use of biopolymers in refuse and composting bags. shopping bags and compost bags. cardboard or starch-based foam to toughen and protect against fat. amusement parks. the future prospects for their growth in loose-ﬁll are not so exciting as they are in some other areas of packaging. ﬁsh.940 kg of compostable cups were recycled at those music festivals. bowls. Alken-Maes Breweries served more than 1. In the summer of 2005 for example.
Mulch ﬁlm is utilised in some agricultural applications. The main parameters for suture selection are based on criteria such as tensile strength. market-garden items such as plant pots. There are many examples of biomedical applications for biodegradable polymers in the medical and dental ﬁelds but the main applications include wound sutures and staples. such as tomato cropping. as a mulch soil cover to inhibit weed growth and retain soil moisture. 9. These ﬁlms could be made from biodegradable plastics to eliminate the need for mechanical removal. products made from biodegradable polymers are being used in the natural environment for applications where biological recycling makes sense. as the mulch ﬁlm could be ploughed into the soil. became the ﬁrst retailer in Europe to offer consumers serviceware from NatureWorks PLA in April 2005. seed/fertiliser tape and binding materials and ﬁshing lines and nets. There are basically two types of suture. agricultural mulching ﬁlm. 9. braided and monoﬁlament sutures.1 Sutures Sutures are the major area of application for biodegradable polymers in the medical devices market. 9. Braided sutures are typically more pliable than monoﬁlament and exhibit better knot security when the same type of knot is used.6. cardiovascular and intestinal supports. polymer tissues. Applications include bags for organic refuse. Agricultural mulching ﬁlm is a particularly promising area of application for biodegradable polymers. Some of the most signiﬁcant commercial applications of biodegradable polymers are discussed in more detail below. Coop Italia for example. orthopaedic mouldings. These ﬁlms could also prevent the loss of topsoil humus that could be removed along with the waste ﬁlm. and ease of tying. ophthalmic. Their major advantage is that they exhibit less tissue drag. The company reported that sales had since exceeded their expectations. However.5 Agriculture and Horticulture At the present time.6 Medical Devices Biodegradable polymers for medical devices are typically made from materials that are able to dissolve and be absorbed into the human body. Monoﬁlament sutures are more wiry and may require a more secure knot. marine sports and mountain climbing. the sutures market is mature and is not expected to grow rapidly in the future. strength retention. a characteristic that is especially important for cardiovascular. and also enrich the soil with additional carbon. Starch-based biodegradable polymers will continue to experience good growth in these applications over the next ﬁve years. sponges and mouldings. cemetery decorations. and neurological surgery. 98 . infection potential. knot security. tissue drag.Biodegradable Polymers There are also opportunities for serviceware made from biodegradable polymers through retail outlets. biodegradable plastic screws and rods for pinning and repairing ligaments. Biopolymers are also ﬁnding uses in the leisure goods sector with applications such as golf tees. disposable goods used in ﬁshing. devices for internal drug deposition.
to proliferate. vascular grafts. Polylactides have a high modulus that makes them more suitable for load bearing applications such as in orthopaedic ﬁxation and sutures.6. knee. and as rods and pins for fracture ﬁxation. Employed as a void ﬁller following tooth extraction. Tissue staples have also replaced sutures in certain procedures. Poly(lactide-co-glycolide) copolymers have been developed for both device and drug delivery applications. Polyglycolide was used to develop the ﬁrst totally synthetic absorbable suture.2 Dental Devices Biodegradable polymers have found use in two dental applications. 9. they have found applications where lower-strength materials are sufﬁcient: for example. These polymers typically require 99 .6. known as PDS and marketed by Ethicon. 9. and a suture product made from polydioxanone. marketed as Dexon in the 1960s by Davis and Geck. Most of the commercially available biodegradable devices are polyesters composed of homopolymers or copolymers of glycolide and lactide. such as the femur. and easier to process. The PHB homopolymer is crystalline and brittle. Other applications currently under scrutiny include ligating clips. allowing healing of the tissues. and tissue engineering scaffolds. porous polymer particles can be packed into the cavity to aid in quicker healing. and eliminate the need for a subsequent operation for implant removal. As a guided-tissue-regeneration (GTR) membrane. as tacks and pins for ligament attachment and meniscal repair. as suture anchors. Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) and polyhydroxyvalerate (PHV) are also being researched for use in medical devices. Rather.4 Other Applications Biodegradable polymers have found other applications that have been commercialised or are under investigation. Some of the most widely used biodegradable polymers used for biomedical applications are brieﬂy described below.Market Opportunities for Biodegradable Polymers 9. including connective and ligament cells. There are also devices made from copolymers of trimethylene carbonate and ε-caprolactone. Polycaprolactone is regarded as tissue compatible and used as a biodegradable suture. whereas the copolymers of PHB with PHV are less crystalline. stents. Inc. as interference screws in the ankle. slower-growing tissue. The exclusion of epithelial cells allows the supporting.6. and hand areas.3 Orthopaedic Fixation Devices Orthopaedic ﬁxation devices made from synthetic biodegradable polymers have advantages over metal implants in that they transfer stress over time to the damaged area. ﬁlms of biodegradable polymer can be positioned to exclude epithelial migration following periodontal surgery. Anastomosis rings have been developed as an alternative to suturing for intestinal resection. Polydioxanone was the ﬁrst clinically tested monoﬁlament synthetic suture. more ﬂexible. The currently available materials have not exhibited sufﬁcient stiffness to be used as bone plates for support of long bones.
Pioneer Corp of Japan has used PLA as a replacement for polycarbonate to manufacture an optical disc. but to date few applications have been developed for biodegradable polymers. it has developed a material that uses PBS combined with bamboo ﬁbre. over processed wood hardboards. NEC has developed a kenaf-reinforced polylactic acid. by roughly 85%. The new material will be used in the front panel of Sony stand-alone DVD players. NEC. 9.8 Automotive Automotive is one of the largest markets for thermoplastics. which makes the material suitable for some medical applications such as drug release. polybutylene succinate (PBS). which is derived from fermented corn or cane sugar. 9. Mitsubishi said that it plans to substitute plant-based resins and quick-growing plant ﬁbres for materials such as petroleum-based resins and wood hardboards used in car interiors. Volatile organic compound levels are also drastically reduced. In February 2006. The company expects to use such blends in its consumer electronics products by early 2007. Bamboo grows quickly and is seen by Mitsubishi as a sustainable resource. Japanese consumer electronics company. In conjunction with Aichi Industrial Technology Institute. which will be used for notebook personal computer housings starting in 2007. the PBS-bamboo ﬁbre composite achieves a 50% cut in carbon dioxide emissions compared with polypropylene. bone regeneration. Japanese electronics company Sharp has developed technology to blend PLA biopolymers with conventional plastics recovered from scrapped consumer appliances. and nerve guidance.7 Consumer Electronics Products A number of Japanese companies have developed biodegradable plastics for a range of consumer electronics applications.4butanediol. This situation is expected to change over the next ﬁve years as more auto manufacturers examine the possibilities offered by biodegradable polymers to replace petrochemical-based polymers. Nodax has superior biocompatibility compared to other bioplastics. for environmental reasons. Sony and Mitsubishi Plastics developed a ﬂame retardant PLA biodegradable resin claimed to be as strong as ABS. in the interior of its new mini-car launched next year. In lifecycle tests. Fujitsu and Toray Industries have developed the ﬁrst large-scale notebook computer housing based on polylactic acid biodegradable polymers. Procter & Gamble’s Nodax PHBH products have potential applications in the medical ﬁeld. and 1. 100 . The housing is moulded of a specially developed PLA/ polycarbonate blend that provide the required heat and ﬂame resistance. PBS is composed of succinic acid.Biodegradable Polymers the presence of enzymes for biodegradation but can degrade in a range of environments and are under consideration for several biomedical applications. Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors announced that it is to use the biopolymer. In 2004. plans to adopt PLA biopolymers for its cellphones and personal computers in order to achieve product differentiation.
PLA ﬁbre properties compare favourably with both PET and rayon ﬁbres. Biopolymers are expected to make further inroads into this enormous market over the next ﬁve years. UV Color. Sorona is a softer ﬁbre than either polyester or nylon and is being targeted mainly at clothing markets. Biodegradable plastic cards provide brand owners and retailers with an environmentally responsible alternative to traditional plastics such as PVC. Companies such as Unitika believes that PLA anti-fungal properties combined with its ability to be engineered for biodegradability makes it ideal as a landscaping fabric. Potential PLA ﬁbre applications include apparel. Unitika sees possibilities for a total system of geotextiles from rope and plant covers to plant pots and fertiliser bags. nonwovens and industrial textiles.000 tonnes per annum manufacturing plant in Loudon. bedding. key. These include the Co-operative Bank in the UK. carpet. of the USA. It has formed a joint venture with Tate & Lyle plc and will open a 45. 9. bedding and industrial materials. 9. personal care. The company is initially developing Ingeo ﬁbre products for industrial and daily use such as carpets. which are branded Earthsource. which uses PLA for its credit and debit cards. credit and retail cards. which use a corn-based propanediol feedstock. US company.9 Speciality Cards PLA can be used for a variety of cards including gift. DuPont is stepping up its drive to develop sustainable materials with the commercialisation of its Sorona ﬁbre materials. Perhaps one of the best areas of opportunity for PLA is in geotextiles for agriculture. Toray plans to develop the ﬁbre for a broad range of applications including clothing and interior decoration materials.Market Opportunities for Biodegradable Polymers Toyota Tsusho Corp. gift cards. Toray is one of the biggest processors of NatureWorks Ingeo PLA ﬁbres in the world. phone cards and other specialty cards. and Diversiﬁed Natural Products Inc. 101 .10 Fibres PLA is the most commonly used biodegradable polymer found in ﬁbre form. furnishings. biopolymers are being used by only a small number of card companies and retailers. also uses biopolymers for its line of transaction cards. Tennessee in 2006. phone. formed a partnership in 2004 to explore the potential for biodegradable polymers in automotive applications. a subsidiary of Toyota Corp. To date. Ultimately.
Biodegradable Polymers 102 .
1 Alpha Packaging 1555 Page Industrial Blvd. Missouri. Technologies used include injection blow moulding.2 Arkhe Planning Co.alphap. and extrusion blow moulding.000 square-foot headquarters in St. injection stretch blow moulding. juice and water bottles. as well as trays for deli meats. Alpha states that PLA is ideal for oil-based products. 10. Alpha was founded in 1969 and is based in a 210.10 www. St. The PLA resin is FDA-approved and suitable for food contact. Louis.com Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10. Alpha manufactures stock and custom containers in a variety of styles and colours. salads and single-serve meals. 19-1-5 Imaichi-Cho Fukui city J-918-8152 Japan Tel: (81) 776 38 4547 Fax: (81) 776 38 4617 Company Overview Arkhe Planning Co was established in 2000 to manufacture innovative textiles and agricultural products 103 . Missouri 63132 USA Tel: (1) 314 427 4300 Fax: (1) 314 427 5445 Company Overview Alpha Packaging manufactures bottles and jars made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and highdensity polyethylene (HDPE) for the pharmaceutical. Biodegradable Plastic Products Alpha Packaging manufactures NatureWorks PLA bottles on stretch blow-moulding machines. Alpha also has plants in Brooklyn and Salt Lake City. nutritional and personal care markets. as well as products with ﬂavour and aroma attributes. It is used for dairy. Louis. which houses injection blow moulding equipment for both PET and HDPE bottles and jars.
encoded magnetic stripes and individual names on each card. membership. an international developer and distributor of high quality pure titanium raw material and parts and accessories for the optical industry. Barnes & Noble. British Airways. Biodegradable Plastic Products Arthur Blank introduced CornCard USA. bar codes. IBM. Arkhe Planning is a subsidiary of Arkhe Group.abco. Major national retailers and quick service restaurants are already considering alternatives to traditional petroleum-based plastics. Costco.com Company Overview Arthur Blank & Company is the largest producer of private label plastic cards in North America. Biodegradable Plastic Products Arkhe’s PLA ﬁbres are used to produce a range of novelty goods including calendar cases. They can also add signature panels. garbage bags. foil stamping. loyalty. mouse pads. Blue Cross Blue Shield. bags. diary covers and stationery. Sears and 7-Eleven. feel. AT&T. Major customers include American Airlines. cell phone straps. debit. Exxon.3 Arthur Blank & Company 225 Rivermoor Street Boston MA 02132 USA Tel: (1) 617 325 9600 Fax: (1) 617 327 1235 www. American Express. nonwoven sheets. Pizzeria Uno. Capabilities include colour matching. holograms. which is available for virtually the entire product line including: gift. and ID cards. Arthur Black was the ﬁrst volume manufacturer to offer PLA-based plastic cards. unusual die cuts. They have been certiﬁed as fully biodegradable under the Japanese GreenPla system. Amtrak. The company also produces hygiene products such as cloth diapers and incontinence pads. sand bags. Bean. name card holders. L. and high-resolution ink jet imaging.Biodegradable Polymers from PLA. 10. 104 . CornCard USA is identical to traditional plastic cards in look. Arkhe PLA ﬁbres are also used for manufacture of biodegradable agricultural products such as nets. anti-weed sheets and rope. and durability while offering the same reliability and functionality. a corn-based plastic card based on NatureWorks PLA as an alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastic cards.L. printing and personalising more than 850 million plastic cards a year. Hyatt Hotels. Manufacturing capacity exceeds 1 billion cards. clips.
for trials in the German market. Biodegradable Plastic Products The Autobar Disposables Group is a pan-European manufacturer of disposable foodservice products trading under the name Veriplast International. the systems to segregate the compostable materials had not yet been developed at that time. Autobar began its experimentation with NatureWorks PLA in 1997 when it manufactured yoghurt containers for Danone. After signiﬁcant input on the thermoforming of NatureWorks PLA. Autobar has worked with Italian supermarket chain. drink. the major European dairy products producer. on the manufacture of PLA thermoformed trays and containers for fresh foods in place of polypropylene. categorised as ‘small’. ‘medium’.autobar. The Group has three trading businesses: Veriplast International. polyethylene.com Company Overview The Autobar Group is a pan-European business that manufactures a large range of packaging products mainly for use in the food. health and home and personal care sectors. The extruded sheet is then thermoformed. Autobar was recognised by NatureWorks LLC as one of its development partners.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10.4 Autobar Group Ltd. without compromising the quality of the thermoformed container. Iper. Autobar begins the production process by creating 330 micron ﬁlm sheets from the NatureWorks PLA resin using a standard cast extrusion line. 105 . polystyrene. Autobar Rigid Packaging and Autobar Flexible Packaging. The downgauging allows Autobar to use less material. France. Autobar House 41-42 Kew Bridge Road Brentford Middlesex TW8 0DY United Kingdom Tel: (44) (0) 208 326 8000 Fax: (44) (0) 208 326 8001 www. thermoforming. extrusion and lamination for processing polypropylene. Autobar utilises injection moulding. The packaging consists of 12 sizes. ‘large’ and ‘maxi’. which helps reduce the production costs. While the containers were found to be successful. that offer a range of dimensions. At its plant in Mont-de-Marsan. PET and PLA biodegradable polymers. from 460 microns down to 330 microns. By using NatureWorks PLA instead of polypropylene. Autobar was able to reduce the wall thickness of the containers.
Bartling is a manufacturer of tailor-made packaging for the food service industry. window ﬁlm and board lamination.5 Bartling GmbH & Co. Bartling is a privately owned company with more than 250 employees. pressure sensitive tape and graphics lamination industries. and operates a separate manufacturing facility in Tiverton. Biodegradable Plastic Products Bi-Ax offers the Evlon line of OPLA ﬁlm made from NatureWorks PLA for packaging and label applications.6 Bi-Ax International 596 Cedar Ave Wingham Ontario N0G 2W0 Canada Tel: (1) 519 3571818 Fax: (1) 519 3573773 www. saladshakers and ice cups. Evlon EV co-extruded plain PLA ﬁlm is a crystal clear ﬁlm that can be used in many packaging applications either plain or printed and laminated. labels. Canada.bartling-cups. Biodegradable Plastic Products Bartling offers a range of products made from NatureWorks PLA such as beer and juice-cups.bixinc. KG Kunststoffe Haller Weg 4 D-33829 Borgholzhausen Germany Tel: (49) 5425 94950 www. Canada. Ontario. 106 . 10. Ontario.com Company Overview Bi-Ax International is a Canadian company dedicated to oriented polylactide ﬁlm (OPLA) and biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) ﬁlm. Bi-Ax International is headquartered in Wingham.com Company Overview Founded in 1959. Target applications include twist wrap. Main markets for Bi-Ax products are the food packaging.Biodegradable Polymers 10.
polargruppen. BioBags are certiﬁed GMO Free. for horizontal and vertical packaging machines. Mater-Bi. 107 . BioBags will decompose in a controlled composting environment within 10-45 days. Suggested applications include bags. BioBag’s main manufacturing facilities are based in Norway and the company has sales ofﬁces throughout Europe. such as paper and food waste. BioBags are shelf stable and no chemical additives are used to enhance decomposition.com Company Overview BioBag is the world’s largest producer of 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable bags and ﬁlms made from Novamont’s starch-based material. as well as in the USA and Canada.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters Evlon Ev HIS is a co-extruded one-side heat sealable PLA ﬁlm for packaging applications either plain or printed and laminated. Biodegradable Plastic Products BioBag International offers the following product range: BioShop shopping bags BioBag pooper bags BioAgri agricultural ﬁlm BioGarden garden waste sacks BioPack for fresh fruit and vegetable packaging BioTech technical ﬁlms and bags for industry BioToi ﬁtted bags for portable toilets BioBag products have a number of important features: • • • • • • • BioBag products meet all of the international standards for biodegradability and composting including ASTM D6400 speciﬁcations and EN 13432:2000. overwrap and laminations. The company changed its name from Polar Gruppen AS in January 2006 to better reﬂect the nature of the business to its customers.7 BioBag International AS Hovsveien 8 N. BioBags are DEN certiﬁed for restricted use of metals in soy-based inks and dyes. BioBags ‘breathe’. BioBags will decompose in a natural setting at an extended rate comparable to other naturally biodegradable materials.1831 Askim Norway Tel: (47) 69 888590 Fax: (47) 69 888599 www. which allows heat and moisture to escape or evaporate. 10.
PPM is made from renewable organic resources such as starch and grass ﬁbres. They are biodegradable in less than sixty days. research and development house that was established in 2002 to provide equipment and proprietary technology for biodegradable rigid packaging. combined with its own PPM (Primary Packaging Materials) rigid packaging material. PO Box 2812 Tellunide CO-81435 USA Tel: (1) 970 728 6132 www. The company has plans to offer BIOTA bottled water in stores across the United States in the near future. low cost packaging production by utilising advanced aerospace engineering applied to production equipment design. CA 93013 USA Tel: (1) 805 566 6563 Fax: (1) 805 566 6583 www. BIOTA is sold at select natural foods and gourmet supermarkets throughout the western United States.000 rolls of BioBags to residents within the county so that they can divert food and other biodegradable waste from landﬁll. The company has developed modular equipment and production sequences better suited for high volume. 10.9 BIOTA Brands of America Inc. San Francisco residents can now purchase additional supplies at over 100 outlets in the bay area.biospherecorp.biotaspringwater. 108 .8 Biosphere Industries Corporation 1025 Cindy Lane Carpinteria. Biodegradable Plastic Products Biosphere offers a biodegradable material for rigid packaging as an alternative to paper and standard thermoplastics. The city is distributing 100.Biodegradable Polymers A notable development for BioBag was the selection of BioBag by the city of San Francisco for their residential food waste collection programme.com Company Overview BIOTA is a leading US brand of natural spring water. The PPM materials are moisture resistant and can be used in food service items such as rigid foam trays and containers as well as general packaging.com Company Overview Biosphere Industries is a California based engineering. PPM packaging products have a long shelf-life and are fully microwavable and ovenable. 10.
PETG. polystyrene. PET. (1) 402 592 3303 Fax: (1) 402 592 8275 www. The bottle label is also compostable but the cap is not at the moment.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2005. household cleaners. lawn and garden.11 Brenmar Company 8523 South 117th Street Omaha Nebraska 68128 USA Tel. has been a producer of plastic bottles and containers since 1969.com 109 . automotive.com Company Overview Bomatic.10 Bomatic Inc. medical. BIOTA introduced NatureWorks™ PLA for packaging its natural spring water. polypropylene. pharmaceutical. BIOTA is currently researching biodegradable options for the cap. PLA bottles are also approved by the FDA for food and water contact. PVC. They are approved and certiﬁed as commercially compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). polycarbonate. LDPE. BIOTA was the ﬁrst beverage company in the world to exclusively use NatureWorks PLA to bottle its products. Inc. The company serves the personal care. Production capabilities include extrusion blow moulding and injection moulding products made from: HDPE. Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2004. and industrial chemicals markets. Initial testing has demonstrated that a BIOTA water bottle will degrade within 75 to 80 days in a commercial composting situation. and polyurethane. the Ontario plant began to produces sports and energy drink bottles made from biodegradable NatureWorks PLA resin. 10. Corporate Headquarters 1841 East Acacia Street Ontario 91761 Canada Tel: (1) 909 947 3900 Fax: (1) 909 947 5969 www. BIOTA water bottles are completely compostable. 10. food.bomatic.brenmarco.
12 Carolex SAS Z. The Versapak product line includes containers for fruit produce and fresh or frozen bakery products. bowls and hinged clamshells. fastener systems and packaging. food. deli. Technologies include lamination and multi-layer co-extrusion. polyethylene and polypropylene. Biodegradable Plastic Products Carolex is understood to be in the process of developing PLA for manufacture of packaging ﬁlm but only relatively small quantities of the product are being offered commercially at the moment. ﬂexible. ABS. is a manufacturer of thermoplastic ﬁlm and sheet. as well as food service and manufacturing companies. Brenmar has become a nationwide leader in the foodservice supply industry. retail store and manufacturing supplies. medical and cosmetic packaging. modern production lines. The company offers a range of standard and special products made from polystyrene. meat and produce departments. Biodegradable Plastic Products Brenmar was one of the ﬁrst companies to introduce NatureWorks PLA compostable packaging for the food service market. established in 1978. Brenmar also has expanded beyond supermarkets to include many other retail concerns. Since then. stationery. F-49160 Longue Jumelles France Tel: (33) 2 41 52 61 82 Fax: (33) 2 41 38 80 85 www. Ind. which means the company is now able to offer an extensive range of extruded products which combine technical know-how and design with high performance. Carolex business is organised around two main areas: packaging and graphic arts. communications and event management.carolex. screen and lithoprinting. cutlery. PET.fr Company Overview Carolex. Other Brenmar products include cold drink cups. graphic arts. Carolex acquired Imperial Packaging in the USA. The principal target markets for Carolex are industrial thermoforming. selling such items as thermal printers.Biodegradable Polymers Company Overview Brenmar was founded in 1988 as a distributor of supermarket. Brenmar offers a wide range of products such as carryout bags and a broad range of packaging for bakery. 110 . 10. The company has two production sites in France and belongs to the Vita Thermoplastics group. labels.
construction. Coopbox has ofﬁces and production facilities in several of the Italian regions and is currently increasing its presence and product range in European markets through new companies it has set up or acquired in Spain. Having already established itself as a serious partner for mass market distribution supplying polystyrene trays.it Company Overview Coopbox was established in 1972 and has grown to become a leader in the Italian market and one of the top companies in Europe in the manufacture and sale of plastic packaging for the fresh food industry. and also to the Middle East. Its principal product lines are drinking cups. Coopbox annual sales were in excess of €100 million in 2004 and the company has around 650 employees.. 10. clamshell.cfcup. Chien Fua is one of the leading manufacturers of consumable cup and food containers in Taiwan. The company exports throughout Asia. 111 .Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10.com Company Overview Established in 1970. food containers. 14-5 Nan Pin Di Nan Pin Lane Yuanlin 510-46 Taiwan Tel: (886) 4 832 0588 Fax: (886) 4 833 3280 www. trays and other related products. salad / fruit bowls. Ltd. sushi trays. North America and Oceania.14 Coopbox Europe Head Ofﬁce: Via Gandhi 8 42100 Reggio Emilia Italy Tel: (39) 0522 2991 Fax: (39) 0522 287929 www. Coopbox products include the ‘Drenante’ tray and the ‘Aerpack’ protected atmosphere system. manufacturing and garden centres and nurseries. Coopbox now also provides packaging for all sectors of the food industry. electronics. Biodegradable Plastic Products Chien Fua offers PLA-based custom made products including clear cups. France and Germany.ccpl. Europe.13 Chien Fua Bio-Tech Industry Co. ice cream and food containers.
metalworking.cortecvci. Wisconsin. The most common types of Eco Film and Eco Works products are organic collection bags used by consumers for organic waste diversion programmes. construction and food protection ﬁlms. Cortec became the ﬁrst US manufacturer to complete the Din Certco application and review process for Eco Film and Eco Works ﬁlm and bag products in March 2005. cleaning. Eco Film and Eco Works ﬁlms and bags. certiﬁed biodegradable packaging technologies based on polyester from corn. the company maintains they are suitable for a wide range of other applications including agricultural. The product’s mechanical properties mean that it can be used on normal packing lines with stretch ﬁlm or sealed with PLA ﬁlm to produce a 100% biodegradable pack. Eco Film and Eco Works also meet ASTM D 6400 international standards for commercial compostability. MN. Coopbox Europe produced the ﬁrst PLA-based tray for packing fresh foods. Biodegradable Plastic Products Cortec offers two families of high performance. While waste collection bags are by far the largest application of these products at the moment. wine producers are able to further minimise the environmental impact of their production. It is a global supplier of environmentally-friendly speciality chemicals.com Company Overview Cortec Corporation of White Bear Lake.Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2005. Eco-Tie is a high-strength. By using Eco-Tie. 112 . Paul MN-55110 USA Tel: (1) 651 429 1100 Fax: (1) 651 429 1122 www. completely biodegradable and compostable alternative to twine and metallic/plastic ties used in agricultural and industrial markets. The expanded structure also helps absorb the liquid released by meat.15 Cortec Corporation 4119 White Bear Parkway St.4 cm and 122 cm rolls as well as a variety of custom sizes and forms. 10. is a manufacturer of environmentally responsible packaging. plastics and coated paper. Eco Film is available in standard lengths of 91. Cortec manufactures over 300 products in ﬁve plants located in Minnesota. Eco Film is designed to replace non-degradable as well as starch and polyethylene-based ﬁlms. This proprietary technology was developed speciﬁcally for vineyards where the grape plants are tied to metal wire and fences during their growing cycle. water treatment and metal protection technologies.
retail packaging and agricultural ﬁlms to high performance organic collection bags with drawstring closures. EcoWrap has superior strength. salads.com Company Overview Vancouver-based Earthcycle Packaging is a privately held company which manufactures packaging based on sustainable resources based on palm ﬁbre. Additionally. EcoWrap is a combination of highly elastic certiﬁed biodegradable polyester and cling coating. Biodegradable Plastic Products Earthcycle sustainable packaging is made from palm ﬁbre. Earthcycle products are certiﬁed by the FDA for use in the food service industry. Eco Works Compostable Bags are available in retail packs. poultry and seafood trays. NatureFlex ﬁlm is available for lidding in a heat sealable bag or wrap format. The packaging trays are water resistant and are available in two colours. so the biodegradability and compostability of the product is not jeopardised.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters Eco Works is used for checkout bags. It is ideally suited for agricultural shipments.earthcycle. produce bags and display bags. natural ﬁbre and vanilla. Other colours are available upon request. Eco Wrap is also suitable for masking applications and is available with patented multi-metal corrosion inhibiting properties. food sleeves and pouches. Earthcycle’s line of food service trays are designed for a range of food. which is harvested for its oil. 10. This material is certiﬁed compostable to the European ‘OK’ Home Compost standard as well as to ASTM D6400 and by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). a bi-product of palm fruit. The company is currently developing a line of Earthcycle fresh meat. LLDPE and HDPE ﬁlms used in a wide variety of applications ranging from protective industrial ﬁlms. 113 . which allows for downgauging. Eco Works Biodegradable & Compostable Films and Bags are speciﬁcally designed to replace LDPE.16 Earthcycle Packaging Ltd. EcoWrap is designed to replace non-biodegradable tensioning ﬁlms and palletising wraps. The take-out containers are both oil and water-resistant and are microwaveable. They are also developing a line of Earthcycle garden pots for the herb and seedling market. fries. including sandwiches. using vegetable dyes. burgers and complete dinners. Suite 1100 – 1166 Alberni Street Vancouver V6E 3X3 British Columbia Canada Tel: (1) 604 899 0928 Fax: (1) 604 682 4133 www. Earthcycle has developed a line of packaging speciﬁc for fresh vegetable and fruit.
single-serve vending cups and hinged salad containers.com Company Overview Ex-Tech manufactures speciality thermoformed polyoleﬁn. front bags and hinged containers. Inc. tableware. stationary. Europackaging biodegradable products are based on NatureWorks PLA. as well as bakery ﬁlm. Europackaging has manufacturing plants in the UK. disposable cutlery. Target markets for Ex-Tech PLA containers include food packaging.18 Ex-Tech Plastics. Malaysia. luxury shopping bags. 11413 Burlington Road Richmond Illinois 60071 USA Tel: (1) 815 678 2131 Fax: (1) 815 678 4248 www.co. 10. The product line includes carrier bags.europackaging.uk Company Overview Europackaging is one of the leading UK paper and plastic packaging suppliers with annual sales over €290 million in 2004. Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2003. China. tape and industrial wrap.17 Europackaging plc 118 Amington Road Yardley Birmingham UK Tel: (44) 121 706 6181 Fax: (44) 121 706 6514 www. 114 . containers and trays. PVC and PLA ﬁlm and sheet for food applications.extechplastics. Dubai and the USA. The material complies with FDA and European requirements for food packaging.Biodegradable Polymers 10. organic in-store prepared food packaging. Biodegradable Plastic Products In March 2004. Europackaging became the ﬁrst UK company to introduce a complete line of biodegradable packaging products. polystyrene. Principal products include paper and plastic bags and sacks. Ex-Tech became the ﬁrst company in North America to introduce NatureWorks PLA sheets for thermoforming applications. thermoformed hinged packaging and tray packaging.
Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10. drinking cups and lids. which complement Færch Plast’s own product range. 115 . France.faerchplast. PP and PLA plastics. mainly to other European countries. Færch Plast established Færch Plast Norden. These products includes sealing foils from Du Pont Teijin Films. The company is represented in many other European countries through a network of agents and distributors.f-k.19 Fabri-Kal 600 Plastics Place Kalamazoo MI 49001 USA Tel: (1) 800-888-5054 Fax: (1) 269-385-0197 www. fresh meat. Færch Plast is 100% owned by Færch Holding A/S. Product lines include deli cups. a division which handles sales to the Nordic countries. Færch Plast also markets a wide range of packaging solutions. cold food. Packaging is made from PS. The company has a subsidiary in the UK and a sales ofﬁce in Obernai. In 1997. Færch Plast is an extruder of ﬁlm and thermoforms packaging. Fabri-Kal has three manufacturing facilities throughout the US and is the largest thermoformer of polyoleﬁns (PP and HDPE) for food packaging in North America. absorbers from Paper Pack Inc and transparent OPS packaging for convenience products from Inline. APET.com Company Overview Færch Plast is a manufacturer of packaging for the food industry and the retail trade. Around 80% of production is exported. Principal end use sectors served are ready meals.20 Faerch Plast A/S Rasmus Færchs Vej 1 DK-7500 Holstebro Denmark Tel: (45) 99 101010 Fax: (45) 99 101099 www. In collaboration with European and American partners. CPET.com Company Overview Fabri-Kal was founded in 1950 and has grown to become the sixth largest thermoformer in North America with over 800 employees. Michigan. 10. Headquartered in Kalamazoo. Biodegradable Plastic Products Fabri-Kla offers Greenware premium cold drink cups that are manufactured from NatureWorks PLA. snacks and disposables. as well as disposable tableware.
Box 637 Williams Lane Old Saybrook CT 06475 USA Tel: (1) 860 3883426 Fax: (1) 860 3889930 www. 10. Target markets include fresh foods such as meat.22 Fortune Plastics P. Farnell Packaging products are sold throughout the North American market and all of its quality systems are registered under ISO9001:2000.farnell.co. biodegradable ﬁlms and bags from materials that meet industry standards for aerobic biodegradation. sheets and pressure-sensitive labels. Products are marketed under the BIG BOY trade name. Phoenix. bags. Biodegradable products are available in stock sizes (and custom sizes depending on quantity). Orlando and Old Saybrook. salad and pasta. These products are certiﬁed to use the compostable logo of the International Biodegradable Products Institute & US Composting Council. O. The company is privately-owned and has plants in Chicago. 116 . Biodegradable Plastic Products Farnell Packaging manufactures all compostable. Nashville.21 Farnell Packaging Ltd.Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradable Plastic Products Faerch Plast offers thermoformed articles based on NatureWorks PLA polymers. CT.ca Company Overview Farnell Packaging has been in business for over forty years as a custom manufacturer of polyethylene and co-polyester ﬁlms.fortuneplastics. 30 Ilsley Avenue Dartmouth Nova Scotia Canada Tel: (1) 902 468 3192 Fax: (1) 902 468 9378 www. 10.com Company Overview Fortune Plastics was established in 1955 and has grown to become one of the top ﬁve plastic bag suppliers in the USA.
tw Company Overview Good Flag Biotechnology is one of the largest manufacturers of PP packaging and disposable food containers in Asia. Dahua Tsun Kweishan Hsiang Taoyuan Hsien Tao Yuan Taiwan Tel: (8863) 2115000 Fax: (8863) 2114567 www. plastic formed packaging products. Established in 1974. gift packaging boxes. The company has invested 2.5 million in new equipment from Germany to produce environmentally friendly thermoformed cups from PLA.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2005. a 100% biodegradable 360cc non-toxic disposable cup and PLA-R200Y.23 Good Flag Biotechnology Corporation No. 117 . electronics packaging materials. Product lines include food packaging and biodegradable disposable tableware. Good Flag has 42 production lines including: • • • Extrusion machinery: computerised automatic transmission system Thermoforming machines Printing: fully automatic high speed printing machine that can print up to six colours simultaneously. cold drinking cups. These bags are suitable for collecting food scraps and garden trimmings for compsting. Good Flag employs over 200 people and has annual sales in excess of €25 million. retailers and hotels for its 100% biodegradable packaging. The company has production capacity for 12 million items per day for both PLA and PP cups.com. which are based on Novamont’s Mater-Bi polymers. cosmetic packaging and lunch boxes and inserts. Europe and North America. The principal biodegradable products are PLAR360Y. 51. PP folding colour boxes. 10. a PLA disposable drinking water cup sold under the Good Flag trade name. Biodegradable Plastic Products Good Flag Biotechnology has experienced a sharp growth in demand from food manufacturers.goodﬂag. Fortune Plastics introduced COMP-LETE compostable bags. The company exports around a quarter of its sales to Asia. Ting-hu Road. The bags. have been certiﬁed by the US Biodegradable Polymers Institute as fully biodegradable and compostable.
and Sainsbury’s (UK) retail outlets. They are also microwavable. It can also be made from agricultural ﬁbres. Grenidea work with distributors and manufacturing technology licensees to create and market innovative applications of their technologies. AgroPack products are used by Carrefour Singapore. AgriPack products can be coloured. 67 Ayer Rajah Crescent Singapore 139950 Tel: (65) 68720020 Fax: (65) 68720460 www. moisture resistant.24 Grenidea Technologies Pte Ltd.Biodegradable Polymers 10. 10. printed and embossed.heritage-bag. coated. Currently. Products include polyethylene trash bags. It also complies with the EU standard for food packaging (EU: German Recommendation XXXVI). It is compatible with existing moulded pulp manufacturing processes. Biodegradable Plastic Products AgroResin is a biodegradable packaging material from by-products of the palm oil industry. They are lightweight. AgriPack packaging products are the main application for AgriResin materials. (1) 716 632 2379 Fax: (1) 716 632 2386 www.25 The Heritage Bag Company 1648 Diplomat Boulevard 16 Brenridge East Amherst New York USA Tel. such as wheat straw. FAMA. 118 . anti-static and have insulating properties. making them suitable for food packaging. healthcare waste disposal bags and bags for food.com Company Overview The Heritage Bag Company is a privately owned business which manufactures a range of plastic bags. AgroResin has received Din-Certco certiﬁcation for products made of compostable materials (DIN EN 13432:2000-12).grenidia.com Company Overview Grenidea Technologies was founded in 2000 to develop environment-friendly products based on their proprietary biodegradable AgroResin and AgriPack materials. AgroPack has been certiﬁed as organic recoverable through composting and biodegradation (Din Certco: DIN EN 13432).
airline caterers and vending machine operators.huhtamaki. Net sales in 2004 were approximately €2. excellent puncture and tear resistance and proven lifting strength and load capacity. The company claims world leadership in rigid thin-walled plastic and paper packaging and moulded ﬁbre packaging. moulded ﬁbre. automotive and packaging. trays and boxes for fruit and vegetables. Moulded ﬁbre is used for egg packaging. Huhtamaki organises its business into six groups. 119 .1 billion. baby food as well as beverages and fresh foods. Foodservice packaging is aimed at restaurants and beverage vendors. The materials are mainly used for technical applications such as label and graphic arts.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters Biodegradable Plastic Products Heritage offers the BioTuf compostable bags for pre. 10. retail. household care. confectionery. papers and other web form materials. Consumer goods includes rigid packaging for ice cream. napkins and table-covers.26 Huhtamäki Oy Länsituulentie 7 02100 Espoo Finland Tel: (358) 9 686 881 Fax: (358) 9 660 622 www. plates. The company is based in Finland and is listed on Helsinki Stock Exchange. pet food. BioTuf bags meet ASTM D6400-99 speciﬁcations for biodegradability and compostability. edible fats and spreads. The Films division is one of the major producers of polyoleﬁn ﬁlms in Europe and an important converter of ﬁlms. personal care. institutional caterers. Retail includes single-use tableware products such as white Chinet and Bibo and Lily coordinated cups. foodservice. adhesive tapes.com Company Overview Huhtamäki Oyj was established in 1920 and is now one of the world’s leading consumer packaging companies. They are also photodegradable if left by the roadside. dairy. ﬁlms and special operations. The special operations division includes the Flex-E-Fill automated rotary ﬁlling system business and the recycling operations. Huhtamaki has more than 70 manufacturing and sales units and over 15. consumer goods. building and construction. The company claims that BioTuf bags have superior strength.000 employees in 36 countries. convenience foods.and post-consumer food waste diversion programmes and for municipal kerbside yard waste collection programmes. It is also a market leader in high-performance ﬂexible packaging.
BioWare has already achieved some success in the marketplace. Germany. functionality and premium ﬁnish. Huhtamaki introduced BioWare. Chinet plates are certiﬁed for compostability according to European standard EN 13432. is a manufacturer of biodegradable packaging and packaging solutions for the food and catering sector. China and Canada and is headquartered in Markt Erlbach. Biodegradable Plastic Products IBEK’s biodegradable plastic product range includes: • Apack industrial food packaging for meat. soft drinks and shakes. 120 . formerly trading as Apack AG.de Company Overview IBEK Verpackungshandel GmbH. In Germany. the Chinet range has been successfully introduced for households as well as institutional caterers and casual restaurant chains looking for a convenient. Chinet plates are made from Huhtamaki’s own post-industrial paper cup cuttings in the European manufacturing unit in Norway with a proprietary smooth-moulding process and they are recognised for their rigidity. fruit and vegetables for large packer companies and supermarkets. The company has production plants in Germany. 10. plates. poultry. In Europe.27 IBEK Verpackungshandel GmbH Losaurach 116 D-91459 Markt Erlbach Germany Tel: (49) 91 6189 700 Fax: (49) 91 6189 7099 www.ibek-gmbh. ﬁsh. BioWare products are clear and sturdy.Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradable Plastic Products In November 2004. IBEK’s production capacity amounts to approximately 150 million packaging units per annum. The plates and bowls of the BioWare range are Huhtamaki’s Chinet products. the second largest Belgian brewery. cost-effective and environmentally sound alternative to chinaware. made from 100% moulded ﬁbre. The products are designed to meet the needs of various foodservice operators. beer. Thailand. cheese. made from polylactic acid produced by NatureWorks LLC. and are suited for serving cold drinks including water. ranging from outdoor festivals and mass events to catering and daily food and beverage service. a new range of biodegradable and compostable foodservice packaging including single-serve cold drinks cups. cutlery and containers. For example Alken Maes. used the BioWare beer cups in the 2004 summer festivals after which the cups were composted.
making a wide range of punnets. Galilei n°168 41100 Modena Italy Tel. The ﬁlm also adds rigidity and printability. 10.2 g/cc density.ilip. A 2. but use of a proprietary post-extrusion step reportedly extends shelf life by 50% to 6-9 days. which replaces 12 micron PVC ﬁlm used with EPS trays. the trays are bundled in a 15 micron Eastar Bio cling ﬁlm. Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2003. IBEK uses Eastman’s Eastar Bio co-polyesters and PLA for their bio-packaging products. A co-polyester coating prevents moisture penetration. The sprayed-on coating uses a blend of an Eastman co-polyester and a second biodegradable resin to get a balanced viscosity. Cellis catering articles for fast food and outdoor events. and disposable tableware for catering. Ilip introduced a NatureWorks PLA rigid container for fresh produce applications as an environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional plastic packaging. Ilip uses PET and polypropylene for its packaging applications. (39) 051 6715411 Fax (39) 051 6715413 www.28 ILIP sede legale Via G. Apack’s Canadian subsidiary is promoting use of its composite in hot. but lets in air to ensure biodegradation. canteen food and take-away meals. Apack meat trays have a base similar to that of the produce tray. permits quality printing.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters • • Apackmenue industrial packaging for ready-meals.5 mm thick Eastar Bio ﬁlm is laminated to the upper surface of the Apack tray. PLA is an inherently poor oxygen barrier.and cold-drink disposable cups to replace EPS. In addition to NatureWorks PLA. It is mated to a clear. and provides enough insulation (in hot cups) to dispense with costly paper sleeves.it Company Overview Ilip is one of Europe’s largest producers of packaging for agricultural products. reportedly providing better insulation than paper cups. This breathable ﬁlm provides moisture and grease resistance to protect the substrate from premature degradation. Apack Canada’s cups are foamed to 0. For shipping. Apack’s trays are being used for organic produce by two top UK supermarket chains (including J Sainsbury’s) as a replacement for EPS foam trays. trays and fruit inserts for fruit and vegetable packaging. 121 . heat sealable PLA lidstock.
New York-based Raw Indulgence chose to use the ﬁlm to ﬂow-wrap its range of vegan Brownies because it was consistent with the ethos of the product. NatureFlex ﬁlms also perform well on the packing line and have a wide heat sealing range. which is currently undergoing independent testing in order to formally conﬁrm its biodegradability and compostability. the crystal clear ﬁlm looked good on the pack. Biodegradable Plastic Products Innovia Films offers the NatureFlex range of biodegradable polymers based on cellulose from wood pulp. which reduces in-pack condensation. which is sourced from managed plantations.com Company Overview Innovia Films is the world’s leading supplier of speciality biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) and cellulose ﬁlms for speciality packaging. began using NatureFlex packaging ﬁlm for its Heavenly Whole Food Brownies and Blondies range. The ﬁrst area of use is for fresh produce. and is certiﬁed to EU and US standards for industrial and home composting. oils and fats.000 tonnes. glossy and transparent with a naturally high gas barrier and resistance to grease. All NatureFlex ﬁlms are proven in both commercial and home composting systems. USA and Australia and sales ofﬁces throughout Europe.400 people worldwide. as well as some degree of moisture permeability. which was part of the UCB Group before being sold to an investment consortium involving Candover Partners for €320m in 2004. Innovia Films formerly traded as UCB Films. NatureFlex ﬁlms are also stiffer and more oriented than some other biopolymers. the Americas and Asia. and it is easy to use. The company has production sites in Belgium. In 2004. They are inherently anti-static.innoviaﬁlms. where NatureFlex NE 600 ﬁlms provide strong but peelable seals. Innovia has annual sales of over €350m and employs some 1. labelling and graphic arts and industrial products. from 70 ºC to 200 ºC. which make them suitable for use on standard ﬂow-wrap and form-ﬁll-seal equipment. US organic health food producer. The company is also in the process of developing a metallised NatureFlex film. Total annual ﬁlm capacity is more than 120.29 Innovia Films BVBA Sluisweg 8 B-9820 Merelbeke Belgium Tel: (32) 9 241 1211 Fax: (32) 9 241 1294 www. This means the packaging ﬁlm can be used on faster processing lines with no loss of seal performance.Biodegradable Polymers 10. Raw Indulgence. 122 . UK. NatureFlex is available in an uncoated form and in three different coated versions providing moisture and gas barrier performance.
tinted.com Company Overview Liquid Containers is one of North America’s largest blow moulders of plastic bottles with twelve manufacturing sites in the United States. and automotive after-care products. Naturally Iowa Dairy began using natural and organic milk in stretch blow moulded bottles produced by Liquid Containers using NatureWorks PLA. household and industrial chemicals.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10. The pressure-sensitive labels will not be made of PLA.liquidcontainer.30 Liquid Container/Plaxicon 1760 Hawthorne Lane West Chicago Illinois 60185 USA Tel: (1) 630) 231 0850 Fax: (1) 630 562 5858 www. NNZ is active throughout the entire packaging chain. NNZ has branches in Europe and the United States and holds a central position in a global network of packaging producers. universities and retail organisations. and 1 to 2 gallon sizes. from raw material producers to consumers.31 NNZ bv Postbus 104 9700 AC Groningen Leonard Springerlaan 13 NL-9727 KB Groningen The Netherlands Tel: (31) 50 5207800 Fax: (31) 50 5207801 www. agricultural chemicals. The product range includes wide mouth or narrow neck. Biodegradable Plastic Products In November 2004. This family run business has since grown to become a major operator in the packaging sector.nnz. research institutes. Principal polymers used for manufacture of blow moulded bottles are high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). 10. The bottles are available in several varieties of PLA including half-gallon ‘grip’ bottles. An 11-oz singleserve PLA bottle was later introduced. Liquid Containers serves a broad range of packaging-critical markets including food. high clarity. opaque or coloured. 123 .com Company Overview NNZ was established in 1922 as a trading house selling jute bags.
coloured in yellow and purple. • Ökopack Net for netting applications. black. trays and containers. sleeve ﬁlms and bags and sacks. high gloss tray based on sugar.naturapackaging. which can be used for fruit and vegetable packaging. polyethylene packaging. Ökopack ﬁlm and Ökopack trays received full Din-Certco certiﬁcation for biodegradability. Ökopack C and S can be used for production of ﬂat ﬁlms. NNZ supplies industrial bulk containers. brown. a biodegradable starch-based material. polypropylene sacks.com Company Overview natura packaging belongs to the Eurea group of companies. green. transit packaging and paper bags. transit packaging. It offers a wide range of biodegradable packaging products for fruit and vegetables. and can also be embossed. For agricultural markets. It is available in a natural colour. • Ökopack Tray F is a foam tray made from starch. red and yellow and can also be embossed. Ökopack is available in several varieties: • Ökopack Film C is transparent with high gloss. paper and cardboard packaging and jute sacks. It can be transparent. net packaging. It is offered in green and black and can be embossed. • Ökopack Tray W is a water-soluble tray made from starch.48432 Rheine Germany Tel: (49) 5975 303-57 Fax: (49) 5975 303-42 www. 55-57 D. with properties similar to polypropylene. In January 2006. waste management and shopping bags based on 124 . Biodegradable Plastic Products NNZ offers Ökopack.Biodegradable Polymers NNZ focuses on two main packaging sectors. • Ökopack Tray C is a PET-like transparent. • Ökopack Film S is semi-transparent with properties similar to polyethylene. 10.32 Natura Verpackungs GmbH Industriestr. NNZ supplies ﬁlm and bags. Applications include ﬂower bulb trays. agriculture and industrial. Okopack Tray F is similar to foamed PS and useful for food protection applications. • Ökopack Tray P is a ﬁbre-based tray based on palm oil. For industrial markets.
The bags are used for kitchen and garden waste bins and compost easily after use. natura supplies biodegradable waste bags in many different shapes and sizes. The products are all based on cassava starch plant ﬁbre and have foam-like structure and rigidity. exhibitions and conferences and shows. and fatty foods. This permeability causes an ‘anti-fog’ effect. cups. ﬂow pack available in two varieties (PLA or cellulose) and PLA trays. plates. In the ﬁeld of waste management. and take away food for fast food centres. Products are being targeted at ready to eat food. the products’ shelf life is increased by the high permeability of the packaging.33 NVYRO Unit 10. natura also offers a wide range of shopping bags in many different shapes and sizes. Tapioca is one of the cheapest sources of raw materials for manufacture of starch based biodegradable polymers. lunch boxes.nvyro. The required sealing temperature is 25% below that of traditional materials. In addition. canteens. are certiﬁed in accordance with the European EN 13432 standard (German DIN 54900) and have a very high degree of permeability. 125 . extruded nets. hospitals. semi-liquid. George Business Park Cemetery Road Southport PR8 5EF United Kingdom Tel: (44) 1704 536600 www. liquid. including dry. The products are suitable for a wide range of foods. Biodegradable Plastic Products The Nvyro disposable food packaging product range covers soup bowls. Examples of natura fruit and vegetable packaging include knitted netting. catering. 10.com Company Overview Nvyro was established to produce cassava (tapioca) starch based packaging solutions. trays and lunch plates. even after several days in-store. Natura products are all 100% biodegradable. Biodegradable Plastic Products natura’s biodegradable fruit and vegetable packaging solutions offer the same possibilities as conventional plastic packaging but less energy is expended during production. are produced using the highest possible amount of sustainable renewable resources. These bags are based on a starch biodegradable polymer and are fully compostable.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters NatureWorks PLA material. trays on a sugar cane base. stadiums. from 8 to 240 litres. As a result. cold and hot. potato and carrot bags. products remain clearly visible.
and soften slightly when in contact with liquid. Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2005. high moisture vapour transmission rate. odour barrier. optimum clarity and transparency.Biodegradable Polymers They are light in colour and exhibit a mild odour. shrink ﬁlm and envelope ﬁlm. Belgium. envelopes and printing markets. Fullerton. respectively. is breathable and is FDA compliant. Plastic Suppliers is among the world’s leading manufacturers of biaxially oriented polystyrene. EarthFirst PLA packaging ﬁlm is available in clear.com Company Overview Plastic Suppliers is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of plastic ﬁlms producing for the ﬂexible packaging. 10. but are still stable in service. The corporate ofﬁce is located in Columbus. folding carton. has high gloss. and ﬁve distribution sites located in Marietta. Ohio. Plastic Supplies produced the world’s ﬁrst blown ﬁlm from NatureWorks PLA. ﬂavour retention. 126 .34 Plastic Suppliers Inc. thermoforming. The company operates two separate plastic ﬁlm and sheet manufacturing facilities in Columbus. Laurel. Plastic Suppliers’ manufacturing division is known as Polyﬂex and is also located in Columbus. Head Ofﬁce 2400 Marilyn Lane Columbus Ohio 43219 USA Tel: (1) 614 475 8010 Fax: (1) 614 475 0264 www. Belgium and another distribution site in Northampton. It was hitherto thought that PLA was unsuitable for blown ﬁlm extrusion.plasticsuppliers. OH. UK. label ﬁlm. Polyﬂex. GA. They have low water absorbency. Plastic Suppliers’ ﬁlms are marketed under the trade names of EarthFirst. Dallas. since 1957. TX . CA. Areas of application for EarthFirst include window carton ﬁlm for food packaging. matte and white grades. Matteﬂex and Labelﬂex. They disintegrate into fragments within one week after being immersed in still water. Ohio. Ohio since the 1970s and at the Sidaplax subsidiary in Gentbrugge. shrink ﬁlm. the company has two manufacturing plants located in Columbus. ﬂoral wrap ﬁlm. Polyﬂex and Labelﬂex ﬁlms have been manufactured in Columbus. and Mt. Plastic Supplies claims that its EarthFirst ﬁlm is 100% compostable. NJ. IL. In the USA. Freezﬂex. It also has a manufacturing plant in Gentbrugge.
127 .rpc-group. 10. food and drink packaging.35 RPC Group plc Head Ofﬁce Lakeside House Higham Ferrers Northamptonshire NW10 8RP UK Tel: (44) 1933 410064 Fax: (44) 1933 410083 www. Also. caps. the company claims that EarthFirst ﬁlm is environmentally friendly and its properties are just as good as comparable ﬁlms. EarthFirst PLA ﬁlm for labelling applications is offered in white and clear and can be used in cut and stack or pressure sensitive applications. EarthFirst ﬁlm for packaging ﬂowers or herbs is amenable to ink and has a high natural dyne level making ﬂoral sleeves more colourful and presentable. no-label look because of its clarity and gloss. RPC Bramlage-Wiko manufactures cosmetic. RPC Tedeco-Gizeh manufactures plastic cups. injection moulding and thermoforming rigid packaging applications for many different markets including industrial. chemical and household packaging. RPC Cobelplast manufactures formable plastic sheet. disposables and dairy packaging.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters For window carton applications. EarthFirst ﬁlm for envelope windows comes in clear and matte ﬁlm. The company manufactures a full range of blow moulding. This ﬁlm is suited to applications that require a modern. RPC Containers manufactures bottles. plastic sheet and presentation packaging. jars and tubs. health and beauty packaging. trays and tubs. For food contact applications. EarthFirst PLA ﬁlm has a good ﬂavour and aroma barrier and air can move freely through the EarthFirst PLA ﬁlm to prevent fogging on windows and promote swift adhesive drying. plus vending disposables and catering products. The USPS standard for haze is met and exceeded with EarthFirst PLA ﬁlm and readability is not compromised as it also meets the USPS Optical Character Recognition Machine standards. pharmaceutical and food dispensers. dispensers and corks.com Company Overview The RPC Group is Europe’s leading supplier of rigid packaging with turnover of €445 million in 2005. RPC Bebo manufactures sterilisable multiplayer and monolayer pots. EarthFirst PLA ﬁlm in food applications extends the products’ freshness and results in a longer shelf-life.
It offers bicolour. Cedap also formed a strategic agreement in Europe with the Huhtamaki group (Finland).siamp. 128 . was established in 1963 in Monaco. striped and laminated PS sheet. Quai Antoine 1er BP 219 – 98007 Monaco France Tel: (33) 377 93 155375 Fax: (33) 377 9205 7104 www. 10. Cedap Mexico was established in 2001 to serve the American market. Cedap introduced thermoformed PLA-based single-serve drinking cups.36 Siamp-Cedap Head ofﬁce 4.com Company Overview Cedap. compostable lidding ﬁlm. (European Consortium of Plastic Applications). RPC Bebo Nederland launched HI-COMPOST. The wall thickness of the HI-COMPOST containers ranges from 200 to 1500 micron. which is manufactured from biodegradable cellulose derived from wood pulp. The HI-COMPOST product range of biodegradable containers has a highly transparent and glossy ﬁnish which. say the company. Cedap is a division of Siamp-Cedap. Cedap specialises in ‘Form Fill Seal’ (FFS) applications for dairy product packaging. Cedap has a production plant in France and a production site in Belgium. which opened in 1998.Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2004. PLA containers not only help to avoid existing and proposed taxes on packaging and packaging waste but can also in some instances qualify for subsidies. a range of biodegradable containers manufactured in NatureWorks PLA material. The company says the new range is in response to increasing packaging legislation from governments across Europe. RPC Bebo Nederland can also supply a heatsealable. For sealed packs. RPC says that PLA offers excellent clarity and has an equivalent oxygen barrier to polypropylene. Its main activity is the production of polystyrene sheet for food packaging. makes them aesthetically similar to clear polystyrene. Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2005.
38 Signum NZ Ltd.nz Company Overview Signum is a privately-owned company established in 1936 and is now a leading manufacturer of thermoformed plastic packaging. extrusion and moulding areas.com Company Overview Belgium based company Sidaplax has been a subsidiary of Plastics Suppliers Inc since 1988.co. bakery and food service containers.37 Sidaplax Kerkstraat 24 B-9050 Gentbrugge Belgium Tel: (32) 9210 8010 Fax: (32) 9210 8019 www. Biodegradable Plastic Products Sidaplax has added Plastic Supplies’ EarthFirst PLA ﬁlm to its product range. healthcare. Signum is committed to the development of environmentally-friendly packaging and offers a large proprietary range of produce. window carton. EarthFirst is used in label face stock. Sidaplast is a leading producer and distributor of biaxially oriented plastic ﬁlms. tooling.signum. 10. packaging and envelope window ﬁlm applications. The company has grown organically and. ‘Labelﬂex’ and ‘TMOPS’. PO Box 58294 Greenmount Auckland New Zealand Tel: (64) 9274 4433 Fax: (64) 9274 4429 www. in the design. Sydney and Auckland. ﬂoral and over wrap. registered under such trademarks as ‘Polyﬂex’. communications and stationery. packaging. consumer goods and converting industries. Signum has manufacturing facilities in Melbourne. Sidaplax operates in more than 40 countries operating in a range of markets such as the food processing.sidaplax. deli. Signum is a sole or major 129 . wrap around shrink.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10. New Zealand. through a series of acquisitions. shrink sleeve.
As part of the company’s Green Initiative. This alloy material has enhanced characteristics over standard PLA that makes it similar to PET. It has quality management systems in place.000 tonnes. building and construction. Rejueven8Plus is made from 95% NatureWorks PLA and was speciﬁcally developed for printed applications. which is much higher than the standard PLA maximum temperature range of about 105-120 °F. Biodegradable Plastic Products Spartech has introduced a Green Initiative to provide environmentally-friendly solutions for customer. SC Johnson. Danone. transportation. sales of approximately €1. Their Green mission states that Spartech will aggressively and proactively pursue material solutions and production practices that minimise the effect on the environment. 120 South Central Avenue. Suite 1700 Clayton Missouri 63105-1705 USA Tel: (1) 314 721 4242 Fax: (1) 314 721 1447 www. Mexico. Simplot and Qantus. employees and the environment. Canada. The main markets for Spartech plastic products include packaging. Sara Lee. and custom engineered plastic products.0 billion and has 3700 employees.com Company Overview Spartech Corporation is a leading producer of extruded thermoplastic sheet and roll stock. shareholders. which comply with the requirements of ISO 9002 and CODEX HACCP standards. Rejuven8 is designed specifically for thermoforming applications and is made from 99% NatureWorks PLA. 130 . sign and graphics markets. recreation. Spartech introduced the new Rejuven8 family of biodegradable polymer materials in February 2006. It is being applied to a wide variety of packaging applications as well as the graphic arts industry.39 Spartech Corp.Biodegradable Polymers supplier of rigid thermoformed packaging products to Campbell’s. 10. The company has 43 manufacturing facilities located throughout the United States.spartech. Secondary processing criteria further raise its heat resistance properties to well over 150 °F. with annual production capacity of more than 635. Biodegradable Plastic Products Signum is known to be developing the use of PLA for their range of food service containers and trays. and Europe. polymeric compounds. MasterFoods.
com Company Overview Founded in 1997. Chigusa-Kaigan Ichihara Chiba 299-0196 Japan Tel: (81) 436 23 0750 Fax: (81) 436 24 5299 www.sunwaypak. The product range includes cups. swing bin/pedal bin liners.com Company Overview Toray is a diversiﬁed and multinational group of companies with operations in 18 countries and regions. as well as Japan.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10. plates. automotive parts and a number of other industrial products. Sunway has annual sales of over 12 million. and plastics and chemicals. for use in electronic components. They manufacture food. Toyolac (ABS). pharmaceuticals and medical products. Toray processes a diverse range of high performance resins. cutlery. including Amilan (nylon). 10. employs over 300 staff and has annual production capacity approaching 20. and Torelina (PPS). Biodegradable Plastic Products Sunway offers disposable tableware made of biodegradable materials. Head Ofﬁce 2-1. drinking straws and decorations. The company also has businesses in the ﬁelds of information and telecommunications. Toraycon (PBT). 131 . The company has established production and processing bases in the US.41 Toray Industries Inc. Toray’s core businesses are in ﬁbres and textiles. the USA. and is now pursuing further global development and business expansion by taking its focus beyond raw materials to include plastics processing. freezer and sandwich bags. Southeast Asia and China.000 tonnes. Sunway has developed into one of the main PE bag suppliers in mainland China. checkout bags and refuse sacks. Australia and Japan. housing and engineering. and advanced composite materials. dishes. The company is exporting over 95% of sales to Western Europe. 777 Xin Ji Road Qingpu Industrial Zone Shanghai 201707 China Tel: (86) 21 59703435 Fax: (86) 21 59703776 www.40 Sunway Household Ltd.toray.
Ultimately. and amenities. Toray are conﬁdent that the environment-friendly features of PLA ﬁlm will spur widespread demand in the future. Toray plans to develop the ﬁbre to a broad range of applications including clothing and interior decoration materials. is a key component of the new strategy. Toray is expanding its capability in biodegradable polymers based on NatureWorks PLA in both textiles and ﬁlm sectors. Thailand. has achieved superior ﬂexibility levels. Toray has located promising business areas covering the environment. Toray is implementing its ‘Project New Toray 21’ programme. other parts of Asia. safety. without losing the transparency and heat resistance features of PLA. Korea.co. and Europe. Toray also manufactures textiles in countries around the world including Japan. electronic devices. technology licenses and PLA chip supply. In addition Toray offers Lumirror (polyester) ﬁlm. product lines include synthetic ﬁbre (Toray Nylon). In addition to licensing the NatureWorks INGEO brand. In 2003.toraysaehan. Toray reached an agreement with NatureWorks LLC. polyester (Toray Tetoron). Toray is also authorised to develop and use its own sub-brand ‘ECODEAR’ in communicating Toray’s products derived from PLA in textile markets and consumer products markets.Biodegradable Polymers In plastic ﬁlms. In 2004. In textiles. Indonesia and Malaysia. Toray manufactures the ﬁbre in Japan. meaning it could be used in packaging ﬁlms such as wrapping ﬁlms. Toray is a major world producer of BOPP ﬁlm sold under the Torayfan trade name. Toray is initially developing INGEO ﬁbre products for industrial and daily use such as carpets.42 Toray Saehan Inc.kr 132 . and acrylic (Toray Toraylon). 10. comprising business reforms geared to ‘A New Toray for the 21st Century’. covering brands. bedding and industrial materials. LG Mapo Bldg. and its policy is to develop these into major earnings’ sources by 2010. ﬁlms for building materials. to manufacture and sell INGEO ﬁbre products made from NatureWorks PLA. The development of materials based on renewable resources such as biodegradable polymers. Toray plans to commercialise the PLA ﬁlm in areas such as soft packaging materials. This ﬁlm. Toray developed the world’s ﬁrst plasticiser-free ﬂexible PLA ﬁlm using Toray’s own nanostructure control technology for biaxially oriented ﬁlms. Torelina (PPS) and Mictron (aramid). Biodegradable Plastic Products As part of the company’s new strategic vision to develop more environmentally-friendly businesses. and automobiles as well as for industrial material usage such as in process ﬁlms. 275 Gongduk-dong Mapo-gu Seoul South Korea Tel: (82) 23279 1000 www.
The company also manufactures PLA ﬁlm under the brand name Biophan.treofan.000 tonnes of ﬁlm per annum and has worldwide manufacturing capabilities including 22 BOPP lines. With an annual manufacturing capacity of 30. Treofan produces around 280. bedding. packaging. furniture. 2 pilot lines. Toray Saehan has three major business areas: polyester base ﬁlm and ﬁlm processing. Treofan has four main business groups. The company offers a wide range of PP ﬁlms including standard and cast ﬁlms. which started operations in 1999. household goods. The company is a joint venture between Japan’s Toray and South Korea’s Saehan companies. condenser. labelling. Polypropylene spunbond and polyester spunbond for applications including hygienic products. and farming. cavitated. electromagnetic. 6 metallisers. 10. • Polyester base ﬁlm used in audio and video packaging.000 tonnes of polypropylene spunbond and 4. polyester ﬁlament and polypropylene and polyester spunbond. 1 coater line and one PLA line. transparent. nonwoven fabric. Treofan is a global business with seven manufacturing sites around the world and sales operations in more than 20 countries. 10 cast lines. opaque. thermal transfer ribbon (TTR).Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters Company Overview Toray Saehan is a synthetic ﬁbre business. graphic. • • Biodegradable Plastic Products Toray Saehan is supplying high quality environmentally-friendly biodegradable resin and sheet based on NatureWorks PLA. medical goods. industrial materials.000 tonnes of polyester spunbond.43 Treofan Group Head Ofﬁce Am Prime Parc 17 65479 Raunheim Germany Tel: (49) 6142 2000 Fax: (49) 6142 200 3299 www. Toray Saehan is a world leader in production of spunbound materials.com Company Overview The Treofan Group is a manufacturer of biaxial oriented polypropylene ﬁlm (BOPP) and cast polypropylene ﬁlm under the brand name Treofan. Polyester ﬁlament for weaving and knitting applications. 133 . tobacco packaging and technical ﬁlms. white. clothing. metallised and high-barrier metallised. and laminating applications.
Treofan announced that it is to move production of its Biophan biodegradable PLA packaging ﬁlms from France to its plant in Neukirchen. and that the site would continue toll manufacturing Biophan ﬁlm for Treofan. saying that production at the German plant will be more efﬁcient. Germany.vertex-paciﬁc. 10. To further underline the importance of PLA to Treofan. Biophan is now receiving even greater importance in the group’s product strategy. According to the company. had been sold to Polyﬁlms.44 Vertex Paciﬁc Limited Unity Drive North Harbour Industrial Park Albany PO Box 228 Auckland New Zealand Tel: (64) 9 415 7015 Fax: (64) 9 415 6317 www.nz Company Overview Vertex is the leading supplier of plastics-based packaging products in New Zealand and is rapidly establishing a strong market presence in Australia. salads and other consumer products. One of the ﬁrst applications for Biophan was a salad bag for French organic food company Mont Blanc Primeurs. A new generation of PLA ﬁlm with ‘excellent properties’ is at the pilot development stage. France. The Biophan labels can be used in combination with bottles produced by NatureWorks PLA so that the labels may be composted together with the bottle in an industrial composting plant. Biophan is also printable. the ability to transmit water vapour. In February 2006. Biophan disintegrates completely into water and carbon dioxide within 45 days. and is thermoformable. Biophan offers exceptional transparency and gloss.Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradable Plastic Products In June 2004. 134 . The business has been in existence since 1941 when it originally manufactured children’s toys and shoe soles. Treofan introduced its new biodegradable and compostable Biophan ﬁlm made from polylactic acid supplied by NatureWorks LLC. Treofan introduced labels made from Biophan for beverages and consumer products. resistant to oil. The material is suitable for packaging fruits. Treofan said that with sales having doubled in 2005. and outstanding sealing properties. In November 2004. the company has strengthened the management team with the appointment of new commercial and technical managers. vegetables. The move follows the earlier announcement that Treofan’s site in Mantes-la-Ville.co. fat and alcohol.
injection stretch blow moulding. Manufacturing processes include: blow moulding. fresh food containers including deli containers and salad bowls. 10. These include: disposable cups. and land developments. bakery containers including sandwich wedges. Food Trays and Securefresh. kiwifruit and horticultural products. food trays and extruded sheet for further processing. Sales are in excess of NZ $90 million. Ltd. The Hamilton facility in New Zealand also features a product design and tooling operation.com. Household Products. Wellington and Hastings. Hamilton. Vertex business is divided into six categories: Technical Components. Biodegradable Plastic Products Vertex is actively involved in the commercialisation of biodegradable polymers and uses NatureWorks PLA material. which has resulted in a decision to supply various stock products made from PLA. Vertex Paciﬁc’s parent company Vertex Holdings was listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2002.weimon. chemical and agricultural products. extrusion and thermoforming. No 57. including Biodegradable Plastic Products. Vertex employs about 400 people in New Zealand and Australia. Shing Jung Road Nei Hu Chu Taipei 114 Taiwan www. Dairy. 135 .45 Wei Mon Industry Co. sewerage systems. to adhesive and in-mould labelling. extruded sheet and thermoformed containers for food manufacturers. senior management bought the assets of Carter Holt Harvey Plastics Products together with Paciﬁc Equity Partners to form Vertex Paciﬁc Ltd. Processes include rigid blow-moulded containers for industrial. In 2000. The company initiated a development project to ascertain the technical and commercial viability of PLA in 2003. Vertex also runs a number of decoration processes from ﬂexographic and offset printing. injection moulding. Examples of applications for Vertex PLA products include beer cups for the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival in New Zealand and drink cups for the HSBC Round the Bays Run. disposable and point-ofsale packaging for the food service sector and injection-moulded components for human and animal health products. 2F. was established in 1987 to manufacturing concrete piping materials as well as contracting major civil infrastructure projects such as water supply pipelines.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters Vertex has manufacturing facilities in Auckland. bottles. Industrial Containers. Since 1996. household. and a sales ofﬁce in Sydney. Australia.tw Company Overview Wei Mon Industry Co. Wei Mon started to research and develop natural and environmentallyfriendly products. of which the company exports around two-thirds.
wentus.46 Wentus Kunststoff GmbH Postbox 10 06 53 Eugen-Diesel-Straße 12 D-37656 Höxter Germany Tel: (49) 5271 6890 Fax (49) 5271 689219 www. 10. It is one of the largest producers of speciality polyoleﬁn ﬁlms and packaging in Germany and is certiﬁed according to quality standard DIN ISO 9001. the company is manufacturing end-use packaging products for the Taiwan market.de Company Overview Flexible packaging supplier. The main products offered by Wentus include: • • • • • • • • • • Food and consumer goods packaging ﬁlms Customised barrier ﬁlms Flowers and plant packaging ﬁlm Lamination ﬁlms Medical ﬁlms Wrapping and covering ﬁlm Inliners and special ﬁlms Shrink ﬁlms Household ﬁlms and bags Industrial sacks and bags Biodegradable Plastic Products Wemterra blown ﬁlms are starch-based biodegradable and compostable materials. 136 . was founded in 1965 and is now part of the Clondalkin Group. Belgium). Wentus. In addition to promoting and distributing Nature Green. The company employs over 400 people and has a production capacity in excess of 45. They are certiﬁed in accordance with DIN V 54900 (Germany) ‘OK Compost’ and ‘VGS-Label’ (including OK-CompostLabel. Wenterra ﬁlm is used for manufacture of bio-waste disposal bags and sacks. The biodegradable plastics products are being marketed in Taiwan as Nature Green.Biodegradable Polymers Biodegradable Plastic Products Wei Mon has an agreement with NatureWorks LLC to promote and distribute packaging articles made in Taiwan from NatureWorks PLA.000 tonnes/ year.
Wilkinson Industries introduced NaturesPLAsticin. SeaShell is a clamshell container for deli and bakery items and is now available in PLA and OPS. Biodegradable Plastic Products In 2003. JustFresh. OPS clear containers. roll foil and foil pop-ups. Some of Wilkinson’s most famous product offerings over the years have included the tamper-evident clear container. but with less clarity than OPS packaging. The Fresh Performance line is a two-piece rectangular container designed for fresh-cut produce. NaturesPLAstic is completely recyclable under composting conditions in 45 days using commercial composting facilities. aluminum foil containers and converts roll stock into foodservice foil products. Wilkinson extrudes OPS sheet. NaturesPLAstic. organic and natural herbs.47 Wilkinson Industries Inc. and its aluminum steamtable. In April 2004. Wilkinson Industries was acquired by the private investment company Mid Oaks Investments LLC. JustFresh are clear tamper-safe plastic containers in bowls and tubs designed for fresh cored pineapples. which set the standard for aluminium pans in the industry. VersaPak is Wilkinson’s two-piece delicatessen packaging for salads and mixed deli items which is also available in PLA as well as OPS. These products are available in PLA or OPS. medium and large family sizes are available in NaturesPLAstic (PLA) and in PET. and the new natural plastic packaging. HerbShell is Wilkinson’s hinged natural (PLA) container with hanging tabs for ease of display for fresh. the improved clear hinged container.wilkinsonindustries. made from NatureWorks PLA. NaturesPLAstic has shown good performance qualities with Wilkinson’s initial research showing NaturesPLAstic displaying similar characteristics to PET packaging. Small. 12th and Madison Street PO Box 490 Fort Calhoun Nebraska 68023 USA Tel: (1) 402 468 5511 Fax: (1) 402 468 5518 www. SeaShell.com Company Overview Wilkinson Industries manufactures foodservice packaging products including aluminum foil. 137 . which says the company. PerformancePak. was the ﬁrst-ever thermoformed plastic food container made from NatureWorks PLA. thermoform containers and domes. Another new product line in the JustFresh range are bowls with new easy-open lids.Proﬁles of Leading Biodegradable Plastics Converters 10.
Biodegradable Polymers 138 .
61-63.de Biomer Biopolyesters Forst-Kasten-Str.basf. Germany Tel: (49) 351 8718146 Fax: (49) 351 8718447 www.de Cereplast Corporate ofﬁce: 3421-3433 West El Segundo Boulevard.biopag.biomer. D-82152 Krailling. Germany Tel: (49) 621600 Fax: (49) 621 6042525 Biotec Biologische Naturverpackungen GmbH & Co. Ludwigshafen. Hawthorne CA 90250.biotec. D-46422 Emmerich.de Database of Major Biodegradable Polymer Suppliers BASF Aktiengesselschaft D-67056.de BIOP Biopolymer Technologies AG Gostritzer Str.com 139 . KG Werner-Heisenberg-Str. Germany Tel: (49) 8985 72665 Fax: (49) 89/85 72792 www.01217 Dresden. D. 15. Postfach 100220. USA Tel: (1) 310 676 5000 Fax: (1) 310 676 5003 www. Germany Tel: (49) 2822 92510 Fax: (49) 2822 51840 www.cereplast.11 www. 32.
co.dic. PO Box 50. Chuo-ku. Switzerland Tel: (41) 41 726 6100 Fax: (41) 41 726 6200 www.de 140 . Corporate Headquarters: DIC Building.jp DuPont 2 Chemin du Pavillon. Tokyo 103-8233 Japan Tel: (81) 3 3272 4511 Fax: (81) 3 3278 8558 www. Germany Tel: (49) 2154 9251 26 Fax: (49) 2154 9251 51 www.Biodegradable Polymers Daicel Chemical Industries Ltd Head Ofﬁce: 1.com FkuR Kunststoff GmbH Siemensring 79. Nihonbashi 3-chome. D. Suite 200.com Eastman Chemical Company PO Box 3263 Hertizentrum.co. Geneva. CH-6300 Zug. Osaka 590-8501.earthshell. USA Tel: (1) 410 847 9420 Fax: (1) 410 847 9431 www. Japan Tel: (81) 72 227 3111 Fax: (81) 72 227 3000 www.dupont. Maryland 21093. 7-20.com EarthShell Corporation 1301 York Road. Lutherville.daicel. Sakai-shi. Teppo-cho.eastman.47877 Willich.fkur. CH-1218 Grand Sacconex.jp Dainippon Ink & Chemicals Inc. Switzerland Tel: (41) 22 717 5111 Fax: (41) 22 717 4200 www.
Head Ofﬁce: 1753 Shimonumabe Nakahara.necel. Marunouchi 2-chome.co.jp Mitsui Chemicals Europe GmbH Oststraße 10. Kanagawa 211-8668. Ku Kawasaki. Singapore Tel: (65) 68720020 Fax: (65) 68720460 www. NL.hycail. Japan Tel: (81) 44435 5111 Fax: (81) 44435 1667 www.mitsui-chem. USA Tel: (1) 617 492 0505 Fax: (1) 617 492 1996 www. SGP-139950.co.mitsubishicorp.com Metabolix. 67 Ayer Rajah Crescent 02-07/08/09. D-40211 Düsseldorf. 21 Erie Street. Japan Tel: (81) 3 3210 2121 Fax: (81) 3 3210 8935 www. The Netherlands Tel: (31) 594 505769 Fax: (31) 594 506253 www. MA 02139-4260.com Mitsubishi Corporation 6-3. Noordhorn.grenidea. Chiyoda-ku. Germany Tel: (49) 211 173320 Fax: (49) 211 323486 www.metabolix. Cambridge. Tokyo 100-8086.jp NEC Electronics Corp.com Hycail BV Industrieweg 24-1.Database of Major Biodegradable Polymer Suppliers Grenidea Technologies PTE Ltd. Inc.9804 TG.com 141 .
USA Tel: (1) 215 343 6484 Fax: (1) 215 343 0214 www. 400 Valley Road. Minnetonka 55345.com.28100.Biodegradable Polymers NNZ BV Postbus 104. United Kingdom Tel: (44) 1932 896492 Fax: (44) 1932 896499 www.nl NatureWorks LLC 15305 Minnetonka Boulevard.polyscience. Surrey KT13 0XP.plantic. I.com 142 . Angliss Park Estate. Inc. Victoria 3026.9700 AC.com Plantic Head Ofﬁce: Unit 2. Warrington. Laverton North.pg. Australia Tel: (61) 3 9353 7900 Fax: (61) 3 9353 7901 www. Italy Tel: (39) 0321 699655 Fax: (39) 0321 699600 www.com Procter & Gamble The Heights.au Polysciences. PA 18976. Groningen. Minnesota. USA Tel: (1) 952 742 0400 Fax: (1) 952 984 3430 www. Novara. NL.materbi. Brooklands.nnz.com Novamont SpA Via Fauser 8. The Netherlands Tel: (31) 50 5207844 Fax: (31) 50 5207801 www. 227-231 Fitzgerald Road.natureworksllc. Weybridge.
Toyota 471-8571. NL.toyota. Oosterhout.com Showa Highpolymer Co.nl SK Chemicals Co.co.Database of Major Biodegradable Polymer Suppliers Rodenburg Biopolymers BV Denariusstraat 19.com 143 . Gangnam-gu. Ltd. Seoul 135-283. Japan Tel: (81) 5 6528 2121 Fax: (81) 5 6580 1116 www. Republic of South Korea Tel: (82) 2 2008 2008 Fax: (82) 2 2008 2009 www.solvay. Nerima-Ku 179-0075.skchemicals. United Kingdom Tel: (44) 2380 867 100 Fax: (44) 2380 867 070 www. Toyotacho. Japan Tel: (81) 3 399 99268 Fax: (81) 3 399 99633 www. Belgium Tel: (32) 2 509 61 11 Fax: (32) 2 509 66 17 www.4903 RC.co. Ltd.biopolymers. Marchwood Industrial Park. The Netherlands Tel: (31) 162 497 040 Fax: (31) 162 497 041 www.shp. North Road. 948-1.stanelco. Tokyo.uk Toyota Motor Corp 1.jp Solvay SA Headquarters: Rue du Prince Albert 33.Taechi3-Dong. Aichi. Southampton SO40 4BL. Brussels.com Stanelco plc Starpol Technology Centre. B-1050.
Biodegradable Polymers 144 .
Biodegradable polyester used in degradable plastic products.12 Additives Glossary of Terms Abiotic disintegration The disintegration of plastic materials by means other than by the biological process such as dissolving. The weight of all the organisms in a given population. a degradable plastic in which the degradation results from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria. the continuous phase which holds together the reinforcement. Composting is a way of aerobic degradation. Materials that are added to a base polymer to produce a desired change on properties or characteristics. Degradation in the absence of air. At processing temperatures. In a reinforced plastic. Polymers that exhibit controlled degradation through the incorporation of prodegradant additive masterbatches or concentrates. fungi and algae. The conversion of nutrients into living tissue. constructive metabolism. Anaerobic degradation Assimilation Aromatic hydrocarbons Binder Biodegradable plastic Bioerodable Biomass Blends & alloys 145 . Hydrocarbons derived from or characterized by the presence of unsaturated resonant ring structures. Devoid of crystallinity. no deﬁnite order. Anaerobic degradation is also called biomethanisation. heat ageing or ultraviolet ageing. Combinations of two or more different polymers mechanically entangled rather than chemically bonded. Biodegradable polyester used in degradable plastic products. Such polymers oxidise and embrittle in the environment and erode under the inﬂuence of weathering. as occurs in dry landﬁlls. the plastic is normally in the amorphous state. Adipic acid aliphatic copolyesters Adipic acid aromatic copolyesters Aerobic degradation Amorphous Degradation in the presence of air.
refers to side chains attached to the main chain. Compostable materials are capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site. A plastic processing technique to produce multi-layered objects of different plastic types. cellulose). Side chains may be long or short.Biodegradable Polymers Block copolymer An essentially linear copolymer in which there are repeated sequences of polymeric segments of different chemical structure. the main constituent of dried woods. water. jute. to the extent that they are not visually distinguishable and break down to carbon dioxide. the transformation of biologically decomposable materials through a controlled process of bio-oxidation 146 . Cotton is almost pure cellulose. etc. fungi. To form a plastic object by pouring a ﬂuid monomer-polymer solution into an open mould where it ﬁnishes polymerising. at a rate consistent with known compostable materials (e.g. inorganic compounds.g. A natural high polymeric carbohydrate found in most plants. ﬂax. The polymer must meet the following criteria: • Break down under the action of microorganisms (bacteria. • Total mineralisation is obtained (conversion into CO2. A polymer is ‘compostable’ when it is biodegradable under composting conditions. Forming plastic ﬁlm and sheet by pouring the liquid resin onto a moving belt or by precipitation in a chemical bath. To prepare sheets of material by pressure between two or more counterrotating rolls. Blow moulding Branched Calendering Cast Catalyst Cellulose Co-moulding Compostable Compostable plastic Composting A managed process that controls the biological decomposition of biodegradable materials into a humus-like substance called compost The aerobic and mesophilic and thermophilic degradation of organic matter to make compost. H2O. inorganic compounds and biomass under aerobic conditions). and biomass. cellulose). A substance which markedly speeds up the cure of a compound when added in minor quantity as compared to the amounts of primary reactants. and algae). • The mineralisation rate is compatible with the composting process and consistent with known compostable materials (e. hemp. ramie. A method of fabrication in which a parison (hollow tube) is forced into the shape of the mould cavity by internal air pressure. In molecular structure of polymers (as opposed to Linear).
Crushing load at the failure of a specimen divided by the original sectional area of the specimen. or cast. or volatile gases produced by the plastics during biodegradation or composting. repeating sequence of operations in a process or part of a process. usually a bacterium or a fungus. by removal of solvent or crosslinking. especially by the enzymatic action of microorganisms. thereby returning nutrients to the environment. expressed in grams per cubic centimetre. or reaction with chemical additives.’ in volts per mil of thickness. An organism. The forming of strong covalent bonds in a polymer chain that can only be broken at high temperatures.Glossary of Terms that proceeds through mesophilic and thermophilic phases and results in the production of carbon dioxide. Compression strength Crosslinking Crystallinity Cure Cycle Decomposer organism Degradable Density Dielectric strength Dimensional stability Dimensional strength Ecotoxicity 147 . In moulding.Cure may be accomplished. the cycle time is the period. it is called ‘biodegradation’. When degradation is caused by biological activity. or elapsed time. A state of molecular structure in some resins which denotes uniformity and compactness of the molecular chains forming the polymer. etc. Ecotoxicity refers to the potential environmental toxicity of residues. by bacterial (biodegradable). Weight per unit volume of a substance. radiation. leachate. thermal (oxidative) or ultraviolet (photodegradable) action.’ in volts per mil of thickness. The electric voltage gradient at which an insulating material is broken down or ‘arced through. minerals and stabilised organic matter (compost or humus). fabricated. Compound A base polymer plus plastic additives that are selected to achieve certain desired properties. water. usable condition by the use of heat. pounds per cubic foot. The complete. Note . between a certain point in one cycle and the same point in the next. To change the properties of a polymeric system into a more stable. The electric voltage gradient at which an insulating material is broken down or ‘arced through. Degradable materials break down. for example. Normally can be attributed to the formation of solid crystals having a deﬁnite geometric form. Ability of a plastic part to retain the precise shape in which it was moulded. that breaks down organic material into simple chemical components.
A material which at room temperature stretches under low stress to at least twice its length and snaps back to the original length upon release of stress. The fractional increase in length of a material stressed in tension. Techniques used to create depressions of a speciﬁc pattern in plastics ﬁlm and sheeting. The reaction product of an alcohol and an acid. A plastic processing technique to produce pipe, ﬁlm or sheeting. The plastic is fed through a ﬂat or preformed annular die, which gives the object its deﬁnitive shape. This term usually refers to relatively short lengths of very small crosssections of various materials. Fibres can be made by chopping ﬁlaments (converting). A cheap, inert substance added to a plastic to make it less costly. Fillers may also improve physical properties, particularly hardness, stiffness, and impact strength. The particles are usually small, in contrast to those of reinforcements but there is some overlap between the function of the two. A chemical substance added to the base polymer to signiﬁcantly reduce the propagation of ﬁre. A measure of the strain imposed in the outermost ﬁbres of a bent specimen. The strength of a material in bending, expressed as the tensile stress of the outermost ﬁbres of a bent test sample at the instant of failure. With plastics, this value is usually higher than the straight tensile strength. Starch can be blown by environmentally-friendly means into a foamed material using water steam. Foamed starch is antistatic, insulating and shock absorbing, therefore constituting a good replacement for polystyrene foam. The reversible change in an amorphous polymer or in amorphous regions of a partially crystalline polymer from (or to) a viscous or rubbery condition to (or from) a hard and relatively brittle one. Note - The glass transition generally occurs over a relatively narrow temperature region and is similar to the solidiﬁcation of a liquid to a glassy state: it is not a phase transition. Not only do hardness and brittleness undergo rapid changes in this temperature region but other properties, such as thermal expansion and speciﬁc heat also change rapidly. This phenomenon has been called second order transition, rubber transition and rubbery transition. The word transformation has also been used instead of transition. Where more than one amorphous
Glossary of Terms
transition occurs in a polymer, the one associated with segmental motions of the polymer backbone chain or accompanied by the largest change in properties is usually considered to be the glass transition. Glass Transition Temperature (Tg) The approximate midpoint of the temperature range over which the glass transition takes place.
Gloss Graft copolymers
The shine or luster of the surface of a material. A chain of one type of polymer to which side chains of a different type are attached or grafted (i.e., polymerising butadiene and styrene monomer at the same time). The resistance of a plastic material to compression and indentation. Among the most important methods of testing this property are Brinell hardness, Rockwell hardness and Shore hardness. The temperature at which a standard test bar (ASTM D648) deﬂects 0.010 in., under a stated load of either 66 or 264 psi. A method of joining plastic ﬁlms by simultaneous application of heat and pressure to areas in contact. Heat may be supplied conductively or dielectrically. Polymers that are made of one single repeated base unit or monomer. The solid organic substance that results from decay of plant or animal matter. Biodegradable plastics can form humus as they decompose. Humus in soil provides a healthy structure within which air, water and organisms can combine. Plastics based on resins made by the polymerization of monomers composed of carbon and hydrogen only. Chemical process whereby hydrogen is introduced into a compound. Chemical decomposition of a substance involving the addition of water. Tending to absorb moisture. Relative susceptibility of plastics to fracture by shock, e.g., as indicated by the energy expended by a standard pendulum type impact machine in breaking a standard specimen in one blow. The ability of a material to withstand shock loading. The work done in fracturing, under shock loading, a speciﬁed test specimen in a speciﬁed manner. A blow moulding process in which the parison to be blown is formed by injection molding.
Heat deﬂection temperature
Hygroscopic Impact resistance
Injection blow moulding
A plastic processing technique to produce solid parts with a high degree of precision. The material is injected into a mould by a plunger, and a press keeps the mould closed while the material cools. At the end of the process, the mould is released and the part ejected. A standard published by the International Organisation for Standardisation and commencing with ISO (e.g., ISO 16929). Note for electrical products the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the main international standardisation body. A product made by bonding together two or more layers of material or materials. A procedure which involves assessing the impact of a product or material throughout its life cycle – i.e., from raw material extraction or production through manufacture and use, to disposal or recovery. Also called Life Cycle Assessment. A plastics compound which includes a high concentration of an additive or additives. Masterbatches are designed for use in appropriate quantities with the basic resin or mix so that the correct end concentration is achieved. For example, colour masterbatches for a variety of plastics are extensively used as they provide a clean and convenient method of obtaining accurate colour shades. Conversion of a biodegradable plastic to CO2, H2O, inorganic compounds and biomass. For instance the carbon atoms in a biodegradable plastic are transformed to CO2, which can then reenter the global carbon cycle. The ﬂow rate obtained from extrusion of a molten resin through a die of speciﬁed length and diameter under prescribed conditions of time, temperature and load as set forth in ASTM D1238. The temperature of the molten plastic just prior to entering the mould or extruded through the die. Applying a thin coating of metal to a non-metallic surface. May be done by chemical deposition or by exposing the surface to vaporised metal in a vacuum chamber. The ratio of stress to strain in a material that is elastically deformed. The rate at which water vapour permeates through a plastic ﬁlm or wall at a speciﬁed temperature and relative humidity.
Life Cycle Analysis
Melt temperature Metallising
Modulus of elasticity
Moisture Vapour Transmission Monomer Mould
A relatively simple compound which can react to form a polymer. To shape plastic parts or ﬁnished articles by heat and pressure. The cavity or matrix into which the plastic composition is placed and from which it takes its form. The assembly of all the parts that function collectively in the moulding process.
e. composting) or anaerobic (bio-methanisation) treatment of biodegradable materials under controlled conditions. It is normally a translucent. using microorganisms to produce stabilised organic residues. tough. rubber. is blow moulded. Organic recycling is either the aerobic (i. In this process the polymer is converted to low molecular weight material and in a second step converted to carbon dioxide and water by bacterial action. Degradation of the polymer is triggered by UV light and assisted by the presence of UV sensitisers. methane and carbon dioxide. The hollow plastic tube from which a container. The process of converting a mixture of monomers into a polymer. Synthetic polymers are formed by addition or condensation polymerisation of monomers. If two or more monomers are involved. Can be accomplished by cold drawing or stretching during fabrication. The alignment of the crystalline structure in polymeric materials so as to produce a highly uniform structure.. between a moulding and the mould cavity in which it was moulded. A polymer prepared by the polymerization of butene as the sole monomer. some plastics. A polymer in which the structural units are linked by amide or thioamide groupings. etc. A high-molecular-weight organic compound. both organic. cellulose. Organic recycling Orientation Parison Photo-biodegradation Photodegradable Plasticizer Polymer Polymerisation Polyamide Polybutylene Polyester Polyethylene 151 . Polyesters modiﬁed with fatty acids are called alkyds. Some polymers are elastomers. A thermoplastic material composed by mers of ethylene. whose structure can be represented by a repeated small unit.e. Many polyamides are ﬁbre forming. A resin formed by the reaction between a dibasic acid and a dihydroxy alcohol. expressed in inches per inch. the mer. toy. natural or synthetic.. A process where ultraviolet radiation degrades the chemical bond or link in the polymer or chemical structure of a plastic. polyethylene. Chemical agent added to plastic compositions to make them softer and more ﬂexible. Modiﬁcation with multi-functional acids and/or bases and some unsaturated reactants permit crosslinking to thermosetting resins.g.Glossary of Terms Moulding shrinkage The difference in dimensions. waxy solid which is unaffected by water and by a large range of chemicals. both the mould and the moulding being at normal room temperature when measured. a copolymer is obtained.
A polymer prepared by the polymerisation of an oleﬁn(s) as the sole monomer(s). The electrical insulating properties of polystyrene are outstandingly good and the material is relatively unaffected by moisture. resulting in some mechanical properties superior to those of the base resin. A tough. Biodegradable polyester used in degradable plastic products. and pastes. A method of determining the hardness of a plastic material using a durometer. Most resins are polymers.) To make plastic molding powder into pellets or tablets. Polyhydroxybutyrate-valerate copolymer Polylactic acid Polyoleﬁn Biodegradable polyester used in degradable plastic products. Biodegradable polyester used in degradable plastic products. Any of a class of solid or semi-solid organic product of natural or synthetic origin.Biodegradable Polymers Polyhydroxyalkanoates Polyhydroxybutyrate Linear aliphatic polyesters produced in nature by bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids. It is obtainable in the form of granules. These shrink characteristics are built into the ﬁlm during its manufacture by stretching it under controlled temperatures to produce orientation of the molecules. the ﬁlm retains its stretched condition. It is widely used for cable and wire coverings. generally of high molecular weight with no deﬁnite melting point. solutions. Compounded with plasticizers it yields a ﬂexible material superior to rubber in ageing properties. alcohols. and concentrated acids and alkalis. lightweight rigid plastic made by the polymerization of highpurity propylene gas in the presence of an organometallic catalyst at relatively low pressures and temperatures. A technique of packaging in which the strains in a plastic ﬁlm are released by raising the temperature of the ﬁlm thus causing it to shrink over the package. (v. A plastic with high strength ﬁllers embedded in the composition. A thermoplastic material composed of polymers of vinyl chloride. a colorless solid with outstanding resistance to water. but reverts toward its original dimensions when Polypropylene Polystyrene Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Preform Reinforced plastics Resin Shore hardness Shrink wrapping 152 . in chemical plants. and in the manufacture of protective garments. A water-white thermoplastic produced by the polymerization of styrene (vinyl benzene). A compressed tablet or biscuit of plastic composition used for efﬁciency in handling and accuracy in weighing materials. lattices. Upon cooling.
when mixed with a thermoplastic resin. rather than the neckeddown area. Any chemical compound which. The pulling stress. The fractional change in length (sometimes volume. heated. In liquids for which this ratio is a function of stress. speciﬁed) of a material for a unit change in temperature. Some polypropylene ﬁlms and acrylic mouldings are outstanding in this respect. Process of making ﬁbers by forcing plastic melt through a spinneret.g.. Dimensional distortion in a plastic object after moulding.2 mil/in. density in g/cc and speciﬁc gravity are numerically nearly equal. e. it is sometimes used to refer to all sheet forming techniques. Since water’s density is nearly 1. Values for plastics range from 0.00 g/cc. required to break a given specimen. usually 4 °C. in psi. Speciﬁc gravity The density (mass per unit volume) of any material divided by that of water at a standard temperature. A polymeric material that undergoes irreversible chemical changes when cured with heat. Spinning Thermal conductivity Thermal expansion coefﬁcient Thermoforming Any process of forming thermoplastic sheet which consists of heating the sheet and pulling it down onto a mould surface. selectively absorbs UV rays. Thermoplastic Tensile strength Thermoset Transparent UV stabilizer Vacuum forming Viscosity Warpage 153 . and drawn down by a vacuum into a mould. The constant ratio of shearing stress to rate of shear.Glossary of Terms it is heated. A polymeric material or plastic that becomes soft or formable when heated and rigid when cooled. glass. physical constant for quantity of heat that passes through a unit cube of a substance in a unit of time when the difference in temperature of two faces is 1 degree. Shrink ﬁlm gives good protection to the products packaged and has excellent clarity. Method of sheet forming in which the plastic sheet is clamped in a stationary frame. including Drape Forming involving the use of vacuum and stationary moulds. the term ‘apparent viscosity’ is deﬁned as the ratio. Area used in computing strength is usually the original. Internal friction or resistance to ﬂow of a liquid. Descriptive of a material or substance capable of a high degree of light transmission. Ability of a material to conduct heat.01 to 0. In a loose sense. catalysts or ultraviolet light.
Biodegradable Polymers 154 .
13 ABS ADM APET ASTM ATP BOPP BPI BPS BS CAGR CEN CL CPET DLPLA EU EVOH FDA FFS GRAS GTR HDPE IBAW IEC ISBM ISO LA LCP LDPE LLDPE LPLA Abbreviations and Acronyms acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene terpolymers Archer Daniels Midland Company amorphous polyethylene terephthalate American Society for Testing and Materials adenosine triphosphate biaxially oriented polypropylene Biodegradable Products Institute Biodegradable Polymer Society butylene succinate cumulative annual growth rate European Committee for Standardization caprolactone crystallised polyethylene terephthalate poly(dl-lactide) European Union ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer US Food & Drug Administration form-ﬁll-seal generally recognised as safe guided-tissue-regeneration high density polyethylene International Biodegradable Polymers Association & Working Groups International Electrotechnical Commission Injection stretch blow moulding International Standards Organization lactic acid liquid crystal polymers low density polyethylene linear low density polyethylene l-lactide 155 .
Biodegradable Polymers MFR MGC MVTR MW NAFTA NTI OPLA OPS PA PBAT PBS PBSA PBSC PBST PBT PC PCB PCL PDS PE PEC PET PETG PGA PHA PHB PHBH melt ﬂow rate Mitsubishi Gas Chemical moisture vapour transmission rate molecular weight North American Free Trade Area Northern Technologies International oriented polylactide ﬁlm oriented polystyrene polyamide polybutylene adipate-terephthalate polybutylene succinate polybutylene succinate-adipate polybutylene succinate-carbonate polybutylene succinate-terephthalate polybutylene terephthalate polycarbonate polychlorinated biphenyl polycaprolactone polydioxanone polyethylene polyester carbonate polyethylene terephthalate polyethylene terephthalate glycol polyglycolide polyhydroxyalkanoate polyhydroxybutyrate poly(3-hydroxybutyric acid-co-3-hydroxyhexanoic acid) P(3HB-3HV) poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) PHBV PHV PLA PP PPM PPS PS polyhydroxybutyrate valerate polyhydroxyvalerate polylactic acid polypropylene primary packaging materials polyphenylene sulﬁde polystyrene 156 .
Abbreviations and Acronyms PTMT PVA PVC REC RoHS RF Tg Tm TTR USP UV WMI polytetramethylene adipate-terephthalate polyvinyl alcohol polyvinyl chloride renewable energy certiﬁcate Restriction on Hazardous Substances radio frequency glass transition temperature melt temperature thermal transfer ribbon United States Pharmacopeia ultraviolet light Wei Mon Industry Cn. Ltd 157 .
Biodegradable Polymers 158 .
Rapra has extensive processing. technical journals. Smithers Rapra Limited was formed in 2006 when Rapra Technology became part of The Smithers Group. Shropshire SY4 4NR. technological and business surveys.rapra. reports. Shawbury. conference proceedings and trade directories. and produces a range of engineering and data management software products. These publishing activities are supported by an Information Centre which maintains and develops the world’s most comprehensive database of commercial and technical information on rubbers and plastics. Rapra also publishes books. and computerised knowledge-based systems.ISBN: 1-85957-519-6 Smithers Rapra Limited Smithers Rapra Limited is a leading international organisation with over 80 years of experience providing technology. information and consultancy on all aspects of rubbers and plastics. UK Telephone: +44 (0)1939 250383 Fax: +44 (0)1939 251118 http://www. Shrewsbury.net . analytical and testing laboratory facilities and expertise.
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