Press Release contributed by Dr. Sally Humphreys, Business Development Manager, Applied Market Information Ltd.
Everyone is doing it – looking for better materials to become more sustainable. It is good for the environment and it is also good for the brands as consumers want to contribute to a better world. So how far has the renewable sourcing revolution gone for the plastics and elastomer industries? Professor Endres of the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites will outline the markets and the latest developments at the next international conference on Green Polymer Chemistry 2015 organised by AMI and taking place from 18-19 March 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Asia will be represented by Samsung Fine Chemicals – Dr. Hwang will give an overview of the bio-based plastics markets and the future potential in that region.
It is important to establish that any innovative product is more sustainable than the original fossil feedstock material. ISCC System has a method for evaluating the sustainability of bio-based products. The Chimex division of L’Oreal has also developed an Ecofootprint tool.
In packaging Amcor Flexibles has put together a method to measure the carbon footprint and other life cycle impacts.
One new example of renewable sourcing is the bio-based food trays from Duni AB, in Sweden. On the polyolefin side, SABIC has entered this marketplace with certified renewable plastics. In other instances new alternative polymers are being proposed, for example, Professor Harlin of the VTT Technical Research Centre has developed a new oxygen barrier material, which is claimed to be superior to EVOH.
There are many plastics and elastomers that are already in widespread use, such as polyolefins, polyesters and polyamides, where bio-sourcing is now established for commercial monomers. Evonik and Radici Chimica are both leading examples of suppliers of polyamides including bio-based nylons. G.I. Dynamics has taken the first step towards bio-based PET. An alternative option to improve sustainability is to combine a new bioplastic with an existing material: Benecke-Kaliko has done this with a TPO/PLA blend foil for automotive interiors.
Besides “growing” plastics it is possible to recover chemicals from waste to close the loop and there are some great successes to celebrate in this area. The new start-up company QCP will discuss quality recovery of plastics, Carbon Clean Tech has produced carbon black additive from waste, and Enerkem has made the production of renewable chemicals from waste a commercial reality in Edmonton, Canada.
Innovative start-up companies and top universities have found new sources to make many of the basic thermoplastics, thermosets and elastomers. Verdezyne is synthesising renewable polyamide precursors, Yulex is developing guayule as a new industrial source of materials, TNO-BIORIZON is a project on furan chemistry aromatics, and the University of Wageningen is focusing on new polymers based on furandicarboxylic acids.
AMI’s forum for brand owners, manufacturers, the polymer industry and researchers reviews the available renewable thermoplastics and the future prospects at Green Polymer Chemistry 2015 from 18-19 March in Cologne, Germany.
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