LDPE derived from sugarcane ethanol.

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Brazil’s Braskem (U.S. office in Philadelphia) is expanding its “green” line of polyolefins with a 66-million-lb/yr production line for LDPE derived from sugarcane ethanol, with start-up scheduled for January 2014. Braskem has two technology options—autoclave and tubular—which it can use to make grades for most LDPE film, extrusion coating, and injection molding markets. Braskem already offers biobased LLDPE and HDPE and expects to have commercial quantities of biobased PP by year’s end.

In what is said to be a carton packaging industry first, Tetra Pak of Switzerland plans to enter into a supply agreement for Braskem’s new “I’m Green” LDPE. This initiative will be limited in scope to Tetra Pak’s packaging material factories in Brazil for the duration of this first trial, which is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2014. Tetra Pak plans to use the biobased LDPE as a component of its packages which will mean that 100% of its packages produced in Brazil—about 13 billion, will have up to 82% material from renewable sources. The company was reportedly the first liquid-food packaging supplier to use biobased plastic with the launch of its Tetra Brik Aseptic packages with StreamCap 1000 produced with Braskem’s I’m Green HDPE in 2011.

Meanwhile, Braskem is also poised to launch a new PE resin for caps of carbonated beverages in the second half of this year. It reportedly allows production of caps with excellent sealing performance and allows for reductions in package weight. It can also be made from the company’s “green” PE. This is Braskem’s first PE resin for caps for carbonated drinks; the company already offers standard PP cap resins for this application.