The Procter & Gamble Co. in Cincinnati plans to use renewable HDPE derived from sugarcane in packaging for its Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl, and Max Factor brands. The first products are expected to hit the shelves next year. The bio-HDPE will be made by Braskem in Brazil (braskem.com), which turns sugarcane into ethanol and then into ethane, ethylene, and finally polyethylene. The resulting HDPE is indistinguishable from petrochemical-derived HDPE.
This will be the second appearance of sugarcane-derived plastics packaging in North America. Since late 2009, The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, has been selling Dasani sparkling and vitamin water in PET bottles of which the ethylene glycol portion (30% of the plastic’s composition) comes from sugarcane-derived ethanol from Brazil. Coca-Cola has not named its partners in this project, but speculation has focused on Braskem and India Glycols of Uttar Pradesh, which makes ethylene glycol from molasses or sugarcane.
In what is likely a sign of things to come, Coperion GmbH in Germany (U.S. headquarters in Ramsey, N.J.) has installed a turnkey compounding plant tailored for biodegradable plastics. The extrusion line has been operating since January by Portuguese compounder company Cabopol, S. A., the first producer of biodegradable plastics on the Iberian Peninsula. It will process compostable polyesters with and without starch filler. The extruder is Coperion’s ZSK 26 MEGAcompounder Plus with special screw geometry and a ZS-B twin-screw side feeder and a venting unit. Because the starch does not melt, liquid is added in the melting zone as a processing aid. The package includes equipment for materials handling—storage, conveying, weighing and dosing—pelletizing and drying/dewatering. The line is integrated into the EpcNT plant control system and can be monitored remotely by modem. The Biomind degradable compounds are sold by Cabopol for garbage bags, food packaging, shopping bags, drinking straws, and agricultural films.
(201) 327-6300 • coperion.com
A new LDPE water-bottle cap formulated with a proprietary additive is said to completely biodegrade in five to 10 years. The additive also maintains clarity and tensile strength. Called the Earth Cap and molded by Norland International Inc., Lincoln, Neb., at its plant in the Far East, the injection molded, 55-mm cap is said to be a first for 5-gal water bottles. It also has a first-of-its-kind biodegradable, non-adhesive, tamper-evident label and 2-mm foam seal, making the entire cap structure totally biodegradable. The caps have a two-year shelf life and offer the same performance as current versions. They are also said to be fully recyclable. After use and disposal, exposure to UV light, heat, and moisture makes the caps embrittle and break down into small pieces. Once the molecular weight is reduced sufficiently, the material becomes available for microbial bio-digestion. Norland also supplies PET blow molding machines and other equipment to water bottlers. The company expects to release degradable PE films for shrink wrap in coming months.
(402) 441-3737 • norlandintl.com, norlandgreen.com
Newly formed Styron LLC (formerly part of Dow Chemical) has chosen the Philadelphia area for its global HQ. Its North America Operations Center will remain in Midland, Mich., where Styron has leased 8400 ft2 of office space downtown. (888) 789-7661 • styron.com