Remarkable Display of Bioplastics at NPE2018

More than 70 companies are presenting products and technologies related to biobased polymers. That could easily make NPE2018 one of the largest bioplastics offerings.


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Bioplastics and polymers made from renewable resources had their entrance in the commercial arena almost fifteen years ago. They were a major breakthrough then and they are still breaking news now. Just in the last months, two big players in the toy industry, Lego and Hasbro, announced the use of sugar-cane bioplastics for their products and packaging solutions, as a part of an integral strategy toward sustainability.

Over the next five years, the use of bioplastics is expected to grow by 20%. “Primarily that is going to originate from the biobased versus the biodegradable portion of the industry,” notes Patrick Krieger, assistant director of regulatory & technical affairs at PLASTICS. “What this really means is new capacity or new production facilities by existing suppliers, but it also includes new feedstocks and polymers for second- and third-generation with application in packaging.”

Krieger added that a lot of the innovation is coming from multi-laminated films that could go into industrial compost. Also, new formulations for packaging products that will allow them to be biodegradable in other contexts, external to industrial composting facilities, like home compostable or marine biodegradable.

According to Adam Gendell, associate director of the Sustainable Packaging Coaliton (SPC), plant-based feedstocks are important to monitor. “Technologies aimed at producing high-performance plastics from plant-based feedstocks are steadily climbing,” he says.

This trend is evident in the exhibition floor of the NPE2018, where there are over 70 companies whose activities and presentations are related with bioplastics. “That could easily make NPE2018 one of the largest bioplastics offering within a show. This is a great opportunity for people to come and learn about a broad spectrum of topics, especially sustainability,” says  Krieger.

At the show, visitors can find a wide range of advanced polyolefins and new bioplastics for flexible and rigid packaging, as well as innovative applications.

Just as a quick look, new colorants for bioplastics by Eastman Chemical Co. (Booth S230D) are being displayed, along with the presentation of Treva, an engineering bioplastic, launched last year.

Total Corbion PLA (S35085) features for the Americas its Luminy PLA portfolio of Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) resins, that includes both high heat and standard PLA grades and is used in a range of markets, from packaging to durable consumer goods and electronics. According to the company, the range of applications being developed in high heat PLA is steadily increasing as sustainability gains ever greater importance throughout the value chain.

Total Corbion PLA is also drawing attention to its 75 kTpa (165 million lbs per year) production plant starting-up in the second half of 2018.

Regarding applications, a premiere presentation involving bioplastics is in charge of Beck Automation (Booth S35146), that is showing for the first time in the Americas how IML decoration is available for PLA packaging. The demonstration on site is an IML system for single-serve coffee capsules. Both the capsules and the labels are of PLA biopolymer.


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