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3/7/2016 | 2 MINUTE READ

Five-Year Old Biopolymer Conference Grows Broader

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NatureWorks’s Innovation Takes Root 2016 conference agenda is indicative of the mettle of biopolymers in a broader set of market sectors.

NatureWorks’s Innovation Takes Root 2016 conference agenda is indicative of the mettle of biopolymers in a broader set of market sectors.


Later this month, I’m lucky enough to be filling in for my busy colleague, executive editor Matt Naitove, at the 5th edition of Innovation Takes Root (ITR), a three-day event sponsored by NatureWorlks LLC, Minnetonka, Minn., manufacturer of Ingeo PLA, a bioplastic made up of long molecular chains of the polymer polylactide derived from naturally-occurring plant sugars.


This time, the biennially-held ITR is taking place March 30-April 1, at the Orlando World Center Marriot, Orlando, Fla. This three-day event brings together global Ingeo channel partners from the entire bioplastic value chain to learn more about the innovations emerging in a host of different markets—from 3D printing to flexible and rigid packaging.  Market-focused sessions include in-depth discussions on:


  • Single-serve beverage delivery systems
  • New developments in Ingeo flexible packaging
  • Advancements in dairy, dessert, and chilled snack packaging
  • Food serviceware
  • New horizons for Ingeo in 3D printing
  • Ingeo fibers and nonwovens advancements


On March 30, there are three four-hour workshops offered. Two are technical in nature: the theory and practice of delivering heat resistance and practical approaches to impact modification. The third, Progressing the Ingeo Journey, offers an in-depth look at Ingeo feedstock diversification; feedstock sustainability and certification; relevant regional and global regulations; strategies and pilots for increasing Ingeo post-consumer and post-industrial recovery; and the latest Ingeo life-cycle assessment.


Meanwhile, the ITR 2016 plenary sessions feature global brands, leading academics, and non-governmental organizations. Plenary speakers include Ikea, describing the company’s vision for sustainable materials innovation—“Circular Ikea”. A speaker representing the Green Sports Alliance will address how the organization’s more than 300 member sports leagues, teams, and arenas are partnering with industry to drive societal change in terms of less waste going to landfills.


Also notable is the director of Duke University’s Center for Sustainability & Commerce who will discuss the place of bioplastics in the broader context of the U.S.’s $369-billion bioeconomy. A representative from World Wildfire Fund’s Bioplastics Feedstock Alliance will describe the NGO’s (non-governmental organization) partnership with brand owners on responsible applications of bioplastics and how these practices positively impact the environment.


The first-day opening keynote address by Kaihan Krippendorf, business strategist, best-selling author of “Outhink the Competition”, and Fast Company blogger sets the tone for the conference. He will address how companies can succeed by unlocking innovation and sizing opportunities others ignore. In a day-two opening keynote, a speaker from the non-profit e-Nable will describe how the creation of the first 3D-printed hand made for a five-year-old child has quickly evolved into a passionate volunteer network that is positively transforming the lives of children around the globe.


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