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PolyOne’s reFlex boasts 99% biocontent

By: Frank Esposito

November 27, 2012

AVON LAKE, OHIO (Nov. 27, 10:20 a.m. ET) — 100 percent might be a perfect score, but 99 percent is still a pretty good number.

That’s the percentage of bio-based content contained in a new grade of reFlex-brand bioplasticizer recently developed by PolyOne Corp.

Avon Lake-based PolyOne unveiled the new reFlex 300 grade Nov. 6 at the European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin. The new grade is derived from rapidly renewable feedstocks and provides a one-to-one replacement for general-purpose plasticizers used in flexible PVC formulations, company officials said in a news release.

The phthalate-free 300 grade “enables customers to expand their offerings with differentiated alternatives that heed consumer calls for eco-conscious solutions,” said Performance Products and Solutions President Rob Rosenau.

The new material has been certified under the Department of Agriculture BioPreferred program, officials said, and it also can help manufacturers and brand owners in meeting the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which bans certain phthalates in products used by children.

Potential applications for the new reFlex grade include tubing and connectors in health care, plugs and insulators in electrical components, and toys and shoes in the consumer-goods arena. In building and construction, the new material can be used in weather stripping, gaskets, office furniture and flooring.

The new grade is made using soybean-based technology developed by Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research and development firm in Columbus, Ohio. PolyOne and Battelle have worked together on bioplasticizer projects since 2008.

A Battelle spokesman said reFlex materials are commercially active in non-food packaging film and a range of general-purpose plastisol applications. Battelle developed the patents used in reFlex in 2002 and 2003. The reFlex line is the first commercial application of the technology.

In addition to reFlex, Battelle in 2011 developed a soy-based polymer that partially could replace acrylic-based absorbent polymer used in diapers. That polymer was developed with funding from the United Soybean Board and the Ohio Soybean Council.

Earlier this year, bioplastics maker Biobent Polymers of Dublin, Ohio, announced it had received funding from Battelle and from USB. Biobent sells soy-based bioplastics under the Panacea trade name. Those materials are toll-compounded for Biobent by Ovation Polymers of Medina, Ohio. Biobent is a division of Univenture Inc. of Marysville, Ohio.