Report: bio-based plastics not dependent on biofuels

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: August 27, 2013 3:38 pm ET
Updated: August 27, 2013 3:41 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability
Companies & Associations Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.

A new paper from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. argues that the bio-based plastics industry is not necessarily tied to a robust biorefining industry.

Developed by the group’s Bioplastics Council, the 10-page paper looks at ways and implications that allow the bio-based plastic industry to grow independently of biofuels.

Bio-based plastics represent less than 1 percent of all plastics and with the advent of shale gas, “it is even less probable that bio-based plastics would displace all conventional plastics” in the future, the report said.

Consumers are environmentally conscious, showing preference for products containing bio-based plastics, “but only if price and performance are not compromised,” the report said. Consumers won’t pay a premium for bio-based plastics.

The resources used to make plastics continue to evolve, the paper said, with food and feed crops used for biomaterials including canola, cassava, corn, flax, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets, sugarcane and wheat.

“While these feedstocks could be used for food, the diversity of crop options offers the opportunity to select the most efficient and least ecologically disruptive choice for a given locale,” the report said.

Many brand owners, including Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Unilever and Nestlé, have stated they want to move packaging to renewable feedstocks.

“In addition to the societal and environment advantages of using non-food feedstocks, there are economic ramifications. As buyers of huge amounts of food commodities, it would be counterproductive for these companies to take actions that could drive up food prices,” the report said.

“It is quite reasonable to assume that the bioplastics industry will follow the same pattern that the petrochemicals and traditional plastics industry followed a century ago in being dependent on the byproducts of fuel production,” said Carol Van Zoeren, technology manager for packaging and industrial products at DuPont Co. and chair of the Bioplastics Council’s Beginning of Life Committee, in a statement. “We have examined the fundamental differences — demand, technology, infrastructure — between then and now and our determination is that while bioplastics could certainly benefit from a robust biofuels industry, these differences suggest that other patterns may be possible.”

The paper can be viewed online and SPI plans to hold a webinar at 11 a.m. Sept. 10 to discuss its findings.


Comments

Report: bio-based plastics not dependent on biofuels

By Jeremy Carroll
Assistant Managing Editor

Published: August 27, 2013 3:38 pm ET
Updated: August 27, 2013 3:41 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Soy-based foam improves window performance, sustainability

December 18, 2014 12:51 pm ET

Launched in April 2013, Madison, Wis.-based WFI Global LLC is making a name in the fenestration market with what it says is a distinct product...    More

Image

Europe puts its 'Circular Economy' recycling effort on hold, for now

December 18, 2014 12:28 pm ET

The European Commission has withdrawn its Circular Economy initiative from its 2015 work program, and will instead replace it with “a new, more ...    More

Image

New extruders, repelletizer to improve production for InterGroup

December 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

InterGroup International Ltd. will install new, larger extruders and repelletizers at all three of its plastic scrap recycling locations in 2015.    More

Image

Investments allow UK's Jayplas to keep recycling supply chain at home

December 17, 2014 9:32 am ET

Corby, England-based plastics recycler Jayplas has announced the completion of a new extrusion and printing plant, together with a new packaging...    More

Image

Ecojug trims HDPE from milk jugs

December 17, 2014 8:57 am ET

United Diary Inc. has saved 1.7 million pounds of high density polythylene during the production of 80 million of its new Ecojug milk jug design since...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events