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Terraloy PLA compounds win SPI bioplastics innovation award

By: Don Loepp

May 6, 2014

Teknor Apex Co.’s bioplastics division has been honored for developing heat-resistant polylactic acid compounds with high impact properties.

The Terraloy materials won the 2014 Innovations in Bioplastics Award, sponsored by the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.’s Bioplastics Council.

Nominees were judged on innovation, sustainability measures and impact to the marketplace. They will be honored at the Biopolymers Symposium, scheduled for May 12-13 in Philadelphia.

“Teknor Apex has a long history of innovations in bioplastics and truly deserves this recognition,” said Barbara Fowler, conference director for Smithers Rapra, which is sponsoring the event.

Terraloy’s technical team, headed by Greg Anderson, worked with research partner Cerestech Inc. to enhance PLA in areas such as heat resistance, impact resistance, and processability, while retaining Food and Drug Administration compliance, high bio-based content, and compostability, according to Edwin Tam, Teknor Apex’s manager of new strategic initiatives.

Tam said a life cycle analysis showed that Terraloy PLA compounds with high heat distortion temperatures produced 125 percent less greenhouse gas than high impact polystyrene and 40 percent less than low density polyethylene.

Unlike materials produced by the crystallized PLA process, there is no post-annealing or post-crystallization required, according to the company.

Pawtucket, R.I.-based Teknor Apex developed two types of Terraloy compounds: an injection molding grade for foodservice items such as cutlery for hot food, and an extrusion/thermoforming grade for hot beverage lids. The compounds are compostable and meet the ASTM D-6400 standard, according to the company.