While the plastics industry overall shows little enthusiasm for degradable materials, Novon International Inc. continues to find unusual applications for its starch-based polymers. The Buffalo, N.Y., firm has developed a polymer for use in a chewable, digestible dog bone. Novon in November will begin supplying a masterbatch containing the polymer to Doane Products Co. of Joplin, Mo. Doane will add colors and flavors to the material then injection mold it into dog bones in four sizes and a variety of flavors. Doane will launch the new product in January at retailers across the country.
Peter Klaich, Novon vice president of sales and marketing, said his firm's supply agreement with Doane covers three years but he would not disclose other terms. He declined to give specifics of the new polymer but said it helps a dog's oral hygiene, is digestible and harmless to canines. Doane also may use such polymers in other pet products such as chewable rings and balls.
Klaich said in a telephone interview that a Novon polymer also will be used in a turf tack for golf courses, landscaping and agriculture. The tacks, shaped like staples, are about 21/4 inches long. An operator shoots them into turf using a stainless steel applicator gun. The tacks are designed to provide turf and erosion control until they biodegrade. Klaich said they are unobtrusive compared to pegs and other control products.
Eco-Turf Inc. in Chicago will begin marketing the tacks in late fall.
Klaich said Novon's opportunities in traditional markets such as biodegradable compost bags also are growing. Churchill Technologies Inc. of Isle of Man, England, bought Novon in early 1995 to expand its degradable polymers business. Klaich joined the company in May.