Brazilian resins supplier Braskem SA won the Best Innovation in Bioplastics award at the annual Bioplastics Awards competition.
Braskem's announcement this year could mark a major milestone in the bioplastics industry. It plans to commercialize a technology to produce polyethylene from ethanol derived from sugar cane. The Sao Paulo-based company promises to make biosourced polymers available to the market for the first time that do not simulate, but exactly match, the performance of traditional oil-based polymers.
The company plans to have a 440 million-pound-capacity PE plant in Triunfo, Brazil, in operation by 2009.
The awards were announced Dec. 5 in connection with the Bioplastics conference in Cologne, sponsored by European Plastics News, a sister publication of Plastics News.
Other winners included:
* Amcor Flexibles UK, a unit of Melbourne, Australia-based Amcor Ltd., was named Best Bioplastics Processor. Amcor has been developing a strong position in the bioplastics packaging sector, with its latest innovation the development of a heat-sealable film using Novamont's Mater-bi resin. Manufactured at its Ilkeston, England, plant, Amcor's product line also includes traditional induction-sealable films in its Nature Plus compostable line.
* Alcan Inc.'s Alcan Packaging unit in Dublin, Ireland, won for Best Bioplastics Application in Packaging.
The company developed a compostable packaging film laminate for United Kingdom food company Jordans that provides the performance of a polyvinylidene dichloride-coated cellulose/PE laminate. The printable laminate of Natureflex cellulose and Novamont's Mater-bi can be home composted and is the result of a three-year development project.
* Wellness Innovation Project srl of Prato, Italy, won for Best Bioplastics Application, Nonpackaging. The company, known as WIP, manufactures the Love'N range of biodegradable, hypoallergenic sanitary pads. The pads exploit the breathable nature of Mater-bi in the barrier layer to retain moisture and keep the skin dry while moisture is absorbed by three filtering layers made of polylactic acid fibers.
* Packaging distributor Excellent Packaging & Supply of Richmond, Calif., won for Best Bioplastics Marketing Initiative. The firm helps customers select the right products for their needs, supporting that with promotional advice and materials. The company also promotes composting.
* Brussels, Belgium-based supermarket chain Delhaize SA won the Best Bioplastics Retailer award. One of the longest-standing supporters of bioplastics, Delhaize has used more than 7 million PLA salad containers in the past two years, replacing more than 284 million pounds of traditional plastics.
This year it switched its single-use carrier bags to starch-based plastics, estimating that 220 million pounds of resins were used during the first 12 months. The company also is working with Belgian retail and waste trade groups on packaging waste plans.
* Martin K. Patel was honored for Personal Contribution to Bioplastics. Patel has been doing work over the past 15 years in the technical and economic analysis of energy saving and emission reductions achievable through industrial biotechnologies. As assistant professor in the Depart- ment of Science, Technology and Society at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, he is an international authority on life- cycle assessment, chemistry and sustainable development.
His specialty is in data acquisition and modeling and development of tools to estimate energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.
More recently, he has been coordinating and contributing to several national and European Union-funded projects on bio-based materials.