Rotuba Extruders Inc. of Linden, N.J., is pressing ahead with sustainability-focused marketing of its cellulose-based Naturacell compound.
``Both in Europe and the U.S., there is a big movement to try and define green polymers,'' said Adam Bell, Rotuba president and chief executive officer. ``We need to reduce our dependency on oil and have a safe plastic usable in products from children's toys up to medical devices.''
The custom compounder and extruder promotes the material's origin in renewable natural resources, ease of processing without new tooling investments and the absence of controversial bisphenol A or phthalate content.
Here are some Naturacell uses:
* Allure Home Creations Co. Inc. of Boonton, N.Y., expanded its eco line of tumblers, cups and toothbrush holders for private-label specialty-market customers, said Edward Ho, vice president for product development. The quality of bioplastics is satisfactory now, ``but pricing is still higher than we could bear in the commodity market.''
* Tessco Technologies Inc. of Hunt Valley, Md., launched its clear $29.99 Element iPhone 3G case in the retail market under its Ventev brand, said Jeff Lime, Ventev Innovations general manager and director. ``The low-profile, impact-resistant Naturacell case maintains the form factor of the iPhone.'' Manufacturing occurs in Southern California.
* Rotary Acquisition Co. LLC of Garwood, N.J., doing business as Rotary Pen, began bulk-rate distribution in October of New Jersey-made advertising-specialty 20-25 cent retractable pens and 10-12 cent stick pens in eco- friendly colors, said Matthew Shea, vice president and chief financial officer. ``Naturacell molds nicely and is the only material in the pens'' except for a ratchet of silicone and acetal.
* M.Z. Berger & Co. of Long Island City, N.Y., uses Naturacell in beads and silhouettes for its 4 Ever Green-brand fashion jewelry, said Cindy Ferraro, vice president of merchandising and product development. ``We have been working on it for a little over a year now'' and target the retail market in 2009.
Rotuba ``launched Naturacell at the K show in 2007, and we have come a long way'' in product development, said Hugh O'Neill, sales director for Rotuba cellulosic products. Naturacell is ``only marginally more expensive than regular cellulose acetate.''
Cellulose acetate compounds with plasticizers are suitable for consumer products such as toys, hair accessories, kitchen utensils and cellular telephones. Physical properties include impact strength, clarity, surface gloss, chemical resistance and touch sensitivity.
Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport, Tenn., supplies Rotuba with cellulose acetate for Naturacell resins and the Auracell line of scent-infused compounds.