A failed mining venture has laid the groundwork for a new molder of biodegradable PET preforms to emerge.
Casey Container Corp. recently filed business plans with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Scottsdale, Ariz., company was formed in January from Sawadee Ventures Inc., an exploratory mining venture started in 2006 to pan for gold, silver and copper in Canada. Sawadee in 2008 became a shell company, in search of new business partners and opportunities.
According to the filings, Casey Container will open its first processing facility, for PET preforms, in Tampa, Fla., with its affiliate, Taste of Aruba, blow molding water bottles at a plant in the Dutch territory of Aruba. The company as of Feb. 8 had only three employees and no machinery.
According to the filings, Casey Container's preforms will be made with a Food and Drug Administration-approved additive, EcoPure, which the company claims enhances biodegradability in microbe-rich environments such as landfills and industrial composting facilities. Bio-Tec Environmental LLC of Albuquerque developed the additive.
Casey Container will primarily serve food, beverage, and pharmaceutical companies that are eco-conscious and interested in biodegradable packaging, President Tom Casey said in a Feb. 22 telephone interview.
We see that the claim that plastics bottles stay around for 700-800 years is apparently accurate. We have an additive that in ASTM testing [has shown that] in two to five years in a landfill it's going to biodegrade, he said.
In addition to Casey, who served in senior management at U.S. Industrial Chemical Co. (now part of Quantum Chemical Co.), Casey Container has two other bottling and plastic industry veterans at the executive level:
* CEO, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary Terry Nield was previously CEO of Clearly Canadian Beverage Corp. and Jolt Beverages Corp.
* Vice President of operations Robert Seaman has set up bottling plants for Fiji Water, Ozarka Water, Penta Water and others, according to SEC filings.
According to Casey, the non-exclusive license to add EcoPure to Casey Container products came about after officials researched environmental claims made by potential competitors using oxo-degradable additives and starch-based polylactic acid in their bottles.
According to Casey Container's SEC filing, It is believed that oxo-degradables do not actually biodegrade, but break down into tiny toxic pieces of plastic mixing into soil and waterways.
Oxo-degradables maker EPI Environmental Technologies Inc. disputes Casey Container's claims (see EPI's letter to the editor in this issue, Mailbag, Page 6).
PLA also was a subject of the SEC filing: PLA packaging options lack the performance of conventional PET plastic packaging and have not yet attained economies of scale.
It is also debated, it said, that those options can drive up the cost of food-supply commodities.
Bio-Tec officials were unavailable for comment. On its Web site, the firm claims that EcoPure has an indefinite shelf life compared with 104 months for starch-based bioplastics and two to six months for oxo-degradables, and that the additive is unaffected by moisture and mechanical stress, two enemies of other biodegradable additives.
In addition to EcoPure, Bio-Tec does a booming business providing biodegradable inserts for athletic shoes, Casey said.
According to its SEC filings, Casey Container expects to grow rapidly, making cases containing 24 15-ounce bottles in Aruba from 20,000 cases in the first quarter of 2010 to 2.2 million cases by the fourth quarter of 2012.
Everybody wants to turn it into a commodity. I think the bottled-water business can only go up, up, up, he said.
I live in Annapolis, Md., and every other week or so we have another pipe blow up in downtown Baltimore full of water. Most of the pipes in cities are [aging].
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