Bioplastics are a hot topic among recyclers -- especially biodegradable resins. Are processors paying attention? Dordan Manufacturing Co. Inc., a thermoformer in Woodstock, Ill., has been studying the issue for some time, and today Chandler Slavin, the company's sustainability coordinator, posted a thoughtful item on the topic. "Bio-based plastics, environmental considerations," on GreenerPackage.com, compares bioplastics like PLA to conventional resins like PET. "Taken together, one would assume that the 2005 Ingeo PLA is a more sustainable option than traditional plastics, as manifest through this study," she concludes. "However, it is important to take into account the other dimensions discussed above, such as end of life management, complete biodegradation, and sustainable sourcing. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of bio-based resins from an environmental perspective, packaging professionals can make informed material selections and truly comprehend the ecological ramifications of their packaging selections and designs." It's nice to see a processor taking the time to do the research into the pros and cons of using bioplastics, and I know that Dordan isn't alone. I get a few phone calls a month from processors with questions about what materials are "most sustainable," and I know others at Plastics News get the same question. As I wrote back in January, I think most processors are willing and able to adapt to their customers' materials-related sustainability goals -- they just need information and guidance. Processors are flexible about using recycled content, or bio-based resins, or switching from one virgin material to another. It all depends on cost, performance and what the customer wants.
One processor's thoughts on bioplastics
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