Metabolix Inc.'s Telles joint venture is selling its bioplastic resins through distribution markets for the first time via deals with Channel Prime Alliance and Entec Polymers LLC.
CPA and Entec “have multiple touch points with converters,” Metabolix business development director Dan Gilliland said in a recent phone interview. “They have dozens of sales people out there talking to converters every day. Working with them increases the size of our sales force by a factor of 20.
“It's a different kind of connection when you've got the material stocked in your hometown and you know the sales people,” he added. CPA and Entec “bring a lot of value.”
Telles — a joint venture between Lowell, Mass.-based Metabolix and American agricultural giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. — operates a 110 million-pound-capacity plant making Mirel-brand bioplastic in Clinton, Iowa.
The plant is about 120 miles away from CPA's headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, according to Bruce Geiger, engineering thermoplastic business manager for CPA.
“Depending on how green the customer is, [Mirel] could be a good fit,” Geiger added in a recent phone interview. “We see it as a complementary material. [Mirel] isn't going to replace anything we already sell.”
Both CPA and Maitland, Fla.-based Entec are owned by international distribution giant Ravago Group. Brussels-based Ravago also owns North American distribution leader H. Muelstein & Co. Inc. of Norwalk, Conn.
In a news release, Entec packaging business development manager Andy Volcaire said that his firm “is seeing an increased demand for thermoforming, sheet- and film-grade packaging products made with bio-based materials like Mirel.”
CPA General Manager Joe Muhs said in the same release that Mirel “is an important addition to our portfolio” that will allow CPA to provide its customers with bio-based and biodegradable solutions to meet the increasing demand for sustainable plastic products.
Mirel is bio-based and biodegradable in natural soil and water environment, as well as in home composting systems and industrial com- posting facilities. The rate and extent of Mirel's biodegradability depends on the size and shape of the articles made from it, officials said.
Gilliland declined to provide sales data for Mirel. He did say, however, that Metabolix “has a lot of sales activity going on” in the film and bag market, particularly in horticultural and agricultural uses.
“A lot of customers are taking advantage of the biodegradable characteristics of our material,” he added.