Cargill is to introduce its Ingeo bioplastics to Brazil, offering the food, cosmetics and other industries a new packaging material derived from sugar instead of petroleum.
Since the formation of NatureWorks as a 50-50 joint venture between Cargill and Teijin, the plastics have been used by more than 100 brands in the US, Europe and Asia . On 1 July Cargill announced its acquisition of 100 per cent of the NatureWorks business, with the latter becoming an independent company within the wider Cargill fold.
Now the new parent company to become the exclusive distributor of the plastics in Brazil, selling the material through its starches and sweeteners business unit. Marcelo de Andrade, director of the unit, said there Argentina and Chile could be amongst other potential Latin American customers.
The bioplastics, made in Nebraska, USA, are to be imported through the port of Santos and will be stored at Cargill’s centre in San Paolo.
“The product’s sales have started locally,” Andrade said, and efforts are underway to “meet demand from customers looking for sustainable product or packaging solutions that are also extremely environmentally friendly”.
Andrade pointed out the benefits of the material: it is claimed to have the lowest carbon footprint of all commercially available plastics, with its production process generating 60 per cent less green house gases and requiring 50 per cent less fossil fuel than PET.
BASF promotes biodegradable bag project in Thailand
BASF is leading a pilot project to encourage consumers to use biodegradable bags for waste and compost in Thailand.
The pilot project, which will run from July to December in the Samut Songkhram Province, is aimed at encouraging consumers to use biodegradable bags to collect household organic waste and produce high-quality compost that will serve as organic fertilizer for the purpose of soil improvement.
BASF has joined Thailand’s National Innovation Agency (NIA), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ or German Technical Cooperation) and the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA).
“Biodegradable plastics present an important contribution to efficient biowaste management. Additionally, as a secondary raw material post-composting, it can also be used to provide an economical and ecologically viable utilization possibility — fertilizer in this case,” said NIA director Supachai Lorlowhakarn.
For the production of the biodegradable bags, TBIA will compound starch with BASF’s Ecoflex resin, a biodegradable, compostable polyester.
“Thailand has an abundant supply of renewable resources, such as tapioca for the production of starch. As such, starch will be an important raw material for the bioplastic industry development in Thailand. The pilot project is another step to build up the domestic market and elaborate on the application of bioplastics for the entire life cycle,” said TBIA chairman Somsak Borrisutthanakul.
India: Government disfavours use of paper bags, says use biodegradable
The government today disfavoured use of paper bags as an alternative to plastic as this would lead to cutting of trees and proposed use of bio-degradable material.
"Plastic itself is a chemically inert substance, used world-wide for packaging and is not per-se hazardous to health and environment. Recycling of plastic, if carried out as per approved procedures and guidelines, may not be an environmental or health hazard," Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh said in Lok Sabha.
Responding to supplementaries, he said it was the failure of civic bodies to collect wastes and of solid waste management system that various states including Delhi are resorting to banning use of plastic bags.
The government, he said, has notified Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999 (amended in 2003) to regulate the use and manufacture of plastics carry bags, containers and recycling of plastics wastes.
"We are moving towards thicker and bio-degradable bags. Bio-degradable is at a nascent stage... Some establishments have started using it," Ramesh said.
On the recycling of plastics, the minister said it will be undertaken in accordance with specifications of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). He said jute bag was another alternative as it was eco-friendly.