While materials like polylactic acid currently get most of the attention, bioplastics experts believe that eventually the majority of bio-based resins will be conventional resins -- such as polyethylene and polypropylene -- made from renewable resources rather than from petroleum.
“The next generation of bio-plastic resins is already coming,” said Jim Lunt of Jim Lunt & Associates LLC in Wayzata, Minn. “There is increasing interest and development in making both existing and new monomers from renewable resources. We are transitioning from oil-based to renewable feedstocks.”
After Frito Lay's and Coca-Cola's move to use bioplastic, this news from Procter & Gamble (P&G) is another big boost to the bioplastic industry.
P&G said today that it will use sugarcane-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic made by Braskem into some of its packaging on its Pantene Pro-V, Covergirl and Max Factor brands. Pilot products will be rolled out globally over the next two years with first commercial products expected on the shelf in 2011.
Some ten years ago the packaging industry started to attract consumer’s attention for biodegradable plastics, and, although still in its infancy, biodegradable plastics continue to enjoy a growing interest with the public at large.
Compostability is not synonymous with biodegradability, a distinction that regulations make clear. But who knows?
While the industry is greenwashing its image in regard to the consumer, the same consumer is left with the fictional idea that he is helping to save the environment by buying products in so-called biodegradable, compostable, packages.
And in the meantime? Why use and promote biodegradable and compostable packaging material when it all ends up in landfills or incinerators. Increasing usage of biodegradable films is in conflict with ‘separation-at-source’ initiatives. Consumers are confused when it comes to separating biodegradable, compostable and recyclable plastics.