vendredi 28 décembre 2012

Bioplastic in 2013: Trends to watch

In the past, words like "affordable", "recyclable", "durable", "reliable" or "good processability" did not leap to mind when talking about bioplastics. But all that's changing - and changing fast. And as bioplastics continue to reinvent themselves, they are starting to make their mark on the plastics market and industry.

So, what are the major developments to keep an eye on in 2013?


One of the most important developments from the past few years has been the emergence of what are known as drop-ins, or materials produced from monomer building blocks from biomass feedstocks, that can directly replace conventional petroleum-based plastics. The carbon content of plastics produced on the basis of these biomonomers comes from renewable sources, such as plants or biowaste.

Drop-ins offer a rapid route to market through existing infrastructure and knowhow. Also, new routes are increasingly opening up, bringing the economic production of biomonomers that have the advantage of fitting easily into existing production chains, increasingly within reach.

Potentially all grades of polyethylene, polypropylene and polyvinyl chloride can currently be made via biobased routes, as can various polyamides and polyesters. In fact, a market study from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover showed that biobased commodity plastics, with a total of around 1 million tonnes, would make up the majority of production capacity in 2015.

The race to develop 100% bio-PET, for example, accelerated this year with Coca-Cola's push to produce a 100% bio-bottle. 100% bio-based PET was successfully produced on lab scale this year; more breakthroughs in this area are expected in the year to come. In fact, according to a European Bioplastics forecast, the next few years are likely to see the largest growth in the production of biobased polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate. The production capacity for biobased PET will continue to grow through 2016, reaching just over 4.5 million tons, or four-fifths of total bioplastic production capacity.

And, as the technology matures, the affordability of these drop-in materials, for which users must currently still pay a premium, will steadily improve.


The feedstocks used today to produce bioplastics are mainly starch or sugar derived from corn, potato, sugarcane and beetroot; in other words, from food crops. The use of arable land and edible crops to produce plastics is increasingly perceived as an undesirable development that could increase food prices and contribute to food shortages.

The coming years will see a shift from these so-called first generation feedstocks to second-generation feedstocks such as cellulosics. Cellulosic feedstocks, which consist of crop residues, wood residues, yard waste, municipal solid waste, algae or other biomass, sidestep the conflicts in land use.

They can be converted to sugars via various technologies, including enzymatic hydrolysis and biomass pretreatment. Already, cellulosic feedstocks are being used to produce, among other materials, cellulose acetates and lignin-based polymers. However, for cellulosic feedstocks to really come into their own, more, and more, sophisticated biorefineries are needed that can perform the process steps needed to produce various bioproducts. Once these are in place, a stream of non-food crop based fermentable sugars will become available for energy, chemicals and polymers.

End of life

A direct consequence of the development of biobased drop-ins is that non-biodegradable biopolymers will show the largest growth in the coming years. Whereas biodegradability and/or compostability used to be the characteristic property of bioplastics, more and more biopolymers are now being developed that instead are built to last. As a result, new or better end-of-life solutions will have to be put in place.

More landfills are not an option. An issue that needs to be addressed is that of disposing of the biopolymers being developed from new biobased monomers and polymers, such as furanic polyesters or high-heat resistant PLA. Separate collection and recycling systems are needed to ensure these do not contaminate existing waste streams. More research is needed into the possibilities for chemical and mechanical recycling of these materials. These are all issues that are on the agenda for the coming years.

Additives, modifiers, blends

Another area that will continue to develop strongly is that of biobased additives and modifiers. These are not only relevant for engineering durable biopolymers with enhanced performance properties, but also for developing less hazardous alternatives to conventional modifiers.

Concerns about the safety of the phthalates used as plasticizers in PVC and Bisphenol-A in polycarbonate, among other things, have and will continue to drive the search for more health and environmentally friendly solutions. Increasingly, biobased formulations are also being used to modify conventional materials, as these have been found to enhance the performance of these materials in various ways while at the same time improving their carbon footprint.

Metabolix, for example has developed a series of PHA-based polymeric modifiers that demonstrate very good miscibility with PVC, and improve its mechanical and environmental performance characteristics. Mitsubishi Chemical produces a polycarbonate in which the Bisphenol-A is has been replaced by isosorbide, a biomonomer that can be safely used in food applications. Isosorbide-based copolyesters are extremely promising materials that offer enhanced performance properties. PLA, blended with PMMA, enhances the processability and other properties far beyond those of conventional acrylic resins.

These are developments that may be expected to open up hitherto unimagined possibilities for biopolymers in the future.


A striking finding of a report released in October this year by European Bioplastics was that increasingly, new bioplastic production facilities are being built in Asia and South America. In fact, in 2016, Asia is predicted to be home to 46.3% of the global bioplastic production capacity. South America is projected to have nearly as much capacity in place, with just over 45%. A main driver is feedstock availability. Specifically, Thailand has expressed the ambition to become bioplastics production hub of Southern Asia, and is taking concrete steps in the form of investments and joint ventures to realize this, while in Brazil, Braskem, already the world's leading producer of bio-PE, has targeted 2013 as the year to bring its bio PP facility on stream.

Europe and North America excel at research and development, but are lagging in the production department. Andy Sweetman, chairman of European Bioplastics, pointedly remarked at the Bioplastics Conference in November of 2012 that it is time for decisions to be made if Europe wishes to profit from the growth in the bioplastics industry - a comment that also applies equally well to North America.

It's something to keep in mind for 2013.

mardi 25 décembre 2012

Le Bilan 2012 : Médias Sociaux, Emballage Fonctionnel-Pratique-Actif-Intelligent et Écoresponsable

2013 est à nos portes, c’est l’heure du bilan!

Mes nouveaux engagements (Directeur Technique et développement des affaires Chez Cascades-emballage industriel) et mes nombreux déplacements m’ont laissé moins de temps pour bloguer. Je dois aussi partager ce temps consacré au web 2.0 avec les nouveaux médias sociaux, Twitter (ici), le Groupe que j’ai créé sur LinkedIn: PAPER-BASED PACKAGING et le nouvel arrivant Pinterest (ici). En 2013 Pakbec fêtera son 5ème anniversaire.

Je vous présente mes meilleurs vœux pour 2013. Que cette nouvelle année soit emballante, active, innovante et éco-responsable!

Conférences et présentations 

L’année 2012 fût riche en conférences et présentations. Voici un condensé de mes diverses communications:

1)    Paper-based Packaging: Functional and Sustainable Coating. You can download here this talk given at The 2012 TAPPI PLACE Conference, May 6-9, 2012, Seattle Washington, USA.

2)  Papier Recyclé et Sécurité Alimentaire: Migration des huiles minérales. Cliquez ici pour télécharger cette conférence que j’ai donnée dans le cadre du séminaire sur la Migration des substances d’emballage dans les aliments organisé par l’Association de l’emballage (PAC) (Montréal, 1 mai 2012).

3)      Peut-on survivre sans emballage? Cliquez ici pour télécharger cette conférence que j’ai donnée dans le cadre des 48 heures de la communication pour le développement durable (Eastman, 16 et 17 février 2012). Marie-Eve Cloutier de Gaia Presse a très bien résumé cette conférence. Vous pouvez consulter ici l’article intitulé : « Survivre Sans Emballage! », NON. Lutter Contre le Suremballage, OUI

Par ailleurs, toutes mes présentations sont disponibles sur SlideShare.

Articles de vulgarisation

J’ai été invité à rédiger quelques articles de vulgarisation avec une chronique régulière dans le magazine ActualitéAlimentaire.

1. Emballages alimentaires : protéger le consommateur ou l’aliment? (ici) Actualité Alimentaire - Mars 2012.


2. Comment exploiter les médias sociaux au sein d'une stratégie marketing? (ici) Actualité Alimentaire - Mai 2012

3. Gaspillage alimentaire : L’emballage à la rescousse ! (iciActualité Alimentaire - Juillet 2012


4. Les nanotechnologies dans les emballages alimentaires: menace ou révolution? (ici) Actualité Alimentaire Septembre - 2012


5.     Sécurité alimentaire : Les emballages actifs et intelligents à la rescousse!!! (ici) Alimentaire Novembre - 2012

Je contribue également au blogue Vert de Nature de Cascades :

      1. Emballage alimentaire, santé et développement durable : l’histoire d’un paradoxe (Cliquez ici)
      2. Fibres recyclées : comment concilier écologie et sécurité alimentaire? (Cliquez ici)

Et finalement, j’ai publié un article dans le “ Converting Quarterly” intitulé: Five sustainability trends that will shape packaging in2012

J’ai eu le plaisir d’encadrer,  Richard Lapointe, étudiant à l’Université de Sherbrooke durant son mémoire. Il s’agit d’une excellente revue de littérature sur les bioplastiques : terminologie, diagnostic clair et exhaustif sur la situation actuelle ainsi qu’une bonne critique des ACV et de la vraie valeur ajoutée des bioplastiques dans les emballages. L’essai est disponible sur le site du centre universitaire de formation en environnement (CUFE) de l'université Sherbrooke. Vous pouvez télécharger l'intégrale de l'essai ici

Enfin cette année j’ai eu la chance de vivre une expérience très enrichissante en ayant l’honneur de siéger au sein du jury Les prix GAIA: Le meilleur en emballage et mise en marché en alimentation.

dimanche 16 décembre 2012

Landor’s 2013 trends forecast: Future of packaging

1)      Single-servings and on-the-go packaging

20 percent of meals in the United States are eaten in the car, so packaging structures are going to need to take advantage of that and be mobile, easy to handle in the car, and in portions for being on the go.
There's also been a huge explosion of snack bars, which are the ultimate portable food that you just throw in your pocket or your handbag.

There are also a lot more single and smaller households in the United States. Twenty-seven percent of households in this country are single-person households and packaging must address single-serving as well as easy-to-prepare meals for a person living alone.

2)      Sensory packaging

The second trend is about engaging consumers with your packaging in-store. With the advent of digital and online purchasing, I think people are just used to getting things in the mail, and the package is a secondary consideration. But when people are actually shopping in the store I think they want something that is more interesting and engaging.

Another sensory trend is tactility. There are a lot of printers doing new techniques with raised varnishes and sparkle varnishes and different elements that can provide a tactile experience when you interact with the package.

3)      Unique packaging and personalization

Another trend we’re seeing is a new level of originality and personalization. Absolut vodka actually just did the first package where they had to completely retool their production line so they could make every bottle absolutely unique. The line was called Absolut Unique, and every bottle is completely different—a different abstract painting on every bottle.

We're also seeing in packaging the ability to personalize your experience with the product.

4)      Sustainable packaging

The next continuing trend is green packaging. I think consumers are expecting green packaging more and more from the products that they’re buying, and they want to know about recycling and recycled quantity in the package.

We talked about stand-up, resealable pouches—the Tide Pod, for example. Capri Sun is now in a stand-up pouch. These are just more ecologically sound from a shipping standpoint. When they’re shipping the empty packages they take up a lot less space. Additionally, most of them are recyclable. I think consumers are responding to that; more and more products are in those packages.

5)      Bioresins

The next trend is bioresins. Nature Fusion from Pantene is using 30 percent bioresin in their bottles. The bioresin war was started between Coke and Pepsi. Coke was first out with plant bottles, but Pepsi was the first to come out with a 100 percent bioresin bottle. They are looking to get to a bioresin that is made more with waste materials from food processing so there won't be any farming or agricultural implications of growing the material to make the bottles. Additionally, I have heard that they're trying to make bottles out of chicken feathers!

mercredi 12 décembre 2012

Les priorités de l’industrie du packaging en 2012 et en 2022

Le Blogue de l’identification de produit a publié une série de quatre billets  présentant les faits saillants d’une étude réalisée par Packaging World, en collaboration avec DuPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers.  Il s’agit d’une synthèse des résultats d’un sondage auprès des professionnels de l’industrie du conditionnement et de l’emballage, ainsi que des industries connexes, pour connaître les tendances actuelles ainsi que celles qui prédomineraient dans 10 ans.

dimanche 2 décembre 2012

Plastiroll launches bio-film to extend life of fresh food products

Biodegradable films producer Plastiroll has unveiled a new bio-film which it claims will extend the life of fresh food products such as fruits and vegetables

Following two years of research and development work, the Finnish based firm said its transparent packaging film was made from combination of corn starch based materials which results in a film which forms a breathable membrane that is biodegradable and “GMO-free with good strength properties”.

“Our new bio-film is an ecological alternative to conventional plastic films with the same physical properties. There is a demand for packaging materials with good green credentials as long as they perform as well as or better than conventional films,” said Jani Avellan, product development manager at Plastiroll.  He added: “For our customers this is a solution that offers significant cost savings through longer shelf life, less waste and lower disposal costs.”

The firm said that its new film can be easily disposed of along with the food waste. The packaging film is sealable and can be used on its own or as part of a carton box or tray.

Depending on customer requirements it can be supplied in different thickness and roll width for use in most types of packaging machinery.

In a statement, the firm said: “The performance has been rigorously tested with customers in Europe who have reported significantly increased self-life extensions of fresh produce.

“This is because the packaging film helps create an optimum balance between humidity control and oxygen and carbon dioxide permeability which, in turn, contributes to slowing product degradation. Also, due to the fact that sealing temperature of bio-films is lower than of conventional plastic films, less energy and lower temperatures are needed during the bio-film packaging process.”

jeudi 29 novembre 2012

How2Recycle Label: Making recycling make sense

Variation in recycling programs, unclear labeling, and inaccurate recyclability claims make proper recycling a challenge. The How2Recycle Label was created to provide consistent and transparent on-package recycling information to consumers. Currently the label only applies to packaging sold in the U.S.

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), a project of sustainability nonprofit GreenBlue, is pleased to announce additional participants in the soft launch of its pioneering How2Recycle on-package recycling labeling system.

Major brand names, including Best Buy, Clorox and Minute Maid, will be joining 10 other leading companies already participating in the soft launch, including Costco Wholesale, General Mills, Seventh Generation, and REI, in implementing the label on select packaging available nationwide in early 2013. Additionally, the SPC has announced its five-year plan for the labeling system.

How2Recycle was developed to reduce consumer confusion around recycling in the United States with a clear and consistent recycling label and corresponding informational website, It provides companies with an easy way to conform to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) "Green Guides" while using nationwide recyclability data. While several other recycling labels and symbols exist, the How2Recycle Label is the only one that communicates recyclability across all material types and gives explicit directions to consumers to influence their recycling behavior. It also specifies when a package component is not recyclable.

dimanche 25 novembre 2012

Packaging gotchas: Mad at hard-to-open, shrinking, undersized, or overwrapped products?

You’d think that companies would get it right. They spend $130 billion a year on boxes, bags, and blister packs. You spend on packaging, too. According to Joe Angel, vice president and publisher of the trade publication Packaging World, packaging accounts for roughly 7 percent of a product’s overall cost, and some of that gets passed along to consumers.

Yet illogical, misleading, and over-the-top packaging continues to annoy consumers, and we have the letters, e-mail, and photos to prove it. The annoyances come in four basic types. 
  1. Oysters, our term for hard-to-open products. Often, they’re gadgets imprisoned in clear, tight-fitting plastic. That displays merchandise from all angles and discourages theft. But it also foils honest folks, who have tried razor blades, scissors, box cutters, and saws to free the contents they’ve bought. Other oysters: cereals in stiff bags that split and spew their contents when you pry them open and pills in blister packs that give you a headache even as you’re trying to treat your ulcer.
  2. Black holes, or products surrounded by lots of air. Federal law is supposed to prevent excessive “slack fill,” nonfunctional or empty space. But there are loopholes in the law if, for instance, the space limits breakage or discourages theft, or if the package does double-duty as a dispenser. One company we were about to criticize actually changed its packaging after buyers complained. Archway modified the tray design for its Original Windmill Cookies “to accommodate a more tightly packaged product,” a spokesman told us.
  3. Downsized products, shrunken by companies unwilling just to raise the price. Downsizing can occur in sneaky ways, as when Huggies reduced the number of Pull­Ups diapers from 72 to 70 but kept the words “New Larger” on the label. Companies usually blame downsizing on higher costs of ingredients, labor, and energy.
  4. Golden cocoons, tiny doodads shipped in giant cartons, sometimes with enough paper, bubble wrap, or airbags (called “void fill” in the packaging industry) to cradle a priceless vase. At least some companies are aware of the problem. (Read “Frustration-Free Packaging May Be Baffling,” below.)

Here you'll find a showcase of our latest examples of packaging faux pas, submitted by Consumer Reports readers and Facebook fans. For each product, we asked a company rep to explain the packaging decision. Usually we received an answer, though not always to the question we asked.


samedi 24 novembre 2012

Innovative and Active Fresh Paper: Extending the Shelf Life of Your Produce

Fenugreen, a company in Massachusetts, has invented FreshPaper, an innovative and active sheet of paper made from organic material that inhibits the growth of bacteria, fungi and the like, making the food last longer.

The company, compares it to the “dryer sheet” for produce, and there certainly are similarities in appearance and simplicity. The five-inch square paper is free of chemicals and made from edible organic extracts (Impregnated with organic spices) that can be placed under the produce where it’s stored. A single sheet helps keep produce fresh for 2-4 times longer than normal. It’s biodegradable and can be composted or recycled.

As long as the sheet emits a maple-like odor that means it’s active. After about two or three weeks, the smell will fade and the sheet should be replaced.

They have been launched in Whole Food Markets in the US at a pack of 8 sheets for $4.99.

dimanche 18 novembre 2012

Bioplastiques Biodégradables, Compostables et Biosourcés : Distinctions Subtiles mais Significatives

Je partage avec vous l’essai de Richard Lapointe, que j’ai eu le plaisir d’encadrer durant son mémoire et qui vient de graduer de l’Université de Sherbrooke.

Il s’agit d’une excellente revue de littérature sur les bioplastiques : terminologie, diagnostic clair et exhaustif sur la situation actuelle ainsi qu’une bonne critique des ACV et de la vraie valeur ajoutée des bioplastiques dans les emballages.

La terminologie utilisée dans le domaine des bioplastiques est complexe et mène à la confusion et à une mauvaise perception des consommateurs. Des propriétés souvent plus faibles, des coûts plus élevés, des solutions de traitement en fin de vie qui ne sont pas adaptées et une mauvaise image au niveau des pratiques agricoles sont les autres problématiques qui limitent l’essor des bioplastiques pour les emballages alimentaires. Les études de marché indiquent cependant une croissance soutenue de ces matériaux pour les prochaines années. Leurs fabricants tenteront d’exploiter leurs atouts, dont la possibilité de les composter et leur moins grande dépendance au pétrole.

L’essai est disponible sur le site du Centre universitaire de formation en environnement (CUFE) de l’Université de Sherbrooke. Vous pouvez télécharger l’intégrale de l’essai ici.

Bonne lecture.

mercredi 14 novembre 2012

5 Creative Packaging Ideas to Delight Your Customers

Small companies may lack the marketing dollars and visibility of larger brands, but they can still stand out on the shelf by thinking outside the box—literally. Here are five packaging design tips to help you get the attention of customers and even delight them.

1.     Go for a handmade look. Customers are drawn to packaging that feels personalized—it's almost as if they're holding a handmade object.

2.     Take a sustainable approach. Consumers want to feel good about their purchases. Using sustainable material, such as organic, fair-trade or recyclable paper, will send an environmentally positive message about your brand.

3.     Use surprising materials and shapes.  A distinctively shaped package or one made of nontraditional materials can signal to consumers that your product is different from the competition.

4.     Add in functionality. Customers like packaging that's functional because of its added value

5.     Let your package tell your product's story. Some companies think of creative, playful ways to give customers a clue to what's inside the package.

mardi 6 novembre 2012

US commission warns on compostable claims

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a revised version of its ‘Green Guide’, which warns against misleading claims regarding compostable plastics. 

The FTC had two concerns – the first related to the limited availability in the US of industrial composting facilities where plastics are accepted; the second related to the performance of compostable plastics in home and industrial composting.

The commission therefore warned that “to avoid deception about the limited availability of municipal or institutional composting facilities a marketer should clearly and prominently qualify compostable claims if such facilities are not available to a substantial majority of consumers or communities where the item is sold”.

Given that most compostable plastics cannot be handled by home-composting the guide indicates that firms should clearly and prominently qualify compostable claims to avoid deception if the item cannot be composted safely in a home compost device.

The FTC also warned against making potentially misleading claims about a material’s “renewable” credentials and said that any “compostable” claim must be substantiated by reliable scientific evidence that the entire item would break down in a safe and timely manner in an appropriate composting facility or a home composting pile.