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.”