On the eve of the NatureWorks Ingeo ‘Innovation Takes Root’ conference which is taking place in Orlando, Florida, from February 21-22, a special one-day workshop will address the question of how rapidly biomass products are likely to be used to make bioplastics.
Three main questions will be addressed at the workshop on February 20th, being organised by Jim Lunt and Associates:
- How justified is the concern over food-based renewable feedstocks for bioplastics?
- When can such a transition to waste biomass feedstocks and derived products realistically occur, which feedstocks are already being considered;and what are the challenges?
- Who are the emerging leaders in converting either waste product from the food chain or other non-edible products to bioplastics?
Plastics and their building blocks, derived primarily from renewable resources, are advancing and consolidating their position as viable alternatives for both single-use disposable and durable, recyclable products.
However, as consumer awareness and demand to displace oil-based plastics increases, a new dynamic is emerging. Brand owners and consumers concerned about the impact on food prices and availability.
Presently, the major feedstocks are sugar based, derived primarily from edible plants such as corn, sugar beet etc. Although companies are already beginning the transition to purpose grown industrial crops such as sugar cane, sorghum or cassava, biomass remains the ultimate goal.
A full session on nonwovens will also be held at the conference on February 21, moderated by David Jackson of Kimberly-Clark, and with speakers from INDA, Trevira, Schlumberger, the Saxon Textile Research Institute and NatureWorks itself.