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Global bioplastics production capacity will more than double till 2015 - European Bioplastics

July 01/2011

(Plastics Today) -- As has been widely reported, Danone has switched from polystyrene to polylactic acid, a plastic based on plant starch, for its Activia yogurt cups in Germany. The change was made for packs of 4x115g and 8x115g yogurt. According to a recent study funded by the trade association European Bioplastics, global bioplastics production capacity will more than double from 2010 to 2015, with capacity forecast to exceed 1 million tonnes this year.


PlasticsToday sat down with Steve Davies, marketing manager at NatureWorks, which supplies the PLA used in the Danone yogurt packaging, to talk about the yogurt project and also about his company"s ongoing developments. As Davies pointed out, this was not Danone"s first use of PLA in yogurt packaging. Stonyfield Farm last year switched from polystyrene to PLA; that dairy is owned 85% by Danone.


According to NatureWorks and Danone, the switch to PLA from polystyrene will improve the Activia packaging"s carbon footprint by 25% and use 43% less fossil resources compared to the previous packaging, based on a life cycle assessment (LCA) study conducted by the Heidelberg, Germany-based LCA Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU).


According to Davies, NatureWorks largest markets currently are foodservice wares, flexible films and non-wovens. The fastest growing end-use applications for the company"s Ingeo-brand of PLA are in durable goods and non-wovens. Only about 1% of the supplier"s output is sold for blowmolding of bottles.  


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