Metabolix Is Back-with Lots of CompanyJuly 29, 2008 10:22 am Bioplastics
At NPE2006, bioplastics was still seen by many as “that newfangled stuff.” The by now well-known photo appearing at the Metabolix, Inc. booth, showing microbes turning sugar into polymer, seemed a far cry from what most of us had in mind when we pictured resin manufacturing. But Metabolix will be back at NPE2009, this time with a real resin plant to talk about. And there will be a goodly number of other exhibitors offering technologies related to bioplastics.
How “hot: is bioplastics? I’m one of those in the industry who groan every time someone repeats the old line from The Graduate (alright, here’s the video clip), but I got a kick out of the headline of a recent major feature on Metabolix in Business Week: “I Have Just One Word for You: BIOPLASTICS.”
Don’t look for Metabolix in the NPE2009 exhibitor list—instead look for Mirel, the family of bioplastics to be offered by Telles, a joint venture of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Co. I asked Telles VP Bob Findlen about their program for NPE2009:
What are the chief benefits that Telles expects from exhibiting at NPE2009?
We are building the industry’s recognition of the Mirel family of bioplastics. There’s a worldwide adaptation happening in the marketplace. Bioplastics are quickly becoming the best value in today’s market to promote sustainability, use alternative non-petroleum feedstocks, address the global warming issue and offer a material that will biodegrade in all environments. By bringing an environmentally responsible bioplastics solution to the market that is truly biodegradable and compostable in both municipal systems and natural environments like home backyard compost systems and marine environments, we can directly address our customers’ demands to reduce their carbon footprint
How has bioplastics progressed since Metabolix exhibited at NPE 2006?
Interest in bioplastics has exploded, even in the relatively short time since 2006. We’ve absolutely seen an increased desire, from brand owners, converters and consumers, to find sustainable alternatives to traditional materials.
Do you plan to introduce any new technology or new products at NPE2009?
Our first commercial facility in Clinton, IA, is scheduled to be up and running in Q2 of 2009, just in time for NPE2009. This show will be one of the first events we’ll be attending while having the initial commercial quantities of Mirel available.
How biodegradable is Mirel? Well, the photo shows a sheet made of the material—before and after!