Head of communications Kristy-Barbara Langesaid: "Currently, the big trend is towards bio-based, non-biodegradable standard polymers." This preference for plant-derived plastics with the same structure and performance as standard polyolefins contrasts with what was, up until very recently, a widespread focus on biodegradability and compostability.
Early headlines were grabbed by Coca-Cola, using polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from bio-ethanol for its Plantbottle, and Brazilian petrochemicals company Braskem, creating standard polymers from sugar cane waste. But the most recent interest has come from the dairy sector specifically Danone.
"First, there were the Actimel pots for the French market, using bio-polyethylene (PE), and now the company has launched Activia in Germany in biodegradable polylactide (PLA) pots," said Lange.
Heinz and PepsiCo in the US are said to be following in Coca-Cola's footsteps with the use of biobased PET. To date, bio-PET and bio-PE have been developed and utilised in packaging, and producers are currently developing bio-polypropylene, says European Bioplastics.
A further objective remains the 100% plant-derived plastics package.
The association will be presenting new data on the bioplastics market and serving sustainably packaged yogurts at Interpack this month (May 1218), Düsseldorf, Germany.