After a two-day symposium on Advanced Bioplastics held in Nuremberg, Germany last month it became clear that biodegradable plasticshave finally left the research stage.
Supermarkets in Great Britain, Franceand Italy are now using bioplastics for organic food packaging and as shoppingbags.
David Holbourne from Organic Farmfood, a supplier of bioplastics to supermarketslike Tesco and Sainsbury's, reported on the progress made there. He cited that the reasonsfor the growth are the keen interest of consumers in the materials and also theenvironmental awareness of the respective companies.
To date, most of the plastic innovations have been obtained largely from renewable raw materialssuch as corn, potatoes or cellulose and can be composted without harmfulresidues.
The organic food manufacturer Rapunzel has been using degradable plasticshopping bags made of corn starch since October 2001. Around 15,000 bagsprinted with a large coloured Rapunzel design are sold per month.
Over 100 participants from many European countries attended the symposium onthe premises of NürnbergMesse. It was organised by the International Biodegradable Polymers Association & Working Groups (IBAW),which is also planning a similar conference for next year.