The biopolymer line said to be derived from 100 per cent annually renewable resources used in cosmetic products like lipstick and compacts has succeeded in meeting ISSC and IATP criteria – such as no artificial irrigation in drought-prone areas, strict requirements for pesticide use and no genetically modified plants.
"Addressing concerns over feedstock sustainability is important for the future because renewably sourced materials will be the only alternative to fossil-based materials for plastics production,” says NatureWorks president Marc Verbruggen.
While fossil-based energy for transportation and electricity can be replaced with renewable energy produced directly from solar or hydroelectric power sources, Verbruggen says that this is not possible for bioplastic materials production. “Therefore, assuring sustainable land use is a fundamental requirement for this new technology.”
ISCC Plus – a new certification
Acknowledged by the European Commission, ISCC Plus is a new system for applications like bioplastics "which ensures that biomass is produced according to ecological, economic, and social sustainability criteria and that it is traceable along the entire value-added chain."
According to NatureWorks, independent auditors working in cooperation with ISCC provided a thorough assessment of the Ingeo product line before the certificate was issued.
Last year, the company secured a $150m (€121) investment from Thailand-based chemicals giant PTT Chemical to help it expand its footprint in the market for plastics and films used in personal care packaging.
Then, Marc Verbruggen said; “this is a significant step which will allow NatureWorks to continue its aggressive growth while expanding its capacity to meet global demand for bio-based products.”
“PTT Chemical’s investment demonstrates a significant milestone in moving Ingeo bio-based plastics and fibres to the polymer mainstream,” he added.
Bioplastics set to boom
According to the European Bioplastics Association, the market for bioplastics is set to grow rapidly to double in size by 2015.
According to its figures, the market produced around 700,000 tonnes of bioplastics in 2011 and is set to explode in the run up to 2015, in line with manufacturers demands for more sustainable plastics.