Bioplastics on the fast track at SPI Business of Plastics Conference

January 12, 2012

Three years ago, bioplastics was a focus at NPE – as an emerging technology. Now, bioplastics have arrived. At NPE2012, these materials are one of the main issues on the agenda of the SPI’s Business of Plastics Conference colocated at NPE2012.

The Business of Plastics Conference is the “preeminent educational program that focuses on the business issues impacting the industry”, and is this year comprised of 28 sessions divided into the following five tracks: advocacy, regulatory and safety issues, bioplastics, marketing, medical products, and sustainability.

Some nine sessions on bioplastics are scheduled during the first three days of this educational conference, dealing with subjects ranging from certifications and standards to disposal options and the Department of Agriculture’s biopreferred procurement progam. A panel discussion with representatives from the entire bioplastics value chain will offer the opportunity to hear firsthand about what is going on right now in the industry.

To warm up, one of the earliest bioplastics speakers at the conference, Edwin Tam, manager of new strategic initiatives at Teknor Apex Co. and chairman of the SPI Bioplastics Council, will, with his presentation ‘Bioplastics 101’, bring his audience up to speed on the basics of this industry, introducing them to such fundamentals as: What are bioplastics and how are they produced? What resin types exist? What are the key markets and what new applications are being developed?

Another speaker will be NatureWorks CEO Marc Verbruggen, who will talk about his company’s pioneering work over the past ten years to develop and commercialize biobased polymers, touching on aspects including the food versus fuel debate and, in the wake of the Danone discussion in Europe, the extended producer responsibilities around the end-of-life treatment with new-to-the-world materials.

Daniel Gilliland, of Mirel Biolplastics by Telles, will discuss the opportunities offered by biobased materials and take a look at several new bioplastic materials currently available on the market today. Kathy Lehrmann, of FKuR will discuss the end-of-life options currently available for bioplastics, an area fraught with misunderstanding. Various other speakers will address a number of certification and regulatory issues regarding these new materials.

All these sessions are part of SPI's Business of Plastics Conference, which means that separate registration and fees apply. Registration is open to any NPE participant.

For more information on the Business of Plastics conference, visit


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