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Trellis stakes out intellectual property around biobased plastic packaging

New patents for a food safe, waterproof, injection moldable and thermoformable blend of bioplastics with approximately 70% biomass and one for a new bioplastic blend that uses agricultural industry byproducts, including wheat chaff and soybean hulls as feedstock, have been filed by Trellis Earth Products Inc. (Wilsonville, OR).

(Wilsonville, OR). Trellis, which manufactures branded biodegradable food packaging and plastic bags made with renewable resources, said the first patent would cover an improved method of bioplastics formulation and technology for its starch/hybrid blend, while the second would utilize agricultural industry byproducts for a 100% petroleum-free plastics.

In the first patent, Trellis says the new technology represents a modification to its existing product Trellis Classic Blend, which has been adapted to new, high performance processing equipment for its U.S. manufacturing plant in Wilsonville. Advantages reportedly include additional strength, higher biomass, lower cost, and greater formability, among others.

Trellis said the second patent deals with a material that is water proof and food-contact safe, and entirely petroleum, saying the resulting bioplastic is "within the realm of polystyrene manufacturing." Target applications for the new blend include thermoformed trays and plates for compostable food service, as well as conventional packaging applications. Both patent applications were filed on July 8, 2011. On May 2, the company moved from Portland, OR, where it was founded in 2006, to Wilsonville, where it now occupies a new 33,000-sq-ft facility.

Trellis manufactures and distributes its branded bioplastic food packaging and plastic bags to retailers, food-service vendors and corporations throughout the U.S. Current products include bags, cutlery, clamshells, cups, plates and trays. Trellis also has products that utilize injection molding and blown-film  extrusion.

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