The manufacturing upgrades increase NatureWorks’s responsiveness to rapidly evolving market dynamics and high demand for Ingeo™️ (PLA) biomaterials.

MINNETONKA, Minn., September 22, 2020 – NatureWorks, the world’s leading manufacturer of low-carbon PLA biomaterials, today announced a slate of manufacturing technology projects, including lactide monomer purification efficiency, that will increase the availability of the full Ingeo™️ (PLA) biomaterials portfolio by 10 percent. Installation is currently underway at NatureWorks’s facility in Blair, Nebraska, the world’s first and largest commercial-scale PLA manufacturing plant. The projects will be completed by the end of 2021.

The expanded availability will support growth in markets that demand sustainable, low-carbon materials and require the high-performance attributes that Ingeo is uniquely suited to deliver. These markets include 3D printing and nonwoven hygiene masks as well as compostable coffee capsules, teabags, and coated-paper food serviceware.

“The market continues to rapidly evolve due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the undiminished demand for sustainable, bio-based alternatives to petrochemical-based plastics,” said Rich Altice, President & CEO of NatureWorks. “For NatureWorks to satisfy this unprecedented demand, this purification technology is one of many additional capital improvements we are actively working on at our facility in Blair. At the same time, we continue to pursue a potential future second manufacturing site outside the U.S. to serve our growing international markets.”

Ingeo polylactic acid is made in a multi-step process that begins with using annually renewable plants to turn greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into long-chain sugar molecules. Dextrose derived from the plant sugar molecules, is fermented into lactic acid that then undergoes a proprietary two-step process to transform it into lactide, the monomer for Ingeo polylactic acid polymer.

Commitment to Sustainable Agriculture

The additional annually renewable feedstock sourced to supply the new manufacturing projects will become certified by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification System (ISCC) to the ISCC PLUS standard of best practices in agricultural production by 2025.

As part of NatureWorks’s participation in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and commitment to sustainable agriculture, they announced a new initiative in 2019 to ensure that by 2020 100 percent of the agricultural feedstock used for Ingeo made at their Blair, Nebraska production site will be certified as environmentally and socially sustainable by the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification System (ISCC). By 2025, NatureWorks also committed that 100 percent of new feedstocks for additional manufacturing capacity will be certified as sustainably and responsibly managed via an independent third-party administered program.

NatureWorks was the first biopolymer manufacturer to become certified to the new ISCC PLUS standard in 2012, and currently has more than 60 percent of its agricultural feedstock certified.

For more information about NatureWorks and Ingeo, visit www.natureworksllc.com. Follow NatureWorks on Twitter (@natureworks) for the latest updates.

About NatureWorks

NatureWorks is an advanced materials company offering a broad portfolio of renewably sourced polymers and chemicals. With performance and economics that compete with oil-based materials, naturally advanced Ingeo™ biomaterials are valued for their unique functional properties and used in products from coffee capsules and appliances to tea bags and 3D printing filament. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest ASEAN leading integrated petrochemical and refining company, PTT Global Chemical, and Cargill, which provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. For more information visit natureworksllc.com or follow NatureWorks on Twitter at @natureworks.

On 10th September, Packaging Europe, the leading intelligence resource for European packaging professionals, presented the webinar: What’s the role of bioplastics in a sustainable packaging future?

Tim Sykes, Brand Director at Packaging Europe, moderated a panel of three experts comprising Hasso Von Pogrell, Managing Director at EUBP, Gary Tee, UK Sales Director at TIPA, and Andy Sweetman, Sales & Marketing Manager at Futamura.

The panelists discussed the environmental implications of bioplastics, along with opportunities and roadblocks around further adoptions of bioplastic packaging applications, and answered some questions from the audience.

On 9th September 2020, the South Australian Parliament enacted the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Bill 2020 which aims to restrict and prohibit the manufacture, production, distribution, sale and supply of certain single-use and other plastic products in South Australia.

The Act, which is likely to come into force in early 2021, applies to a number of single-use plastic products, including: drinking straw, cutlery, beverage stirrer, as well as expanded polystyrene cup, bowl, plate, and clamshell container.

As outlined in part 3 of the document, the Bill extends to oxo-degradable plastic products which can no longer be produced, distributed, sold and supplied throughout the State.

The ABA welcomes the Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Bill 2020 and hopes that similar legislations will be enacted by other States and Territories in Australia.

Copy of the Bill is available here.