For the ‘New Black,’ Think Biodegradable

There’s a reason bioplastic companies tout this specific quality
| March 18, 2011

Last year the Italian-based bioplastics producer Novamont spent $115 million in research and development, allotting 30 percent of the company’s 200-plus employees to the task of refining existing products and finding new ones. Earlier this year, the company announced its intentions to create a larger presence in the U.S., and now its plan involves an expansion into Connecticut. The products, specifically the Mater-Bi plastic made from organic feedstocks and used in everything from packaging bags to children’s toys, may be unique and, as the company explains, “offer a range of products that goes from the field to the table.” Products made from the Mater-Bi bioplastic are also biodegradable in soil, water and composting systems, a label that may not sound as intriguing as the term’s more popular cousin: sustainability. While most corporations are touting their sustainability goals or efforts to reduce environmental footprints, Novamont points out why a biodegradable label may soon be a more popular term.

According to Novamont, 3.6 million tons of traditional plastic are used in agriculture globally. Mulch film used in agriculture (in the traditional plastic form), which has to be removed and disposed of, accounts for 40 percent of that use. That’s a lot of Mater-Bi. 

—Luke Geiver