K2013 is over and looking back I can say that for Metabolix it was an effective show. We went there to promote new product lines and to increase overall customer awareness. Perhaps even more importantly we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to be available to meet face to face with current and interested prospective customers from around the world. Finally, the show while strongly European is a global show broadly covering the value chain and so a good opportunity to see which directions the industry innovation is heading.
Walking around the many booths to get a feel for this direction in bioplastics, there was noticeable activity by companies including sustainable “biobased” alternatives in their product lineup – raw materials, additives and polymers. There also seemed to be growing interest in supply of compostable bags into Asia, the Middle East, and South America, especially carry-out bag alternatives and for food waste collection. Our highlighted products at K 2103 fit well into both these directions.
Metabolix is known as biopolymer supplier – with 100% biobased products and very broadly biodegradable polymers, yet at the K we listed ourselves in the directory also under “PVC” to highlight our biobased polymeric modifiers for PVC. These new additive products are not like other bioplasticizers with the problems of incompatibility and migration out of the PVC. Instead, they are solid, high molecular weight elastomers that are fully miscible in PVC. They don’t migrate to the surface, and thereby they provide real permanence in toughening and softening.
Being listed under PVC was fortunate for Metabolix as in general not many companies were listed (perhaps reflecting indirectly the issues the industry is facing). Metabolix stood out nicely, offering solutions that improve permanence using I6001, and that enable increased recycling with I6003rp. Metabolix stood out further with Dr. Yelena Kann our Senior Product Scientist behind these new products receiving the award for “Best Technical Paper at Antec” during the K.
A common collateral theme seen across the show around biobased additive materials was that “performance” is what customers will pay for – not just to have biocontent. The Metabolix PVC modifiers can show comparable performance to existing leading modifiers with greater efficiency in use and much better processibility in PVC.
Equally strong was the receptivity at K 2013 for our new compostable film resin Mvera B5010. We were able to meet with many film companies from around the world interested in the bags we displayed that were provided by our customers in Italy and North America.
This strong international interest underscored the global trend toward using compostable bags for food waste diversion from landfills. Also strong was the interest in compostable shopping bags as a solution to foster bag recycling by repurposing them for food waste collection and diversion to composting.
This combination of disposable plastics and food is a (now traditional) target for bioplastics and extends from bags to food service items. The best successes are often seen in Zero Waste Zones such as at the recent Olympics where all food service items were limited to compostable materials allowing efficient collection and sorting on site and even composting on site with portable equipment. We had significant interest at K 2013 for our traditional compostable “single use” items. At the show we highlighted new biobased long glass fiber reinforced composites and several biobased and compostable color masterbatch products.
Though it’s been only a few weeks since the end of K2013, within the month, my colleagues will be off to two biochemical conferences: SCD iBIO and Ecochem. We hope to see you at one of our many upcoming conferences.