By Heather Nortz

PLASTICS Associate, Sustainability and Materials

The seventh-annual Bioplastics Week has concluded and, thanks to all of our participants, it went off without a hitch! The purpose of this social media campaign is to create visibility for bioplastics—what they are, where they come from, what they can be made into, how they can be disposed of, and all of the benefits of using these alternative materials. This year, we also looked into the policies affecting the bioplastics industry.

In case you missed it, here is a quick recap of the 2021 Bioplastics Week activities and resources.

The week began with Bioplastics 101. For those new to the world of bioplastics and also those who have been working in the industry, PLASTICS’ Bioplastics Division Members helped to create a Resource List to share on Day 1. Compiling links to blogs, articles, research papers, guidance documents, etc., this Resource List provides a comprehensive overview of bioplastics and the industry in general.

Bioplastics are unique materials in that they can be made from a wide range of sources. The second day of Bioplastics Week was focused on where bioplastics come from. From cooking oil to sugar cane to corn to algae. It’s truly amazing! On the Bioplastics Week YouTube Playlist, you will find some informative and entertaining videos on how bioplastic feedstocks are sourced and how the material itself is made.

Also included in the playlist are a handful of Bioplastics Shorts, video interviews that PLASTICS held with experts from European Bioplastics, USDA BioPreferred Program, Novamont, and Total Corbion PLA.

Knowing where these materials come from, we can dive deeper into what they can be made into. The short answer is that bioplastics can essentially be made into any product a petroleum-based plastic can. On Wednesday, we encouraged companies to promote their bioplastic products using the #BioplasticsWeek hashtag as a way to emphasize the capabilities of these materials and reveal just how common they are in our everyday lives!

Moving forward in the lifecycle of a bioplastic—what do you do with it once you are done using it? There has historically been much confusion around this topic so, on Thursday, we attempted to effectively communicate the end-of-life opportunities for bioplastic products.

We also congratulated Eastman Chemical Company as the winner of our 2021 Innovation in Bioplastics Award! Their new family of cellulose-based resins, Aventa™ Renew, is made with a breakthrough technology that uniquely combines naturally renewable and recycled materials.

The week wrapped up with an important discussion around bioplastics policy. The day began with a Bioplastics Short on EU policy. Later in the day, discussion circled around the COMPOST Act and the USDA BioPreferred Program.

We are proud to have hosted yet another successful Bioplastics Week, full of easily digestible information from PLASTICS Bioplastics Division Members, European Bioplastics, USDA, Plant Based Products Council, Biodegradable Products Institute, and many others. Thank you to all who participated in Bioplastics Week 2021.

See you next year!