Bioplastics Award

And the winner is...

This year the prestigious "Bioplastics Oskar" was again given to two companies, albeit for one new development: Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. and Sharp Corp. (Japan) jointly received the prize for the development of the front panel of Sharp’s new smartphone made from Mitsubishi’s biobased engineering plastic DURABIO™. In a world first, a biobased engineering plastic is being used in the front panel of a smartphone.


Frank Steinbrecher (left) accepted the award on behalf of Mitsubishi Chemical.

Durabio is a biobased engineering plastic made from plant-derived isosorbide. This high-performance material offers greater resistance to impact, heat, and weather than conventional engineering plastics. In addition, it has excellent transparency and low optical distortion.

The Mobile Phone

(Photo Mitsubishi Chemical)

The panel of judges singled out this application as the first instance of a biobased engineering plastic successfully replacing polycarbonate in a technical application. The development captivates through its high profile and the potentially huge field of applications for a biopolymer that also overcomes one of the big problems of incumbent technology – impact resistance. In addition to being biobased, it also features superior properties. “The winner has invented a highly promising material for very challenging applications - and we applaud this cool product! It's a great example of a biobased material”, said Michael Thielen during the award ceremony.

After our first attempt last year to present a trophy made (at least partly) of biobased plastic materials, we went one step further this year. The entire trophy is 3D-printed from different PLA/PHA based compounds. bioplastics MAGAZINE is grateful to colorFabb (Venlo, the Netherlands) who printed the base-plate using their woodFill filament. The logo is made from brassFill and the two leaves are made from copperFill. Logo and leaves were tumbled and polished to enhance the metal gloss effect. The 3D-filaments made by colorFabb are based on PLA/PHA bioplastic products from FKuR (Willich, Germany) and metal-filled PLA/PHA compounded by Witcom Engineering Plastics (Etten-Leur, The Netherlands).


The winner was announced during the 10th European Bioplastics Conference on November 5th, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

The Five finalists were:

Alki (France)

Kuskoa Bi –

the first bioplastic chair

The comfortable and generously-sized Kuskoa Bi, designed by Jean Louis Iratzoki is the first chair on the market to be manufactured in bioplastic. This biobased polymer is fully recyclable and its production gives rise to a significant environmental advantage as it reduc

es greenhouse gas emissions. Its particularly enveloping shell, that has classic simple lines reminiscent of those seen in the Eames’ DAW Chair, is cut out in such a way as to optimize back and arm support, is delicately placed on a solid wood trestle. A version in a soft wool-based upholstery is also available.


The bioplastic used to manufacture the Kuskoa Bi shell is based on PLA, made from plant-based renewable resources (corn starch, sugarcane, natural fibres, etc.). It is a fully recyclable material that has a significant environmental advantage as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

“We are very much aware that everything we do, whether as individuals or groups, has a direct impact on the surrounding environment,” says Alki’s artistic director Jean Louis Iratzoki.This is why the oak used comes from sustainably managed forests and most of their upholstery is made from natural materials (wool, natural fibres, linoleum, etc.). The approach to the new project is no different.

Eki Solorzano (Alki’s media representative): “True to our principles, we wanted to participate in this sustainable development approach by breaking new ground with the pioneering manufacture of a bioplastic chair.”

Tetra Pak (Italy)

Tetra Rex® Bio-based - The world’s first fully renewable package

Within their ten year business plan for the environment, this year, Tetra Pak achieved a significant milestone with the launch of Tetra Rex Bio-based, the world’s first fully renewable liquid food carton package — solely produced from renewable, recyclable and traceable FSC™ certified packaging and bio-based plastic derived entirely from sugarcane (Braskem’s bio-PE).

TetraIn 2007 Tetra Pak launched the world’s first FSC labelled cartons. By 2014, 130 Billion FSC labelled packages had reached consumers. In 2011, caps made from certified and traceable sugar cane (bio-PE) were introduced and within a year 1 billion bio-based caps had been featured on Tetra Pak packages sold worldwide.

The next step was to combine this development of certified paperboard and bio-plastic into the world’s first fully renewable carton. This ambition culminated in the commercial launch of Tetra Rex Bio-based in January 2015.

The package is unique within the industry as it is manufactured solely from plastics derived from sugar cane and FSC certified paperboard. As such, it is fully renewable, fully recyclable and entirely traceable to source. The low-density polyethylene (LDPE) used to create the laminate film for the packaging material and the neck of the opening, together with the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cap, are all derived from sugar cane.

The product hit shelves first in Scandinavia and customers reported that consumer feedback was extremely positive.

MHG Meredia Holdings Group (USA)

First biodegradable fishing lures

MHG strives to create a greener tomorrow with renewable, sustainable, biodegradable, and toxin free bioplastics for people at work and at home. MHG’s biopolymer resins have helped create a healthier product marketplace for over a decade.

MHGMHG recently presented the first ever certified biodegradable freshwater fishing lure, which is being produced by the famous tackle company, Bill Lewis Lures, the maker of Rat-L-Trap™. The new Rat-L-Traps is made out of pure MHG PHA bioplastic.“Fishing is a seventy three billion dollar industry and the freshwater division makes up eighty two percent of it,” remarked Paul Pereira, CEO of MHG. “Partnering with Rat-L-Trap to make these popular lures in a biodegradable form is a big step in reducing plastic pollution produced by the fishing industry.”

In addition to performance, there has been positive feedback regarding the pilot production of the PHA Rat-L-Traps, including its ability to weld together better than the traditional plastic that’s been used. There have been no known production complications to date. “The PHA has a lot of potential and I am very excited about what we’ve seen so far,” stated Wes Higgins, President of Bill Lewis Lures, the company who produces Rat-L-Traps. “I’m honored to have our name associated with research that could lead to conservation of our fishing resources.”

Bill Lewis Lures is the producer of the Original Rat-L-Trap lipless crankbait. The Rat-L-Trap has been referred to as “The Most Influential Fishing Lure” of all time in Outdoor Life’s Hall of Fame Fishing Lures article.

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (Japan) and Sharp (Japan)

Crack resistant bio-based plastic smartphone screen

Sharp Corporation (Osaka, Japan) has chosen Mitsubishi Chemical’ (MCC) biobased engineering plastic DURABIO™ for the front panel of its new smartphone, the AQUOS CRYSTAL 2. The choice marks a world-first as bio-based engineering plastic has ever been used on the front panel of any smartphone.

MCCMost front panels of smartphones are made of glass, and their susceptibility to cracking has been an ongoing problem. This has led manufacturers to consider polycarbonate and other plastics for the front panels because of their light weight and increased durability compared to glass. 

Unfortunately, some traditionally available plastics offered excellent optical properties, but were more prone to cracking upon impact, while others that were impact-resistant tended to have poor optical properties. Therefore, as there was a need for considerable improvement in the plastics, the vast majority of smartphone manufacturers relied on glass for the front panels of their phones.

MCC-developed Durabio is a bio-based engineering plastic made from plant-derived isosorbide, which features excellent performance as it offers higher resistance to impact, heat, and weather than conventional engineering plastics. In addition, it has excellent transparency and low optical distortion.

Conventional Polycarbonate is crack-resistant but not scratch resistant, whereas PMMA is scratch resistant but not crack-resistant. Durabio is both scratch resistant and crack-resistant and it has no yellowing (aging) effect, like conventional plastics
This application shows that this bioplastic offers superior performance characteristics for a durable application in addition to its renewable source.

A. Schulman Castellon (Spain)

A novel bioresin for compostable flexible tubes in cosmetics

A. Schulman, together with the consortium of companies formed by Germaine de Capuccini, Petroplast, and the Ainia-Aimplas alliance, has successfully developed the first biodegradable flexible tube for cosmetic products. In particular, the A. Schulman’s R&D team suceeded in finding the appropriate compostable material to replace conventional polyethylene in flexible packaging tubes for cosmetics. The new bioresin is a reinforced biopolymers alloy, obtained by reactive extrusion, which can be particularly processed into a tube using conventional extrusion blow moulding equipment.

SchulmanThe new bioresin was produced by reactive extrusion using a blend of commercially available biopolymers in A. Schulman compounding facilities. This mainly includes PLA, PBAT, PHAs, and PBS. Twin-screw extrusion was the methodology to prepare the bioresin as it represents an ideal compounding strategy for the preparation of polymer blends, since it delivers more mixing and dispersion energy than is provided by conventional single-screw extruders.
The new biodegradable packaging meets the main requirements of the materials frequently used in flexible tubes manufactured for the cosmetic industry: 

Presents sufficient flexibility to facilitate product dosage (squeeze tubes).
Preserves the properties of beauty products for over two years
Offers chemical resistance and compatibility with the packaged product
Can be processed by extrusion blow molding (tube) and injection molding (caps)
Sealing stability over time and suitable for printing

The winner 2014

The 9th "Bioplastics Oskar" was given to two winners in 2014.

For more details click here...

Award Ceremony 2014

from left: Nick Schaude, Werner Oelschlaeger, Michael Thielen
(Photo courtesy European Bioplastics / B. Zabel)


Zandonella (Germany)

Sandro’s Bio Box is a 500 ml box made of BioFoam®, which contains the finest gourmet ice-cream.


Swiss Coffee Company (Switzerland)

Beanarella: compostable coffee capsules