Bioplastics Business Breakfast

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  • New LEGO Treehouse set contains highest number sustainable bricks ever


    Since the LEGO Group launched its first bricks made of plant-based polyethylene last year, the sustainable bricks have increasingly been included in new LEGO sets. The Treehouse contains the highest number of sustainable bricks ever in a LEGO set and is another important step to fulfill the LEGO Group’s sustainability ambitions.

    aA gathering point for family and friends. A secret hideout. A fortress. A sleepover. LEGO fans can now immerse themselves in the intricately detailed LEGO IDEAS Treehouse. A challenging build, the exclusive set, made up of more than 3000 elements, is one of the largest LEGO IDEAS sets to date.

    The Treehouse is packed with play-inspiring features and comes with a landscape base and removable treetop to reveal three detailed cabins. A special feature of the set is that all 185 plants and leaves are made from sustainable materials sourced from sugarcane. This includes the treetop canopy, which has interchangeable sets of green summer leaf elements and yellow and brown fall leaf elements.

    Tim Brooks, Vice President, Environmental Responsibility, the LEGO Group, said: “When I first saw the model, I was blown away. Not only because it looks amazing, but also because it connects strongly to the very reason, we are investing so much time and effort in identifying new and sustainable materials, which is to preserve natural resources and fulfil our planet promise. It really is an important step in our ambitious target of making all LEGO elements from sustainable materials.”

    During 2018, the LEGO Group began making botanical elements, including trees, leaves and bushes, from plant-based polyethylene using sustainably sourced sugarcane. Children and parents will not notice any difference in the quality, durability or appearance of the new elements, because plant-based polyethylene has the same properties as conventional polyethylene. These elements represent the first milestone in the LEGO Group’s ambitious commitment to making products using sustainable materials by 2030.

    The Treehouse is an example of how the LEGO Group uses co-creation to foster innovation, as the original idea was submitted through the LEGO IDEAS platform, where LEGO fans can upload their creative builds. Users then have a chance to review and support the model and, given sufficient support, the build can end up as a certified LEGO set with the help of LEGO master designers. In this case, the model was submitted by fan designer Kevin Feeser from Nancy, France. Kevin’s motivation for creating a treehouse stems in particular from his passion for the great outdoors combined with pretty sophisticated LEGO building skills.

    The Treehouse went on sale on August 1, 2019.

  • New PHA platform reaches membership milestone


    GO!PHA, the Global Organization for PHA is a member-driven, non-profit initiative with as aim to accelerate the development of the PHA-platform industry. The platform looks to be filling a need: one month after its official incorporation on July 13, 2019, its membership has already grown to 25.

    aAs part of the GO!PHA policy and advocacy program and the recent dialogues with representatives of the European Commission, GO!PHA has announced it will publish a series of white papers to inform policy makers and other stakeholders about the benefits and potential of PHAs. The first white paper, authored by PHA expert Jan Ravenstijn, focuses on the bio-benign nature of PHA, which is a crucial element of the future success of PHAs in different end-markets. 

    Ravenstijn notes that “during the last 20-30 years dozens of initiatives from all over the world have been started to make PHA materials useful for durable and structural applications as an alternative to the chemically synthesized polymers and by mimicking nature in a consistent way.
    A large variety of suitable micro-organisms are being used to convert many different feedstock
    sources, like gas, liquid or solid waste streams. After-use value chains are being created for several
    waste streams this way, resulting in a contribution to the circular economy.”

    The full paper, and future GO!PHA white papers can be accessed at
    To engage a larger audience and to share perspectives, GO!PHA will host a monthly open information meeting and discussion forum on PHA related matters. and invites a wide audience to join the next meeting on September 4th at 09:00 and 17:00 CEST. Go to for all dial-in details.

  • Edible seaweed-based packaging gets boost from Innovate UK


    A Lucozade Ribena Suntory-backed edible, plastic-free packaging innovation is taking a step closer to a commerial roll-out – thanks to newly secured UK Government funding.

    aThe capsules, called Oohos, are made from a material called Notpla™ based on seaweed extract and offer a way to deliver drinks under 100ml in a plastic-free form. They are not only completely edible but also naturally biodegrade in four to six weeks – just as quickly as a piece of fruit.

    Lucozade Sport Oohos were distributed at the 2019 London Marathon

    Lucozade Ribena Suntory is a leading soft drinks businesses in the UK and Ireland. LRS was formed in 2014 and is part of Suntory Beverage & Food Europe. 

    The funding, secured by Ooho manufacturer Notpla, in partnership with Lucozade Ribena Suntory and Vita Mojo, has been awarded by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation – the UK Government’s innovation agency.

    Professor Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of NERC - the Natural Environment Research Council for UK Research and Innovation, said: “The funding of this project along with other programmes, will help establish the UK as a leading innovator in smart and sustainable plastic packaging solutions, delivering cleaner growth across the supply chain, with a dramatic reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2025.”

    The funding will focus on perfecting the technology behind Oohos, with the aim of creating a machine that could be installed in gyms or restaurants and manufacture up to 3,000 Oohos a day with drinks like Lucozade Sport. The machine could operate similarly to a barista coffee machine and allow customers to buy liquid-filled Oohos directly from locations such as local coffee shops and gyms.

    This is an exciting and essential step towards unlocking the potential of Ooho - and one that Lucozade Ribena Suntory is proud to be a part of, as the company looks to reduce the amount of plastic it uses. Lucozade Ribena Suntory has already successfully trialled Oohos filled with Lucozade Sport drinks and gels at four sporting events since September 2018, with over 42,000 Oohos handed out to participants.

    Most recently, over 36,000 Lucozade Sport Oohos were sampled at the 2019 Virgin Media London Marathon, which had very positive responses from consumers. A survey found that 82% of those who tried a Lucozade Sport-filled Ooho found them “appealing” or “very appealing”.

    Michelle Norman, Director of External Affairs and Sustainability at Lucozade Ribena Suntory comments: “Oohos offer Lucozade Ribena Suntory a completely new and innovative way to deliver on-the-go servings of Lucozade Sport to consumers. With Government backing, we are excited to see how Oohos can be rolled out and made more widely available. We are proud to be collaborating with Notpla on such an innovative move and we will continue to make positive steps to become as sustainable as possible.”

    Notpla, a London-based sustainable packaging start-up spun-out of Imperial College London, is developing an entire range of packaging alternatives out of seaweed and other plant materials. The company is ‘thrilled to have received Government support for this project, said Lise Honsinger, CFO at Notpla, adding that it “moves us one step closer to seeing our product commercialised, and also allows us to grow the team, creating four new engineering roles this year”.

    The partnership with Ooho sits alongside a number of other innovative moves that see Lucozade Ribena Suntory reinvent its relationship with single-use plastics. Earlier this year, the company announced a bottle redesign across its core drinks, putting the bottle-to-bottle recyclability at the heart of the new design. As a founding signatory of the UK Plastics Pact, the company has committed to eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use plastic packaging and ensure 100% of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.


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