Bioplastics Business Breakfast

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  • Vivobarefoot launches the Primus Lite ll bio shoe


    On time for summer, leading global barefoot shoe company VIVOBAREFOOT announced last month the launch of Primus Lite II Bio, the company’s most innovative sustainable shoe to date and one of the world’s first plant-based performance shoes.

    sThe brand unveiled the new unisex shoe on the heels of independent sustainability research, which highlighted eco materials as a key factor in consumer purchasing decisions. The Primus Lite II Bio went on sale on May 20.

    The new vegan shoe is designed with over 30 percent renewable plant-based materials, including Bio TPU made from yellow dent field corn, natural rubber and harvested algae called Bloom, instead of single-use petroleum materials.
    The corn-based, vegan biopolymer, a natural bi-product of the field-corn food industry called ‘Susterra Propanediol’ or ‘1,3-propanediol’,was developed by DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products. Susterra propanediol is a pure, bio-based, petroleum-free diol.
    Sorona, a bio-based fibre also used in the shoe is a trademark of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.
    Bloom Foam is created by harvesting algal biomass from freshwater sources at high risk of algal bloom. Using this algae biomass cleans and restores the environment when harvested. Bloom is an ALGIX Brand.

    The award-winning design of the new shoe is the company’s lightest and most efficient and weighs on average an estimated 10 percent less than today’s standard performance shoes.

    The new generation of VIVOBAREFOOT’s Primus Lite style is a game-changer for the footwear industry and represents a major stride for the company towards its goal of using 100 percent bio-based materials in a future iteration of this product. Additional styles and colors of the Bio line will be released in Fall 2019.

    VIVOBAREFOOT’s sustainbility ethos is uniquely different from other footwear brands in the industry, as it is rooted in design, wellness and social impact, along with utilizing eco-friendly materials. The company believes product design encompasses doing more with less and creating durable products. Its focus on wellness enables people to move in a natural, healthy, connected way, while maintaining performance and durability.

    “The launch of the Primus Lite Bio represents an exciting step away from the industry’s reliance on single use petroleum-based materials and towards a promising future of plant-based alternatives,” said Asher Clark, Design Director at VIVOBAREFOOT. “We want to challenge the world’s relationship with shoes, the materials they are made from and the impact they are having on us and our environment. Our ultimate goal is complete circularity.”

    More than 20 billion pairs of shoes are made annually, most from petrochemicals, which have a harmful impact on the environment, contributing to the already serious effects of climate change. The plant-based materials in the Primus Lite II Bio shoe are sourced and managed responsibly, reducing water, energy and CO2 emissions, improving waste water and ultimately reducing their ecological footprint.

    The release of Primus Lite II Bio follows VIVOBAREFOOT’s commissioned consumer research study, which was conducted by an independent research company in April 2019. The study confirmed that most consumers today have different definitions of sustainability but a key focus for them was the use of eco-friendly materials in the products they buy. This is reassuring data for VIVOBAREFOOT, which is on a mission to phase out petrochemicals and use 100 percent sustainable materials in the next two years.

    Clark added, “The less you put between your feet and the environment, the better. Just like our other styles, Primus Lite II Bio was designed to let people’s feet do their natural thing, while providing maximum sensory feedback from your body to your brain. The Primus Lite II Bio is not perfect, it still contains significant non-plant-based products, but it’s a step in the right direction. There are many challenges the footwear industry faces in creating sustainable products, and VIVOBAREFOOT believes it is better to innovate for good, rather than to stand still.”

  • Suntory aiming for 100% sustainable plastic bottles by 2030


    The Suntory Group has unveiled a new company-wide policy focused on implementing sustainable plastic that promote a recycling-oriented and decarbonized society.

    sIn aiming to realize the Suntory Group’s corporate philosophy “To create harmony with people and nature,” the newly established sustainability policy, formally titled the “Plastic Policy”, expresses the company’s dedication to promote problem-solving efforts together with various stakeholders.

    “It is Suntory’s founding promise to coexist with people and nature. We will tackle the plastics problem by contributing to the realization of a circular economy and by bringing together our advanced technology to lead the world in finding effective solutions to this global issue, ”said Takeshi Niinami, Chief Executive Officer of Suntory Holdings.

    Founded as a family-owned business in 1899 in Osaka, Japan, Suntory Group has grown into a multi-national corporation, with operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania. Suntory Group is among the world’s leading consumer products companies, with annual revenue (excluding excise taxes) of $20.4 billion. The Group now aims to provide strong leadership for transforming into a recycling-oriented and zero carbon society to bring about a world “where diverse animal and plant life shines and resonates”, according to the Suntory Group Plastic Policy

    Last year, Suntory introduced the “FtoP Direct Recycle Technology”, a first-of-its-kind PET preform manufacturing technology that streamlines the recycling process of making PET bottles out of used PET bottles which is useful in decreasing environmental impact while improving supply chain efficiencies. Suntory also is the first company to use plastic caps made of 100 percent plant-based materials for its beverage product and Suntory’s efforts go beyond for realizing PET bottles made of 100 percent plant-based materials. Suntory will continue its effort for developing PET bottles with less environmental impact and for contributing to build an efficient recycling system. Through these initiatives, Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd, a beverage company of Suntory Group will increase usage of recycled content in its PET bottles to over 50 percent in Japan by 2025 as mid-term goal.

    Based on this Plastic Policy, Suntory will aim for fully sustainable plastic bottles by expanding “FtoP production” capability and switching to recycled materials or plant-based materials for all PET bottles used globally by 2030, achieving zero use of virgin petroleum-based materials.

  • Mitsui Chemicals unveils project for bio-PP production


    The G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth in Karuizawa was held June 14–16 at Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza Carpark in Nagano, Japan. Mitsui Chemicals was one of the participating companies.

    aThe event served as a showcase for state-of-the-art Japanese energy and environmental technologies on the theme of hydrogen energy, countermeasures for marine plastic litter and innovation. The Mitsui Chemicals Group exhibited a concept it has developed for a bio-polypropylene project, which the company is undertaking as part of its efforts to achieve its sustainable development goals.

    Polypropylene has a wide range of applications, spanning automobile-parts to medical care products, home appliances, housing and food products. Polypropylene plays an essential role in our lives and accounts for more than 20 percent of the plastic produced in Japan. However, due to technical difficulties, the production of polypropylene from biomass has not been established at the industrial level.

    The new production method being attempted for commercialization involves the fermentation of various biomass types - mainly non-edible plants - to produce isopropanol (IPA), which is then dehydrated to obtain propylene in a first-of-its-kind IPA method. Compared to other biomass production approaches studied by other companies thus far, this one could prove to be a more cost-effective method for producing bio-polypropylene.


    Comparison of Production Flows

    Mitsui Chemicals aims to contribute to society through environmentally friendly action with a circular model that leverages the supply chain by collaboration with other companies that will cultivate biomass raw materials used by Mitsui Chemicals, collect wastes generated from biomass raw materials, and supply electricity to manufacturing facilities and manufactures fertilizers through its effective use.

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