Purchase: What does the purchase have to know about the new bioplastics?
1. The prices of fossil based raw materials continually rise. Are bioplastics more reliable?
2. Are bioplastics more expensive than comparable conventional films?
3. In the last years there were a few bottlenecks in the supply of traditional granulate materials? Can I rather rely on a permanent availability of bio granules?
4. Are bioplastics ready for the market?
5. How long can produced bioplastics be stored without damage?
6. For which applications are bioplastics made?
It can be assumed that the price of bioplastics will remain stable for the next years. However, the price is higher than that of comparable film products. If only cheap purchase prices are required bioplastics are no alternative to the conventional films. But seen from the angle of marketing and environmental protection the difference in price is put into perspective and bioplastics could be a good alternative.
Yes, bioplastics are always dearer than comparable conventional films. The difference in price strongly depends on the level of processing of the film. We can roughly estimate that bioplastics are two and a half to four times as much as conventional films.
The availability of raw materials of conventional films strongly depends on the output of oil worldwide. The hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused serious troubles because large oil rigs in New Orleans and in the Gulf of Mexico had to stop the oil output.
In case of bioplastics derived from renewable raw materials the dependence on oil isn’t as significant. But here we face other problems: Currently, the manufacturers of the granulate material can only partly meet the requirements for bio granules worldwide. But due to the continuous extension of their production capacities we can proceed from the assumption that this problem will have been solved within the next years.
Bioplastics are of course ready for the market and can even be used in large productions. Only the acquisition of sufficient quantities of raw material needs a foresight planning because of the surplus demand for bio granules.
Under proper conditions bioplastics can be stored up to three months after production. They should be stored like conventional films; cold, dark and dry. In terms of the duration of storage as a packaging together with the product wrapped in there are several factors to be regarded. An overall advice cannot be given. Cases in which bioplastics reduce the shelf life of the wrapped in products are not known. Quite the reverse! Sometimes the film even extends the shelf lives of the products.
Bioplastics often can substitute conventional PE and PP films, among other fruit and vegetable bags, bags for small parts and candles, carrier bags and pouches, brochure films, mailers, deep-freeze films, films for flowers and as packagings for trays (strawberries, chilis etc.).