European Bioplastics’ Environmental Affairs Manager, Marko Schnarr, highlighted the progress of bioplastics since 1993 during his presentation at the 2010 International Congress on Bio-based Plastics and Composites held in Hannover, Germany, on April 20-21. The main focus of Mr. Schnarr’s talk was on biobased product certification.
Mr. Schnarr pointed out that (a) ASTM D6866 or the Carbon-14 method is a suitable method for determining biobased carbon in biopolymers and other materials, and (b) the percentage of renewably-sourced components in a material is not necessarily equal to its biobased content. This is because ASTM D6866 only considers the material’s total organic carbon and not total carbon.
Coca-Cola’s “Plant Bottle” is made from a PET resin that is 30% bio monoethylene glycol and 70% terephthalic acid. Based on the material’s carbon-14 analysis results presented by Mr. Schnarr, the Plant Bottle has 20% biobased content. Coca-Cola, however, is still correct to claim that their resin or bottles are 30% plant-based. The terms plant-based and biobased are not the same. Hence, the need for standardization is important.