In the USA, Metabolix, a leader in the use of bioscience to provide sustainable, clean products for plastics, fuels and chemicals, and BioEnergy specialist ADM are jointly to produce Mirel, a family of high performance natural plastics said to be bio based, sustainable and completely biodegradable.
The companies are commercializing Mirel through their Telles joint venture, which is now building its first commercial scale plant in Clinton, Iowa. This is expected to start up in 2008 and will produce the new material at a rate of 110M lb/year.
Produced from renewable resources such as corn sugar, Mirel is said to provide an alternative to traditional, oil based plastics. But unlike oil based plastics, it will biodegrade harmlessly back to nature in a wide range of environments such as soil, compost, rivers, and oceans. It can be used as an alternative to petroleum based plastics in a wide variety of conversion processes, including paper coating, cast film and sheet, and blown film.
Metabolix says it is currently working with over 40 prospective customers on more than 60 applications, including consumer products, packaging, single use disposables, and products used in agriculture and erosion control.