Biobased plant containers and a new plastics web application were the main attractions at the Biopolymers and Biocomposites Research Team’s (BBRT) exhibit at NPE2012 International Exposition in Orlando, Florida. From April 2-5, BBRT members met with show attendees and representatives from plastics companies interested in biobased products the group produces including plastics, composites, and coatings.
Their exhibit included a hands-on demonstration of the Polymers Environmental Calculator, a web application designed to calculate and compare processing costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of products made from petroleum and biobased plastics. During the show attendees received a demonstration from BBRT members and then were able to enter their own information to generate an eco-profile of different plastics. More information about the Polymers Environmental Calculator can be found on here.
Biobased plant containers made from soy protein were also shown at NPE2012. They are a sustainable replacement for petroleum-based pots and degrade harmlessly when planted in a garden. Early results with plant containers made from soy protein show that containers degrade slowly, providing fertilizer for growing plants.
David Grewell, BBRT chairperson and associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, noted that the plant containers are the perfect application for the protein-based plastics developed at Iowa State University.
“Displaying the plant containers at NPE was a great opportunity for industry and users to see these pots firsthand and to see the different types of sustainable materials produced at Iowa State,” he said.
Over 55,000 plastics professionals from 120 countries attended the NPE 2012 International Plastics Exposition.