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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Forum to Focus on Emerging Bio-Based Technologies

December 5, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As an alternative to petroleum sources, companies are increasingly looking to bio-based materials, and Ohio is taking a pioneering role to advance the development of such products.


Ohio State University's Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) is creating a new initiative in renewable packaging. OBIC is a program that links academia and industry in the development of renewable specialty chemicals, polymers and plastics.

As part of the initiative, OBIC is sponsoring a one-day forum to bring together packaging professionals and stakeholders from agriculture and the plastics and polymer industries to explore Ohio's role in emerging bio-based technologies. The event targets individuals and companies interested in novel renewable (degradable) packaging products and materials, many based on polyactic acid (PLA).

"Renewable Polymers for Innovative Packaging and Other Applications," will be held Dec. 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Blackwell Hotel and Conference Center on Ohio State University's Columbus campus. PolymerOhio and the Institute of Packaging Professionals are also hosting the event.

"Rising global demand for oil, increased volatility in oil supply, and the growing availability of biobased feedstocks are motivating end users and packaging suppliers," said Stephen Myers, director of OBIC.

According to a survey conducted by Freedonia, a leading international business research company, demand for degradable plastic in the United States is projected to grow 12 percent annually to 335 million pounds in 2010 -- a value of $480 million. Packaging, specifically PLA-based, accounts for 76 percent of the total of degradable plastics being targeted for development.

"Advances in technology have increased efficiency and performance, and lowered costs of bio-based materials and products," said Myers. "Major retailers are making commitments to renewable packaging. There is now a federal initiative for government agencies to preferentially purchase bio-based products. The potential for economic and environmental benefits is promising. All of these factors will increase demand."

Topics of discussion at the renewable polymers forum include an overview of the importance of bio-products and trends in packaging innovations; adapting renewable materials to existing processes; innovative applications for PLA films; next generation products from natural feedstocks; consumer trends; and economic projections. The discussions are presented by representatives from such industries as Plastic Technologies, Inc.; PolyOne Corp.; Plastic Suppliers, Inc.; Cargill Industrial Bio-Products; Scotts Miracle-Gro; and Battelle.

Registration is $120, plus parking, and is limited to 70 participants. For more information, contact Dennis Hall at OBIC at (614) 292-4188, or e-mail, or log on to


Candace Pollock
Denny Hall