Biobased, Biodegradable Plastic Introduced By ADM And Metabolix

May 20, 2007
Joint venture will push Mirel, the world's first biobased and fully biodegradable plastic

Bioscience company Metabolix Inc. and agricultural processor ADM, announced that they will jointly produce Mirel Natural Plastics. Mirel is a family of high performance natural plastics that are biobased, sustainable and completely biodegradable.

Metabolix and ADM are commercializing Mirel through a joint venture called Telles, which is now building its first commercial scale plant in Clinton, Iowa. This plant is expected to start up in 2008 and will produce Mirel at an annual rate of 110 million pounds.

Mirel is a versatile brand of natural plastics produced from renewable resources like corn sugar that provides an alternative to traditional, oil-based plastics. But unlike oil-based plastics, Mirel will biodegrade harmlessly back to nature in a wide range of environments such as soil, compost, rivers, and oceans.

More than 350 billion pounds of plastic is produced each year and nearly 10 percent of total U.S. oil consumption -- about two million barrels a day -- is used to make plastic each year. Its manufacture contributes to the world's growing dependence on oil and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, plastics significantly impact the global ecosystem since they do not biodegrade in soil, landfills, rivers or oceans.

Mirel can be used as an alternative to petroleum-based plastic in a wide variety of conversion processes, including injection molding, paper coating, cast film and sheet, blown film, and thermoforming. Metabolix is currently working with more than 40 prospective customers on more than 60 applications, including consumer products, packaging, single use disposables, and products used in agriculture and erosion control.

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