Interview with Christophe Doukhi-de Boissoudy, General Manager of Novamont
Novamont is committed to developing processes and technologies that have a low environmental impact. This is of the same importance to us as the excellence of our products.
Novamont has chosen to use GM free vegetable starch (mostly maize) because it has a minimal impact on the environment. Maize is very abundant in Europe and its starch is of very good quality.
Furthermore, Novamont is willing to replace the fossil fuels it uses during the manufacturing stages of Mater-Bi by sunflower-based bio fuel.
In the long term, Novamont is looking forward to regionalizing all its vegetable production in order to reduce the environmental impacts related to transportation. Currently, all raw materials that are used to produce Mater-Bi are from Europe. Novamont intends to open a new Mater-Bi factory in France, located close to some of the largest French agricultural basins.
Is there a way to distinguish bio-plastic products from other plastic products: for consumers who would like to buy bio-products? To prevent bio-products that can be composted from ‘contaminating’ the waste stream of plastics that can be recycled?
There are two main ways that consumers can use to distinguish bio plastic products from conventional plastic products.
Firstly, by touch. Bio plastics have a softer feeling and are silkier than conventional plastics.
Secondly, it is very likely that a product without a quality label is not made of bio plastic. Consumers should look for the presence of labels such as EN 134322, ‘ok compost’ or similar.
Once consumers know how to tell bio plastics apart, they will be able to sort their waste correctly, so that bio plastic does not get mixed up with other plastics. As for downstream sorting, the creation of a new specific waste stream is not a major problem for waste management companies.
What are your expectations in terms of turnover and market share for the future?
Novamont’s expectations are quite ambitious. We hope to raise our market share by between 25 and 40% per year, and expect our turnover to grow accordingly. Our production could reach 100,000 to 120,000 tons in Europe.