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Sugarcane-based plastic used for Natura refill packs

By Katie Bird , 10-Aug-2010

Brazil-headquartered cosmetics company Natura will be using green polyethylene packaging produced by Braskem for a range of soap refills.

The company expects to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 71 percent when using Braskem’s sugarcane based polyethylene as opposed to a more traditional, petrochemical derived alternative.

Refill packages for its Evra Doce creamy hand soap will be the first to be produced with the green material; but, a roll out for other products is expected as soon as supplies become available.

“Our intention is to expand this package to other products in our portfolio, according to the production capacity of the green plastic by Braskem, which will provide the first lot from a pilot facility,” Natura’s package development manager Emiliano Barelli told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.

Identical to plastic from petrochemical sources

As the green polyethylene is identical to polyethylene made from petrochemical sources no changes have to be made to the package design, and the product can be recycled, Barelli explained.

“The great advantage and differential of green polyethylene is that it is produced from sugarcane…and it perfectly fits in the regular plastic recycling process, so it is not necessary to create or develop new technologies for the reutilisation of this plastic,” Barelli said.

Braskem is a Brazil-based petrochemical company that has been developing the production of its sugarcane polytheylene over the last few years.

Earlier this year it announced plans to open an industrial plant that can produce approximately 200,000 tons a year, compared to the 12 tons that can be produced by its pilot facility.

“Chemically this is the same product and the only way to tell the difference is to carbon date it,” Braskem account manager Leonora Maria Novaes said at the PCD congress back in February.

“We are offering the market a product they know they can use which is easy and fast to market,” she added.

Braskem claims that, rather than being a producer of carbon dioxide, the sugarcane based resin actually helps capture and fix carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, at approximately 2-2.5kg of carbon dioxide for every kilogram of polyethylene.

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