Engineering News

NatureWorks LLC Announces World's First
Greenhouse-Gas-Neutral Polymer

Friday October 7, 11:05 am ET

MINNETONKA, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 7, 2005--NatureWorks LLC announced today that it will achieve a greenhouse-gas-neutral position for NatureWorks® PLA, making it the first, commercially available greenhouse-gas-neutral polymer in the industry.

The achievement of this milestone will give the corn-derived polymer another competitive advantage versus petroleum-based plastics, such as PET. It offers customers in Europe, Asia and North America a meaningful way to help achieve compliance with the Kyoto Protocol for reduction of greenhouse gases.

NatureWorks will achieve the greenhouse-gas-neutral position through the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs), which serve as an offset to cover all of the emissions from the energy used for the production of NatureWorks PLA. The certificates ensure the production of renewable energy in an amount equal to that of the non-renewable energy used by NatureWorks LLC. The net result will be a 68 percent reduction in fossil fuel use compared to traditional plastics from the manufacture of NatureWorks PLA compared with traditional plastics. (Even before this announcement, NatureWorks had represented a 30-50 percent reduction in fossil fuel use and a 30-55 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions versus petroleum-based polymers.)

"NatureWorks is committed to product and process innovations that deliver valuable solutions to our global customer base," said NatureWorks LLC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Dennis McGrew. "Strengthening the already-superior environmental attributes of our polymer, this greenhouse-gas-neutral position makes NatureWorks PLA an even more attractive option for retailers and brand owners seeking to reduce their environmental footprint - specifically for packaging applications."

As a partner in the Green Power Market Development Group, NatureWorks researched a number of alternative energy sources that would allow it to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. RECs provide for affordable, pollution-free electricity that does not add to the depletion of natural resources such as coal, oil or gas, or cause environmental damage through resource extraction and transportation.

NatureWorks will be purchasing renewable energy certificates from a variety of U.S. Midwest projects - including wind, hydro and solar - in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The company will be purchasing enough certificates to cover projected 2006 production at its 300-million-pound (140,000-metric-ton) capacity manufacturing plant and the world's largest lactic acid plant (400-million-pound or 182,000-metric-ton capacity) in Blair, Neb., as well as at its corporate offices in Minnetonka, Minn. The amount of energy NatureWorks will be purchasing, 59,000 mega-watt hours per year, is equivalent to the amount needed to power 6,300 homes for one year. This purchase of RECs will make NatureWorks one of the top ten corporate buyers of renewable energy certificates in the United States(a).

"I commend NatureWorks LLC for purchasing renewable energy certificates to make NatureWorks PLA polymer a greenhouse gas-neutral product," said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute. "WRI encourages others to follow the company's lead in making their products and manufacturing processes more climate-friendly."

"Arriving at a greenhouse-gas-neutral polymer is a significant milestone in the journey for NatureWorks, but this is not an endpoint," stated McGrew. "As a company, we will continue to research and invest in new technologies to create an even more responsible product and provide our customers with innovative solutions."

About NatureWorks LLC

NatureWorks LLC is a stand-alone company wholly owned by Cargill. Dedicated to meeting the world's needs today without compromising the earth's ability to meet the needs of tomorrow, NatureWorks LLC is the first company to offer a family of commercially available polymers derived from 100 percent annually renewable resources with cost and performance that compete with petroleum-based packaging materials and fibers. The company applies its unique technology to the processing of natural plant sugars to create a proprietary polylactide polymer, which is marketed under the NatureWorks® PLA and Ingeo® fibers brand names.

Source: NatureWorks LLC

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