15 April 2014
15 April 2014
SweetPro is taking steps to raise the renewable content of the plastic holding pans it sources for its 250-pound feed blocks with Laurel BioComposite’s Bio-Res PE, a USDA-certified biomaterial.
According to Laurel, it supplied BioRes PE to Terhorst Manufacturing for a small-run production of test pans as part of a pilot program. It says that the test pans were submitted to SweetPro for evaluation and that they successfully demonstrated the ability to replace up to 33 percent of the container’s petroleum-based plastic with Bio-Res while maintaining durability. Laurel BioComposite is currently scaling up in order to provide production quantities of BioRes PE for commercial fabrication.
“We’ve always been a forward-thinking company,” says Bob Thornberg, President of SweetPro. “Since we started in 1991, we have been issued six patents for our non-molasses, free-choice block supplements and our ProBiotein process. Our goal is to improve animal health naturally by using science to optimise organic nutrients, minerals and prebiotics. Leveraging the green chemistry of Laurel BioComposite’s bio-material for our pans, is a good fit for us and a natural, next step that gives us entry into a growing bioeconomy.”
“We have a saying,” says Tim Bearnes, CEO for Laurel BioComposite, “We don’t make plastics, we make the plastics greener. The growing trend toward sustainability is driving companies to consider ways to incorporate bio-material into their products and processes. Our goal is to foster innovation for customers like SweetPro that are looking for green alternatives.”
Laurels explains that it will work with SweetPro’s suppliers to mould the first commercial batch of pans. SweetPro’s distributors will introduce the Bio-Res pans to customers for field testing and customer feedback. “The project has the potential to lead to more ambitious applications for the green material” says Chris Vaisvil, independent consultant for Laurel BioComposite.
“The data we collect from this initial production run could ultimately help us develop a Bio-Res pan that is completely edible,” he explains. “The ability to mould a pan that can either dissolve in the pasture or be eaten would eliminate the labour involved with someone picking up the pans once the supplements are consumed and the need to dispose of the empty pans in a landfill.”
Photo provided by SweetPro