February 11, 2013

Nebraska corn contributing to a zero-waste Olympics


PLA Glass#2Being that the Winter Olympics are one year from now, corn grown in Nebraska can brag they it was part of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Not only were the London games some of the most memorable games, last year’s summer Olympics also were the first to be zero waste with an estimated 8,500 tons of packaging and food service items diverted from landfills and into a composting facility or recycling centers. Within that total, an estimated 14.3 million Ingeo lined paper cups and 7.5 million Ingeo cup lids were composted.

What is Ingeo? It is the biopolymer made from poly-lactic acid (PLA), otherwise known as corn plastic. The only plant in the world, NatureWorks, is located in Blair, Nebraska and sources corn and other plant material from Nebraska and neighboring states to create plant-based plastic that is otherwise made from oil. The company is growing and will be expanding as they recently announced Thailand as the preferred location for a second manufacturing plant.

Back to the Summer Olympics, sustainability was at the heart of the vision for the Games to make it the first ‘zero-waste’ games. As part of this vision, London BioPackaging was chosen to supply all the food and drink packaging. They supplied in excess of 120 million pieces of compostable and recyclable packaging, ensuring it was all composted or recycled after use.

Nebraska corn could play a role in the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia as well. You may remember that the Olympic Gold Medalist, Curt Tomasevicz, is a spokesman for the Nebraska Corn Board and will hopefully be returning with the Team Night Train to go for the Gold in Russia. Maybe we can get Curt to take a little of Nebraska’s Gold – Corn – along with him!DSC_0011

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