CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Metabolix Inc. (NASDAQ: MBLX) today announced that Telles™, its joint venture with Archer Daniels Midland Company that produces Mirel™ bioplastics, has entered into an agreement to supply Mirel bioplastic sheet grade resin for the Ball Horticultural Company patented Soilwrap™. This is a new concept for a bottomless plant container that was test marketed in June at the twelfth annual LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) Forum held in Boulder, Colorado. The Soilwrap made with Mirel is a fully biodegradable and compostable plant pot solution for the home gardener.
Ball is a global leader in the horticulture industry, with breeding, production and distribution operations in more than 20 countries around the world. Ball's best-known brand is Wave petunias, which were introduced in 1995 and have become a leading plant brand in the horticulture industry. Wave petunias are available in major retailers and garden centers across North America in easily recognized pink pots. In addition to Wave petunias, Ball offers the Simply Beautiful and Circle of Life brands exclusively to independent garden centers throughout North America.
"Ball is a world leader in horticulture and is committed to building on that leadership by identifying and implementing practical, sustainable solutions for our customers. Mirel fits right into our dedication to promoting the future growth of our industry through new approaches to our business and our products," says Bill Doeckel, General Manager of Ball Innovations, a division within Ball that oversees the development of new sustainable products.
Plastic has become an integral part of horticultural packaging because it is lightweight and easy to shape into plant pots, tags and trays. However there continue to be increasing concerns about the environment and the growing amount of plastics that are piling up in potting sheds, basements and landfills across the nation.
In North America alone nearly 320 million pounds of plastic material is used per year for nursery pots, flat trays of six-pack annuals, and cell packs. Only 100,000 pounds of this plastic material is recycled, according to a 2004 estimate from Penn State University College of Agricultural Sciences.
"A lot of plastic garbage, including plastic plant containers, does not get recycled. It ends up in landfills and that's a problem," said Bob Findlen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Telles. "Ball has found an innovative way to use Mirel sheet grade for a new product application and the Soilwrap further validates the sheet market in general for Mirel. Partnering with Ball to demonstrate how Mirel can replace conventional plastics in horticulture is an example of a key target application."
In addition to the Soilwrap, Mirel could also be used for other horticultural products including plant labels and point of purchase signage. As new forms of the material are developed, the product could be used for trays, pots and other horticultural packaging applications.
Mirel addresses the needs of the horticultural industry because it processes on standard plastics equipment and it has excellent surface printability to reinforce the brand owner's image with consumers. Additionally, Mirel has the broadest range of environmental properties in a high performance bioplastic; biodegradable in soil, home compost and industrial composting systems, salt water and fresh water lakes, rivers, and streams. Mirel is an environmentally responsible choice for the horticultural business because it offers a superb combination of physical and environmental properties as compared to other bioplastics.
"The use of Mirel supports Ball Horticultural Company's market leadership in providing sustainable solutions for the horticulture industry and we are directly addressing the global plastics waste problem," said Findlen.
Founded in 1992, Metabolix, Inc. is an innovation driven bioscience company focused on providing sustainable solutions for the world's needs for plastics, chemicals and energy. The Company is taking a systems approach, from gene to end product, integrating sophisticated biotechnology with advanced industrial practice. Metabolix is now developing and commercializing Mirel™ bioplastics, a sustainable and biodegradable alternative to petroleum-based plastics. Mirel is suitable for injection molding, extrusion coating, cast film and sheet, blown film and thermoforming. Metabolix is also developing a proprietary platform technology for co-producing plastics, chemicals and energy, from crops such as switchgrass, oilseeds and sugarcane.
Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) are commercializing Mirel through a joint venture called Telles. The first commercial scale Mirel production plant is being constructed adjacent to ADM's wet corn mill in Clinton, Iowa. The initial plant is designed to produce up to 110 million pounds of Mirel annually. Mirel will reduce reliance on petroleum and decrease environmental impacts relative to conventional petroleum-based plastics.
For more information, please visit www.metabolix.com.
About Ball Horticultural Company
Ball Horticultural Company is an internationally renowned breeder, producer and wholesale distributor of ornamental plants. A family-owned business since it was founded in 1905, Ball has introduced many innovative, award-winning varieties to the world of horticulture, including the Wave® petunia family; Dazzler® and Super Elfin® impatiens; and Fiesta™ double impatiens. The company offers the Simply Beautiful® and Circle of Life™ programs exclusively for independent garden centers. Ball has worldwide production, sales and marketing through its many subsidiaries on six continents.
LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) represents an estimated $209 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services focused on health, environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. About 41 million people in the U.S. alone are considered to be LOHAS Consumers, typically the first to try new products that deliver expected performance and are positioned for the green market.
Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements which are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The forward-looking statements in this release do not constitute guarantees of future performance. Investors are cautioned that statements in this press release which are not strictly historical statements, including, without limitation, statements regarding expected waste disposal trends, projected market size, future demand for Mirel™, the capacity of the Mirel commercial manufacturing facility, commercial viability of Mirel, and management's strategy, plans and objectives for future operations, product development, and research and development, constitute forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated, including, without limitation, risks associated with: uncertainties related to potential future market demand, the Company's dependence on ADM for construction of the commercial manufacturing facility, ADM's ability to complete construction of that facility on time and on budget, the ability of Metabolix and ADM to successfully manufacture Mirel at commercial scale and in a timely and economic manner, the Company's ability to develop Mirel products, uncertainties regarding market acceptance of Metabolix products, dependence on Metabolix's customers for commercialization of Mirel products, the Company's ability to compete with petroleum-based plastics and with other biobased products, the success of Metabolix research and development programs, and other risks detailed in Metabolix's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007. Metabolix assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking information contained in this press release or with respect to the announcements described herein.
Copyright 2008 Business Wire All Rights Reserved.