"There is still a lot of confusion surrounding compliance standards and biodegradable certification and this makes it very difficult especially for younger companies in the industry."
For a number of years, Green Dot Bioplastics has worked with plastic manufacturers and product designers to make products that help consumers contribute to a more sustainable world. Still very much in its infant stages, the CEO, Mark Remmert predicts substantial growth for the industry in the coming years. Green Dot Bioplastics works in many different areas including plant and production, science labs and working alongside investors. After having 30 years of experience in the petroleum and plastics industry, Mark was fully exposed to the problems that plastic was generating. In his former career, he was a global business director for Polycarbonate and Compounds & Blends, and general manager of Dow Fiber Solutions (DFS), based in Horgen, Switzerland. He also served as President, and Chairman of LG-Dow Polycarbonate Ltd., based in Seoul, South Korea. Mark speaks to our reporter Emily O’Dowd about how these business ventures inspired his bio-based journey at Green Dot Bioplastics.
Emily O’Dowd (EOD): How much government support is provided for the bioeconomy?
Mark Remmert (MR): Europe is actively involved in mandating and encouraging the use of bioplastics, but the same approach doesn’t work in the US. The government agenda is a lot slower because it relies on the work of local governments and their initiatives rather than implementing something as a federal mandate. Whilst it is a longer process we can only hope that it will be more successful at instigating change in the long term.
EOD: What other verticals do you see potential in?
MR: ( @gd_bioresins ) I am very excited about two materials that we have recently developed. We have invented a synthetic leather that continues to progress well, alongside our new biodegradable foam applications. So far, we are not familiar with any competition which means we are dedicated to meeting the needs of our consumers.
EOD: What do you enjoy most about your role?
MR: It has to be the variety of my daily role which is so diverse and there is never a dull minute. Secondly, it is great to work with the high performance team that we have assembled here since the beginning.
EOD: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in the industry so far?
MR: There is still a lot of confusion surrounding compliance standards and biodegradable certification and this makes it very difficult especially for younger companies in the industry. The different testing standards and results are both confusing and very expensive. It is essential that the industry has to figure out a new way to do this and limit the commercialisation standards for bioplastics; after all, the same difficulties are not experienced with traditional plastic products.
EOD: Where do you hope to see Green Dot Bioplastics in five years’ time?
MR: We have big growth plans for the future and we hope to commercialise several new products and expand our production capacity.
EOD: How have consumer attitudes towards the bioeconomy changed over the last five years?
MR: I do believe that Americans have become more sustainability conscious about food and fuel in recent years. Generally, people are receptive to sustainability as long as they don’t have to sacrifice anything in return. Everyone loves the idea of bioplastics but cost is still a great factor. Essentially, the consumer wants to make good purchasing decisions, but one by one we’re moving forward in the bio-based industry and this process cannot be stalled.
EOD: Out of the companies that you’ve been working with, where have you seen the most potential?
MR: I think the area that I have seen the most growth and the biggest opportunity has been in packaging especially in single use food items. Once again, it is a slow process to instigate wide industry changes but it’s definitely an area we would like to be more involved in.
EOD: How do you propose to engage with more consumers going forward?
MR: Well it’s a challenge for sure, but we are experiencing a lot of new customer interest especially with the products that we are currently processing. As well as this, the media definitely helps promote our business and forms unique collaborations with other companies. Consumer engagement is not really something we are concerned about as a business because we see this growing organically. Our main focus at the moment is to produce bioplastics which outperform the traditional competition.
EOD: Thank you for your time today Mark, it was very interesting to hear about your industry insights and we look forward to seeing you at Bio-Based Live San Diego!
Our last 5 minutes with... 5 minutes with Rachel Bernhaut, Co-Founder of Jack n' Jill.
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