ADM, Metabolix form Telles

By Bryan Sims
Cambridge, Mass.-based Metabolix Inc., a leader of innovative bioscience methods to provide sustainable solutions for plastics, fuels and chemicals, has partnered with agri-giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) to produce Mirel natural plastics. Mirel is a family of biobased natural plastics that will be produced from renewable resources, such as corn sugar, to serve as an alternative to traditional oil-based plastics.

Conceptualized in July 2006, the two companies will commercialize Mirel through a newly created company called Telles, named after the Roman goddess of the Earth. According to Metabolix Chief Brand Officer Brian Igoe, Telles is constructing its first commercial-scale plant in Clinton, Iowa. The facility is expected to start up in 2008, producing Mirel plastics at a rate of 110 million pounds per year. "Our vision as a company was to combine bioscience and nature to bring clean solutions to the world of plastics, fuels and chemicals," Igoe said. "Our hope is that there will be many brands and many retailers using [Mirel] for a variety of applications."

Of the 350 billion pounds of plastic produced annually in the United States, nearly 10 percent of U.S. oil consumption is used to make plastic each year.