Cereplast announces new bioplastics symbol

By Erin Voegele | April 26, 2011

Cereplast Inc. has announced a new symbol to help consumers identify products and packaging materials made using bioplastic. The symbol, which was chosen through a competition, will initially be used by Cereplast and its partners to help differentiate its products from traditional petroleum-based plastics. According to Nicole Cardi, Cereplast’s vice president of marketing and communications, it is also possible that the symbol will be eventually opened up for wider use.

Cereplast’s “Make Your Mark” competition was modeled after a 1970 graphic design competition that resulted in the widely-recognized recycling symbol. More than 1,500 bioplastic symbols were submitted by contestants, and a winner was selected using a multi-tiered voting system that included a public voting component. According to Cereplast, more than 2.8 million public votes selected the top 200 designs. Those designs were then ranked by a panel of judges that included Gary Anderson, who created the original recycling symbol.

Laura Howard, a design student from the University of Louisville in Kentucky, created the winning symbol. "We are excited to congratulate Laura Howard for designing a symbol that has the potential to become a revolutionary logo representing the next generation of plastics—plastics that protect and preserve our environment and are made from renewable resources. The new bioplastic symbol will be used in a similar fashion to the recycling symbol as it will be stamped on products, and it will serve as an identifying mark of bioplastic material," said Frederic Scheer, chairman and CEO of Cereplast. "Petroleum-based plastics can have a devastating impact on our environment. Approximately 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year. At these quantities, we could wrap the entire planet several times over. Bioplastics offer a more respectful option for our environment, and we believe that this new symbol will help provide consumers with the tools they need to make more environmentally intelligent purchasing decisions."

The winning symbol was announced at a ceremony held in Los Angeles on Earth Day Eve. Howard said that the symbol she submitted is designed to represent something structural being created from a plant source. She also notes that she was familiar with bioplastics before entering the competition. “That’s one of the things that drew me to the contest,” she said. “I am very excited to be part of that movement.”

According to Cardi, the new symbol will be featured on Cereplast products as soon as possible. “We actually have some new products that we are rolling out soon, and we’re hoping that within the factor timelines that we’ll actually be launching the symbol very quickly, and anticipate rollout within the next few months at the very least,” she said.

While the new symbol will obviously help increase consumer awareness, Cardi noted that the competition itself also helped more people become aware of bioplastics. “That was one of the main reasons we wanted there to be a public vote,” she said, “so that we could engage the public and not only get them interested in what the new symbol would be, but also get them interested in bioplastics and make them aware that bioplastics exist, and there is a more ecofriendly alternative to traditional plastics.”