Differentiating Bioplastics

Cereplast’s new symbol distinguishes biobased plastic from fossil-based counterparts
By Erin Voegele | May 20, 2011

A new symbol will soon aid consumers in identifying products made using renewable, bioplastic materials. The symbol, which was chosen via a competition titled “Make Your Mark,” was announced by Cereplast Inc. on Earth Day Eve.

Cereplast and its partners will initially use the symbol to 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 opened up for wider use in the future.

Cardi said 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 anticipate rollout [of the symbol] within the next few months at the very least,” she says.

Cereplast’s Make Your Mark competition was modeled after a similar graphic design contest in 1970 that resulted in the recycling symbol. More than 1,500 bioplastic symbols were submitted to the Cereplast. The winner was selected using a multitiered voting system that featured a public voting component. More than 2.8 million public votes narrowed the selection to 200 finalists which were further ranked by a panel of judges that included Gary Anderson, the creator of the recycling symbol.

The winning design was created by Laura Howard, a third-year design student at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. “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,” says Frederic Scheer, Cereplast’s chairman and CEO. “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…We believe that this new symbol will help provide consumers with the tools they need to make more environmentally intelligent purchasing decisions.”

According to Howard, the symbol she submitted was designed to represent the creation of a structural element from a plant source. She also noted that she was familiar with bioplastics before entering the competition. “That’s one of the things that drew me to the contest,” she says. “I am very excited to be part of that movement.”   —Erin Voegele