Developed by Nature Works LLC, IngeoTM is a biopolymer used to make everything from packaging and consumer goods to fibers for apparel, furnishings and home and garden, that is derived from renewable resources instead of oil.
Clearing up a few concerns about Ingeo.
The high cost of crude oil continues to reinforce the growing need for renewable-resource-based alternatives. The cost of Ingeo biopolymer is comparable to other conventional plastics materials. Longer term, Ingeo biopolymer has the potential to even be cost advantaged compared to petroleum-based resins.
Nature Works production of Ingeo utilizes dextrose as the base feedstock used in a fermentation process (much like beer or wine) which converts sugar to lactic acid. They use that lactic acid to then create a polymer, which is later converted to a variety of packaging and fiber applications. This dextrose is made from No. 2 yellow dent field corn in the U.S., which is already grown for many industrial & functional end-uses. In North America, corn has been used because it is the most economically feasible source of sugar. When the plant is at capacity, NatureWorks LLC will use less than 1/20th of 1% of the available annual global corn crop. Their process does not require corn. In the future they plan to move to non-food cellulosic feedstocks.
Is Ingeo bio-polymer edible?
The common application of Ingeo bio-polymer is cups, cutlery and containers. NatureWorks does not recommend ingesting any plastics items such as these. As such, while Ingeo bio-polymer is approved for food contact and well-suited for a variety of packaging applications, it is not recommended for human consumption. Ingeo bio-polymer, as with any plastic, would be a foreign body if accidentally ingested. Most swallowed foreign bodies pass harmlessly through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Ingeo bio-polymer has under gone extensive FDA extraction protocols to be approved as a food packaging material.