–By Teresa Spaeth, AURI Executive Director

This June, I was pleased to help celebrate Bio-Plastic Solutions as AURI’s 2012 Ag Innovator of the Year. This recognition, which has been awarded annually since 2002, recognizes an innovator who has contributed to Minnesota’s economy by creating a unique product or process using agriculture commodities.

Bio-Plastic Solutions, LLC, led by CEO Gary Noble, calls their products the “the environmental alternative to petrochemical-based plastics.” The plastic components manufacturer converted to cornstarch-based polylactic acid (PLA) nine years ago and is one of the first in the nation to use renewable polymers in plastic profile extrusion. Plastics extrusion is a manufacturing process in which raw plastic material is melted and formed into a continuous profile for items such as piping and tubing, window frames, trimming, edging, deck railing, and more.

AURI partnered with Bio-Plastic Solutions to help bring their idea to reality, offering our services in hands-on scientific assistance to conduct product testing and development in our labs. In addition, resource networking is a critical part of the innovation process. AURI connected Bio-Plastic Solutions to NDSU researchers that led to a network of resources such as the University of Minnesota, state universities in Winona and Mankato, Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation, and Minnesota manufacturer, including a window company that is interested in Bio-Plastic Solutions’ product.

Bio-Plastic Solutions product line now includes their trademark BioBest® resin, BioEdge® edgebanding, BioBead™ corner bead, BioBest MSDS, and rolling walls and dividers. Currently a nine-man shop, owner Gary is optimistic that these products will lead to at least three more jobs by the end of the year.

We are proud of the work Gary and his team have done to offer environmentally-friendly products, adding value to Minnesota’s agriculture and helping to grow our economy.

Congratulations to Gary and the entire Bio-Plastic Solutions team!