14 March 2013 16:04 [Source: ICIS news]
AMSTERDAM (ICIS)--Global polylactic acid (PLA) production may reach 1m tonnes/year by 2030, packaging producer Buergo Fol said on Thursday.
PLA is a bio-based alternative to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) manufactured from genetically modified corn.
Current PLA production was estimated at 300,000 tonnes/year by Kurt Stark, director of business development at Buergo Fol.
Nevertheless, if PLA becomes used in large volumes this will cause problems for the recycled PET (R-PET) chain because of pollution. Biomaterials cannot currently be recycled, Stark said.
“There is no method to recycle biomaterials. If large amounts of PLA are used it would make other recycled plastics unmarketable [because of pollution],” Stark said speaking at the ICIS PET Value Chain conference, which runs 14-15 March.
Contamination from other plastics currently causes R-PET wastage rates on average of 30% across Europe, according to market estimates.
During the question and answer session at the end of his speech, Stark added that the cost of PLA has, so far, proved prohibitive to its adoption in the market place.
“There’s not much support for bio-based PLA [in the market]... because it’s too expensive,” Stark said.
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