BASF expands bioplastic capacity

Just came back from the World Detergents Conference in Switzerland and the only word that stood out during the entire event was “sustainability”. A colleague from another magazine and I were actually thinking of taking a shot every time sustainability was mentioned but then we would be too drunk before the first morning break starts. =)

I will try to post a recap of the event but here’s a short blog post from a surfactant/oleochemical expert Neil Burns of Neil Burns and Associates to give a glimpse of what happened during the detergent sustainability fest.

For now, back to this news from BASF about its capacity expansion for bioplastic product Ecoflex from 14,000 tonnes/year to 60,000 tonnes in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The expanded capacity is expected to come onstream at the end of 2010.

Ecoflex is a petroleum-based (aliphatically aromatic copolyester) biodegradable plastic that exhibits same properties as that of low density polyethylene (LDPE). Ecoflex combined with corn-based polylactic acid (PLA) is also used in BASF’s Ecovio plastic, which can replace high density polyethylene (HDPE) in certain applications.

BASF said the expansion is necessary to meet increasing demand. With the integration of Ciba’s plastic portfolio to BASF’s business, the company terminated Ciba’s Envirocare for oxo-biodegradable plastics effective July 1, 2010. Envirocare was used to manufacture polyethylene mulch films for agricultural use.

BASF said it has supplied biodegradable plastics for the manufacture of mulch films and other applications for many years in the form of Ecoflex and Ecovio.

I actually just finished a bioplastic article for the October 25 issue of ICIS Chemical Business. Watch out for that and another article about bio-based consumer packaging coming out for November 15.

[Photo credit: BASF]

2 Responses to BASF expands bioplastic capacity

  1. Doc 13 October, 2010 at 8:52 am #

    Regarding Ecoflex, shouldn’t you distinguish between “bioplastic” and “biodegradable plastic”? I think it makes sense to restrict “bioplastic” to polymers made from biological, rather than fossil petrochemical, sources.

  2. Doris de Guzman 16 April, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    True. Should I call Ecovio a hybrid biodegradable plastic or hybrid bioplastic then?

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