Company to produce PHA biodegradable plastic

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bioplastic, Procter & gamble

A new player has entered the biodegradable plastic packaging
market, with Procter & Gamble selling off the rights to its
polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) technology to
a private company.

The move will potentially add 272m kg of capacity in a market that is gearing up to meet the demand from food manufacturers and others for more green packaging. US-based Meredian said yesterday it had acquired an extensive intellectual property portfolio from Procter & Gamble relating to PHA. Meredian said it would now start producing the material for commercial sale. "Meredian will use the technology to manufacture new biopolymers using renewable resources, further reducing the global dependence on petroleum products in the production of plastics,"​ the companies said in a joint statement. ​ Procter & Gamble has been developing the process to make PHA over the past 10 years. Meredian plans to combine its existing biopolymer production with the acquired technology to provide a wider range of packaging materials for the market. Meredian plans to begin construction in 2008 on the first of four planned production facilities. The first will be located in the Southeastern US. Meredian said the plants will allow it to produce about 600m lbs (272m kg) of biopolymers annually. The polymers will biodegrade either aerobically or anaerobically. Degradation can occur in septic systems, commercial waste water treatment systems, composting environments or even cold ocean waters. In these environments, naturally occurring bacteria use Meredian polymers as a food source and accelerate degradation. "Given the unique physical property range of Meredian polymers we can expect to see a wide array of applications, from highly flexible films and fibers to rigid packaging, including many single-use food service and liquid packaging applications,"​ Meredian stated. Meredian Inc. was formed in 2004 and introduced a modified polylactic acid (PLA) based product line. The company also launched Seluma Technologies, which offers a proprietary line of polycondensation-based biopolymers. With the addition of the PHA biopolymers, Meredian will now be able to offer a comprehensive selection of biopolymers, the company said. Over the past five years packaging suppliers have been introducing various forms of biodegradable plastics. These materials are made from a variety of plants, in the main corn, in response to projections that consumers and recycling regulations will drive demand for environmentally-friendly packaging. Some companies predict that the market will grow by about 20 per cent a year, and the products are an alternative to petroleum-based packaging such as the widely-used polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Earlier this month Cargill announced it was teaming up with Japan-based Teijin to produce PLA. A similar alliance has been formed between DuPont and Plantic. Materials such as PLA and PHA are made from a variety of plants. PLA is a plastic biopolymer, wholly derived from corn, which is compostable and biodegradable

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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