Assobioplastiche, the Italian bioplastics association, has signed an agreement with its Thai counterpart to work on market development of bioplastics and new certification systems.
Marco Versari, President of Assobioplastiche, and Prof Phietoon Trivijitkasem, President of the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA), signed a five-year memorandum of understanding 13 June.
David Newman, General Secretary of Assobioplastiche, says the association decided to team up with the TBIA because of the strength of the bioplastics market in Thailand.
“Over the next couple of years Thailand will become the biggest exporter of bioplastics in the world, exporting about 200,000 tonnes per annum by the end of 2014,” he told European Plastics News.
The market for bioplastics in Thailand has developed rapidly in recent years, and the Thai government committed substantial research funding to bioplastics beginning in 2008. And last year Thai plastics producer PTT Chemical Public bought 50% of US bioplastics maker Natureworks.
Newman said the agreement between the two associations will give the Thai association access to Italy's expertise in certain areas of bioplastics.
Newman said the market for bioplastics in Italy, is around 130,000 tonnes in Italy, so small compared to the overall plastics market, “but we are very dominant in two areas – sustainable shopping bags and films/bags for waste”,
He added: “Italy has a good model of separating organic waste, which will be interesting for the TBIA.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the two associations will focus on four main areas: composting and waste management know-how; certification systems and quality standards; joint research and market development initiatives; and training and networking.
The TBIA is also working towards introducing a new compostability standard for the country similar to the ISO 17088 standard.
Assobioplastiche was founded in 2011 and is based in Rome. Members include BASF, Natureworks and Novamont.