Under an agreement signed by BASF and China’s Red Avenue New Materials Group, the Chinese raw materials producer has been granted a license to produce and sell PBAT, a compostable fossil-based aliphatic-aromatic co-polyester, using BASF’s process technology.
To that end, Red Avenue New Materials Group will build a 60,000 tonne PBAT plant in Shanghai, which the company said will go into operation in 2022.
BASF will sell the raw material produced at the plant as ecoflex. Ecoflex is the brand name under which BASF has produced and sold its PBAT for more than a quarter-century.
New laws and regulations on the use of compostable materials in packaging, agricultural mulch films and bag applications, are helping to boost demand for both certified compostable and bio-based plastics, with market growth projected to reach some 15% per year.
“With rapidly growing business opportunities for advanced materials especially in the internet, for example by new consumer behaviour, we will work together to develop the PBAT market in China and promote the development of the new materials’ industry," said Zhou Jianhui, President of Red Avenue New Materials Group.
And while BASF is already active in this area, the ‘additional available PBAT capacities will substantially strengthen our position’, according to Olivier Ubrich, head of BASF’s global business unit Specialty Polymers.
“Due to Red Avenue’s commitment and network to develop the Chinese market, their strategically interesting location and their long-lasting good relationship with BASF, we have identified Red Avenue as our preferred partner,” he said.
BASF’s ecoflex was introduced into the market in 1998 and was the company’s first fossil-based compostable resin. Ecoflex is certified in accordance with DIN EN 13432 and ASTM D6400. BASF also produces a compound blending ecoflex PBAT with PLA, a bio-based polymer derived from sugar, which is sold under the brand name ecovio.
The renewable raw material content means that ecovio is also partly bio-based. Ecovio is certified compostable both for home and industrial composting.