BASF has appointed WPO Polymers as distributor for its ecovio biopolymer material on the Iberian peninsula. Seeking to grow its biopolymers business, BASF is hopeful that the new, tightened legislation on the use of plastic bags in Spain will create increased demand for its compostable bioresins.
In 2018, Spain passed a Royal Decree aimed at reducing the use of plastic bags, which banned the free distribution of light-weight plastic bags. making it compulsory to charge for single-use plastic bags with thicknesses of between 15 and 50 microns. The legislation on plastic bags has since been progressively tightened in the country. In 2020, among other things, thick plastic bags were required to contain at least 50 per cent recycled plastic, in order to promote the use of recycled plastic, while the use of oxo-fragmentables was banned. Since 1 January 2021, lightweight and very lightweight plastic bags (<50 µm thickness), except those made from compostable materials and certified according to EN 13432, are prohibited. As a result, the Spanish market for biopolymers is expected to become one of the largest in Europe.
BASF’s ecovio is mainly used to produce plastic films for certified compostable shopping bags, organic waste bags as well as fruit and vegetable bags - all relevant applications in light of the new regulations. including the mandatory usage of compostable bags with which food companies and retailers must comply.
The company chose to partner with WPO because of its recognised technical expertise in the field of extrusion and ‘its in-depth knowledge of recycling and plastics materials, which complements BASF’s customer-focused strategy for ecovio in the Spanish market,’ said Mia Pettersson, head of BASF’s global business unit Specialty Polymers.
“Our expertise is backed by more than 40 years of experience in the plastics industry. With the inclusion of BASF’s innovative biopolymer ecovio into our portfolio, we will both expand our established business and push the adoption of organic recycling in the Iberian peninsula,” said Manuel Olaegu, CEO and Founder of WPO Polymers.
BASF’s partly bio-based ecovio is certified compostable in accordance with e.g. DIN EN 13432. It is a blend of BASF’s PBAT ecoflex and renewable raw materials. According to BASF, studies have demonstrated the advantages of ecovio for production, packaging and shelf life of food as well as for the collection of food waste. These advantages are based on the material’s certified biodegradability in industrial and home composting as well as in soil: food waste is reduced, nutrients are returned to the soil by means of greater volumes of compost – and the accumulation of microplastics in agricultural soil is avoided.