On October 13, 2017, BASF detected a technical defect in the ecoflex plant at its Ludwigshafen site. The plant is the same one at which the company’s other bioplastic, ecovio, is produced.
To fix the defect, the plant has been shut down. Both ecoflexx and ecovio products are compostable and biodegradable.
As a result of the problem, BASF is declaring Force Majeure for ecoflex and ecovio. The company is working intensively to repair the technical defect. Currently, it is expected that the shutdown will last at least three weeks.
The defect was found in the heating circuit of the plant. Due to this, a small amount of the thermal oil Marlotherm SH has entered the product loop. This thermal oil is biodegradable. The technical product and processing properties of ecoflex and ecovio are not affected; they remain biodegradable.
According to the initial calculations, BASF does not expect any health risks from intended product applications (for example, in agricultural films, waste or plastic bags and coffee capsules). For some applications, such as thin plastic bags for the transport of fruit and vegetables, an approval for contact with food is required, which the products currently not meet.
BASF is in close contact with the affected customers to withdraw the product. Affected is a quantity of about 1,500 tons. A hotline for customers in the downstream industries is being set up.