BASF will start up in early 2006 a new plant for the production of its biodegradable plastic Ecoflex® at its Schwarzheide site in Germany, thus almost doubling its capacity for this product. The new plant will have a total capacity of 6,000 metric tons a year, and complements the 8,000 metric ton plant in Ludwigshafen. Ecoflex is a specialty plastic, which belongs to BASF’s Styrene Plastics operating division.
“The world market for biodegradable materials is developing very dynamically. With this signficant increase in capacity, we are participating in this market growth, and are securing the supply of material for our customers in the future,” said Dietmar Heufel, head of Global Business Management Ecoflex. Due to the recently passed amendment to the German packaging ordinance, BASF expects activity in the domestic market to pick up.
Ecoflex, a biodegradable copolyester, is employed nowadays primarily in blend formulations. These are mixtures of renewable raw materials such as: starch, cellulose or polylactic acid, together with a biodegradable, synthetic polymer such as Ecoflex. Its areas of application include shopping bags, bags for organic garbage, mulching film for agriculture and various types of food packaging.
Note: amendment to the German packaging ordinance
Following the amendment to the German packaging ordinance, all certified packaging (packaging that is biodegradable according to DIN EN 13432) will be exempt until 2012 from the DSD recycling fee (DSD – Duales System Deutschland), irrespective of the raw material basis.
Source: BASF-Press Release Apr 26, 2005.