Kaneka Corporation (Headquarters: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President: Mamoru Kadokura) has determined to expand a manufacturing facility (Takasago Manufacturing Site) of biodegradable polymer (Product name: Kaneka Biodegradable Polymer PHBH). The production capacity will be about 5,000 ton per year with an investment amount of 2.5 billion yen and will begin operating in December 2019.
“Kaneka Biodegradable Polymer PHBH”, which is derived from 100% plants and has superior biodegradability, is now actively getting applied to fruits and vegetable bags or compost*1 bags in Europe where the restrictions have been tightened to reduce disposal plastic bags, contributing to the increase in sales. Furthermore, while microplastics*2 pollution emerges as a global concern, PHBH is not only certified*3 as biodegradable in seawater, but also registered as “Food Contact Substance*4” from FDA*5 in March this year. We expect increase in demand for a wide application of PHBH such as to sea material or food package in the future.
Global demand for biodegradable plastic*6 is predicted to be over a million ton in 2022 with huge market expansion. By the manufacturing capacity reinforcement of this time, Kaneka will establish a production facility which meets rapidly growing demands and at the same time develop further applications. For the next step, we have collaterally started considering a commercial plant with production capacity of 20,000 ton per year to realize the full-scale business expansion.
*1 A processing method to decompose organic matter like garbage by the work of microorganisms into compost, or compost thereof.
*2 Fine plastic trash (less than 5 mm). The impact on ecosystems of the contained or absorbed chemical matter entering the food chain arises much concern. It is said that they generate from microbeads or plastic products used for scrub contained in face-wash or toothpaste which are crashed into pieces of less than 5 mm in the natural environment.
*3 Kaneka acquired the “OK Biodegradable MARINE” certificate in September 2017 from Vincotte, an international certification organization based in Belgium. Vincotte succeeded certification service to TÜV AUSTRIA Belgium NV in December 2017.
*4 Material which is used as a ingredient formulated to manufacture, package, wrap, transport or preserve food, and is evaluated its risk based on the actual amount of exposure to the applied food and is certified by EDA that it has no significant effect in use.
*5 A governmental organization of U.S. in charge of approval or conformity control of products which consumers have contact with in daily life, such as food or medicine in addition to cosmetics, clinical instrument, animal drug or toy.
*6 Estimated by Kaneka according to European Bioplastics, an industrial organization specialized in bioplastic matter in Europe.