Thursday, December 22, 2011

PHA Manufacturers to Benefit from the Ban on Plastic in Europe and in America

In November 2011, the City Council of Seattle in the US is considering a ban on single-use plastic bag which is harmful to marine wildlife and recycling machinery. It wants to take the choice away in order to save the environment and money. Council member Mike O'Brien, chair of Seattle's regional development and sustainability committee, says that the proposal is designed to be in line with what most people in Seattle want to protect—the health of Puget Sound and the marine life.

Recently, under the new city law of Seattle, grocers would have to get rid of the thin plastic bags that are doled out at most check-out stands and they would be required to charge a five-cent fee for any paper bags used at checkouts. In fact, international and domestic-related plastic limitation and the policies of plastic degradation encouragement have been launched at present.

Thanks to the trend of ban on plastic launched in the near future, the Chinese PHA manufacturers are optimistic about the future PHA market.

Mr. Zeng, a staff from Shenzhen Ecomann Bio-technology Co., Ltd. (Shenzhen Ecomann) reveals that export of PHA in the company is increasing gradually as the national ban policies on plastic launched in Europe and in the US in 2008-2011. He emphasizes that the export business in Shenzhen Ecomann will maintain a good growth if the national policies launched in the near future.

Mr. Wang, manager of Tianjin Green Bioscience Co., Ltd. (Tianjin Green), explains that PHA products of Tianjin Green are also mainly exported to the US and Europe. He believes that demand of PHA products in the US and Europe will increase as the implementation of ban on plastic in the US and Europe.

Besides, Mr. Zeng explains that PHA is mainly used in production of plastic packaging, especially the fresh wrapping paper, thanks to its great performance in gas barrier property. Recently, the company's PHA products are mainly used in agriculture and medicine areas. Thanks to PHA's bright future, Mr. Zeng claims that Zoucheng Shandong plans to expand its PHA's capacity to 75,000t/a from 5,000t/a. Recently, the company is preparing for the PHA expansion documents to the Chinese government and it is estimated that the company will begin the construction in 2012.

Owing to higher prices of PHA resins than those of conventional plastics, the PHA products are mainly exported to the developed countries. Take Shenzhen Ecomann for example, in early December 2010, it gained approval from the European Union for its PHA to be used in foodstuffs, providing its PHA with  more applications in food and beverage industry. In March 2010, Shenzhen Ecomann has signed an agreement with A&O FilmPAC (a resin distributor in the UK) to entitle it as the sole EU distributor for its PHA. Shenzhen Ecomann didn't set up any other agents except A&O FilmPAC in other countries.

Thanks to the national government support, PHA manufacturers in China have a rapid growth in capacity from 7,035t/a in 2009 to 17,016t/a in 2011. According to the statistics of CCM international, the output of PHA reached 709 tonnes in 2010 in China.

Meanwhile, there have been six active PHA producers in China. Among these PHA producers, only three producers can industrially produce PHA at present and Tianjin Green Bioscience Co., Ltd. is the largest PHA producer with capacity of 10,000t/a. As the second largest PHA producer in China, Shenzhen Ecomann Biotechnology Co., Ltd. has already launched its PHA production line with capacity of 5,000t/a in 2009. As the first domestic PHA producer, Ningbo Tian'an Biologic Material Co., Ltd. (Ningbo Tian'an) has become an important PHBV producer of the world. It is reported that Ningbo Tian'an may expand its PHA capacity from the current 2,000t/a to 5,000t/a in the next several years. Due to high cost of PHA production, Tianjin North Food Co., Ltd. stopped its PHA production line at the end of 2009. Moreover, Lukang Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. has been doing research and development on PHA since 2010, as PHA will have a bright prospect in medicine field.

Source: Industrial Biotechnology China News 1112

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