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Project to Promote Use of Biodegradable Bags Launched

2009-12-10 17:35

Project to support recommendations for bioplastics environmental policy

BANGKOK, Thailand, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- The National Innovation Agency (NIA), Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ: German Technical Cooperation), Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA) and BASF today launched a pilot project to highlight the potential of composting as a feasible and effective waste management option. The pilot project is a first for Thailand and will demonstrate the use biodegradable plastic bags to collect household organic waste in the most efficient way, as well as the potential of producing organic matter or fertilizer from organic waste.

The project will support the recommendations for the bioplastics environmental policy to build composting facilities in Thailand, as it is the infrastructure required to fully realize the potential of composting. When the model is endorsed, the potential production capacity of high quality organic fertilizer is 6 million tons annually, which could be exported.

"The pilot project is a key initiative towards the development of the bioplastics industry as one of Thailand's new wave industries. In evaluating and developing sustainable options for end-of-life product waste management, we have to remember that landfilling of organic, biodegradable waste generates methane - a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide - and composting helps to reduce emission levels of this harmful green house gases. For the first time, since we put forth the road map for the development of the bioplastics industry which was approved by the Cabinet in 2008, we are implementing measures at a community level," said Dr. Suchinda Chotipanich, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and Technology and Chairman of the Bioplastics Industry Development Subcommittee.

As part of the launch, which was held at the pilot plant site in the Kradangar District of Samut Songkhram Province, a community outreach group consisting of community leaders and students promoted the use of biodegradable plastic bags to 730 households.

"The pilot project further demonstrates that Thailand is well-placed to achieve its goals backed by strong supporting industries, international alliances, active industry cooperation and supportive governmental policy. We believe that the project will provide useful information to support recommendations for the bioplastics environmental policy. Additionally, to further raise environmental awareness and encourage the use of environmentally friendly products as a new social norm. This in turn will be a significant boost to Thailand's ambitions of becoming a key bioplastics player in the region" said Dr Supachai Lorlowhakarn, Director of NIA.

Recommendations for the bioplastics environmental policy, which is expected to be completed within the next six months, will outline the infrastructure, framework, instruments and guidelines to promote the use and production of bioplastics in Thailand.

The biodegradable plastic bags could be made of cassava starch and calcium carbonate compounded with BASF's Ecoflex, a fully-biodegradable, compostable polyester which is tear-resistant, puncture-resistant, waterproof, printable and elastic. Ecoflex significantly improves the functionality of raw materials based on renewable resources and as such has been used in the production of the biodegradable bags to provide very demanding mechanical properties.

"Fully biodegradable and compostable polyesters can make a significant contribution to efficient biowaste management. BASF is a global market leader in the area of biobased and biodegradable polyesters, and our Ecoflex is already commonly used in Thailand for organic waste bags, carrier bags and shopping bags. Our participation in the pilot projects demonstrates our firm commitment and contribution towards Thailand's ambitions of developing the bioplastics industry. We believe this project will also be an excellent showcase for other countries in the region which are considering a similar initiative" said Dr. Jens Hamprecht, Head of Global Product Management, Biodegradable Polymers, BASF.

About BASF

BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics and performance products to agricultural products, fine chemicals as well as oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF helps its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF posted sales of more than euro 62 billion in 2008 and had approximately 97,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at http://www.basf.com .

MEDIA CONTACTS

Maki Okura

Corporate Communications, BASF Japan

Tel: +81-3-3796-4865

Fax: +81-3-3796-4111

EMail: maki.okura@basf.com

Source: The National Innovation Agency (NIA); German Technical Cooperation (GTZ); Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA) and BASF

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