Biodegradable bags

BASF has developed its first biodegradable plastic based on renewable raw materials.

The plastic Ecovio is manufactured from a blend of polylactic acid (45%), a material obtained from corn (maize), and BASF’s existing biodegradable plastic Ecoflex (55%), which is derived from petrochemicals.

BASF plans to start marketing Ecovio in Europe next spring. The product is also to be launched in Asia and North America in 2006.

Ecovio itself can be used to produce flexible films from which biodegradable carrier bags or other packaging can be made. If other materials are added to it, it can also be used to make items such as mobile phone housings and yogurt cups.

Biodegradable plastics are completely degraded within a few weeks under compositing conditions and may be produced from either petrochemical or renewable raw materials. BASF says that its new plastic Ecovio, however, offers an additional advantage: the polylactic acid used in its manufacture is largely carbon dioxide-neutral when composted.