The global biodegradable plastic market is expected to grow from 4.2 trillion won in 2019 to 9.7 trillion won in 2025. Under the circumstances, South Korean chemical companies are increasing their R&D and expanding related production facilities.
LG Chem recently developed a completely biodegradable plastic material having the same properties as synthetic resins. In addition, it recently formed a strategic partnership with Neste, the world’s largest biodiesel company, to produce green industrial materials from non-petroleum biomaterials.
In SK Group, SKC and SK Chemicals are concentrating on the development of environment-friendly materials. SKC commercialized biodegradable polylactic acid films in as early as 2009 and the films are currently in wide use for food packaging, beverage bottle labeling, plastic shopping bag production, and so on. SK Chemicals released Ecotria, a material for use in cosmetic containers, by mixing copolyester with post-consumer recycled PET.
Hanwha Solutions is working on a compound of polyethylene and biodegradable plastic in order to overcome the limitations of PLA and PBAT. Samyang Group succeeded in commercializing isosorbide in 2014. It is a biomaterial derived from chemical processing of vegetable starch and capable of replacing chemical materials in paints, adhesives, and so on.
CJ CheilJedang is planning to expand its business scope to cover biological resources development. To this end, the company will build polyhydroxyalkanoate production lines in Pasuruan, Indonesia next year and produce 5,000 tons of the marine biodegradable material a year.