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Biodegradable plastic bags

December 15, 2010

Single-use plastic packaging like plastic bags, plastic trays and protective foam is the cause of major environmental concerns as they present problems concerning multiplying quantity and disposal.  Developing biodegradable plastic made with materials that can be manufactured locally is therefore a great solution to such problems.

MTEC, under NSTDA, has successfully developed biodegradable plastic bags by using a production process in which starch is the main component. Starch is resistant towards humidity and has better physical and mechanical properties.  MTEC’s biodegradable plastic bags are the result of a study of the condition in which the bags were molded and the starch formula improved by adding other complementary components to strengthen the plastic bags, making them suitable for use and able to biodegrade 100% in three months.

This research on biodegradable plastic is part of the development of user-end technology for producing biodegradable products. The technology is for production of granules of plastic compound and producing two main formulas for plastic compound production.  The formulas can be tailored to fit specific usage. The said plastic is composed for biodegradable plastic and starch (50:50) and the film that results from this process is smooth, neat and resilient. Due to its resiliency, the bags can be used to carry various things or organic waste.  They are much cheaper than imported biodegradable bags and plastic bag manufacturers do not have to modify their machines or change the equipment used in the production process.

As a result of a compound formula that consists of a higher amount of starch, fewer biodegradable plastic granules are used and the production cost is cut by more than 50%.  The old formula uses polylactic acid or polyester imported from other countries. Moreover, the plastic resin compound can be molded by using film-blow molding machines and plastic injection machines without having to modify the machines in any way, thus saving time and costs of having to modify or purchase new machines.

MTEC has established the first “Testing Laboratory for Biodegradability of Plastic” in Thailand, which has been accredited the ISO 14855 and ASTM D5338.  The lab offers testing services for biodegradable-plastic manufacturers.

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