With the Chinese government getting serious about fighting plastic pollution, biodegradable plastic projects are starting up across the country with the aim of producing green resins.
This includes Qingzhou Tian’an Chemical Co., which is involved in the manufacture of petrochemical and petroleum products and is now looking to produce biodegradable resins in Weifang, Shandong Province, as part of an effort to boost its earnings. The company plans to begin construction on production facilities with 50,000 tons of capacity this February, beyond which it intends to start building a second phase with 150,000 tons of capacity by March 2022.
Tian’an Chemical’s decision to start producing biodegradable resins comes in part from a desire to transition away from a low-profit business built around petroleum products. However, the company has also been driven by Chinese government efforts promoting the production and usage of biodegradable resins as a way to combat plastic pollution.
Kingfa Sci & Tech Co. Ltd., meanwhile, will increase production capacity from 60,000 tons to 170,000 tons at a plant in Zhuhai this year. The company also intends to build a new plant in Hainan Province before the end of the year.
Ningbo Changhong Polymer Scientific and Technical Inc., for its part, will over the next five years construct a biodegradable resin complex with 600,000 tons of capacity in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. The first phase of this project will see Changhong Polymer spend 2.5 billion yuan ($387.3 million) to set up 300,000 tons of production for polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT), polybutylene succinate (PBS) and other such products.
Petrochemical manufacturer Zibo Qixiang Tengda Chemical Co. Ltd. has also come out with construction plans related to biodegradable resins. Specifically, the company will build capacity for 50,000 tons of polylactic acid (PLA) production and 60,000 tons of PBAT production in Qinzhou, Guangxi.
Then there is major petrochemical firm Wanhua Chemical Group Co. Ltd., which intends to set up a new lab in Ningbo during its upcoming five-year plan. The facility will focus on developing products such as PBAT and PLA.
In the background to all this, China’s government has set the goal of establishing a basic system for managing the manufacture, distribution, consumption, collection and disposal of plastic products by 2025. The aim through this is to significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that gets buried in landfills by the country’s major cities.
While this is then seeing around one million tons worth of projects pop up, the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) is concerned that products made with unsophisticated technology will make their way onto the market. And stemming from this, there will be a need to give careful consideration to the full process here, ranging from how these products are used to their collection afterward.