Two new members of BASF's biodegradable plastics family have been introduced: a thermoformable version for food trays and the first injection-molding grade for complex and high quality packaging, including thin-wall applications. Introduced by BASF in 2006 as the umbrella brand for all future biodegradable compounds based on renewable raw materials, Ecovio's first application was for flexible films that could be used to produce plastic shopping bags and mulch film. These were soon joined by a foaming grade of Ecovio, and grades with enhanced compostability that were suitable for paper coating and shrink film applications.
BASF's Ecovio biodegradable compostable plastics are all made from a combination of Ecoflex (BASF's biodegradable polyester) and PLA. The company does not manufacture the PLA itself, but purchases this from a U.S. supplier. The two new products both contain more than 50% bio-based content, Sabine Phillipp, communications manager performance polymers at BASF, told PlasticsToday. Both are available in commercial quantities. However, because of its special properties and specific manufacturing processes, these materials are definitely more expensive than conventional packaging materials. How much more depends on the specific application, according to Philipp....