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Biodegradable resin without the performance limitations––and now in Asia too

The EcoPure biodegrading additive, which breaks down petroleum-derived resins in both aerobic and anaerobic composting environments, is now available in Asia through Malaysian company BTE EcoPure (Selangor), The additive is manufactured in the U.S.A. by Bio-Tec Environmental LLC at the company's facility in Albuquerque, NM.

Speaking at the recent M-Plas show in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sales Director James Lee said that, "In loadings of 0.7% up to 4%, the additive has proven itself capable of degrading polyolefins, EVA, polystyrene, PET, and PVC in landfills in as short a time as two months, ranging up to 20 years as confirmed by accelerated testing." Lee says that among current users in Asia is a manufacturer of sports shoes for Brooks, which uses the EcoPure additive in molded shoe soles.

In terms of cost, Lee said, "This would depend on volume, but likely range between $30-50/kg." Based on a 1% loading in a PP film grade, this would peg raw material cost at $1.43-1.63/kg for biodegradable PP versus $1.14 for straight PP film grade, based on recent virgin resin prices in Asia.

Worth it? Yes, according to BTE EcoPure, given that resin performance is not affected at all and that resin can be processed on existing equipment. "You get a biodegradable resin without the performance limitations of polylactic acid (PLA) biodegradable polymer," says BTE EcoPure managing director Christopher Chin.

Visiting the M-Plas stand of BTE EcoPure was Boey Hon Mun, general manager at compounder Compounding & Colouring Sdn Bhd, who said, "PP alone is still environmentally friendly because it's easy to recycle but with this additive, you get the added bonus of biodegradability at end-of-life." Boey added that his company is considering using EcoPure for compounds used in durable applications such as auto parts, rather than packaging and disposable applications. "A key advantage is that we won't have to change our '[compounding] process. Consistency is the key point in compounding and the additive apparently doesn't affect the process."

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