Bioplastic producer Cereplast put out this news yesterday about an Italian decree enforcing the legislation of a plastic bag ban effective May 27, 2013.
Cereplast noted that the decree — published on March 18 in Italy’s Official Gazette — stated that merchants must discontinue the use of traditional single-use plastic bags in favor of bioplastic bags or other alternatives (such as paper, woven fabrics of natural fibers, polyamide fibers…). The law reportedly prohibits the use of oxo biodegradable additives and requires Italian merchants to use compostable bags as defined by EN 13432 (a European standard evaluating the biodegradability of a material).
Producers of oxo-biodegradable additives claim that their formulation when added to traditional polymers such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can promote the petroleum plastics’ biodegradation in aerobic environments (such as composting and litter) and anaerobic environments (such as landfills). Unfortunately, the oxo-biodegradable industry is being criticized of lacking data to support their claim, and that instead of complete biodegradation, the plastics reportedly just fragmented.
Cereplast said the fines for non-compliance range between EUR 2,500 and EUR 25,000 ($3,200-$32,100) and may be increased for large quantities of bags.
“This measure normalizes the uncertainties that have hindered the development of the production chain, promotes green chemistry and puts Italy in line with the EU.” – Italian Minister of the Environment Corrado Clini.
You can check out a copy of the decree on this link (in Italian of course). According to Cereplast, their customers have been placing orders in preparation for the decree, and that the company is now expecting larger volume sales to follow.
Cereplast estimates the total addressable market for compostable blown film grades in Italy exceeds $500m and that there are 4 legitimate European-based competitor companies producing compostable blown film with varying revenues between $5m and $120m.
I’m trying to recall who could be possibly producing/supplying compostable blown films in Europe aside from Cereplast. Companies that came to mind include Cardia Bioplastics, FKuR, Metabolix, Biome Bioplastics, BASF, Novamont…I wonder where I can get a list?
Anyway, Cereplast said it expects market opportunity for the company to exceed $50m based on current competition, current production capacity, a full production staff and sufficient working capital. The company is currently producing 3,000 tons/month of its Compostables blown film resins in Seymour, Indiana, with current market pricing of $4,500/ton ($2.25/lb).
The facility is said to be capable of producing in excess of $10m per month at ful capacity. The Cereplast Compostables blown film resins can be processed on traditional equipment without requiring modifications. Here is a video from Cereplast showing the manufacturing of its Compostables blown film resins.
You might want to listen to a funky music and grab a bag of popcorn as the video is all in caption :).