The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) had licensed a new product called BioMate that makes plastic materials biodegradable, issuing Environmental Technology Verification (ETV)-013 for the additive.
BioMate, manufactured by First In Colours Inc. (FIC), a sister company of the publicly listed green technology firm Chemrez Technologies Inc., was the first such additive in the P75-billion Philippine plastics film and bags industry to be verified by the ITDI as making plastics both photo and biodegradable — although many imported additives sold in the local market have made similar claims.
FIC’s operations manager Lester Lao said that polyolefin plastics formulated with BioMate undergo a two-step degradation process; first by photodegradation and then biodegradation.
Photodegradation is the breakdown of plastic by ultra-violet light and thermal energy from the sun while biodegradation is the process where the broken plastic materials are digested by bacteria and living organisms and eventually transform into carbon dioxide (CO2), and water (H2O).
If exposed outdoors, films with BioMate will embrittle in 30 to 45 days and will continue until films are small enough for bacteria and microorganisms to consume (within 9 to 12 months). On the other hand, shelf life of plastics with BioMate indoors is six to nine months.
BioMate has been formulated in response to public clamor for more environment-friendly products, especially since chronic flooding during the wet season is usually blamed on non-biodegradable plastics clogging waterways.
Being the first and only such Filipino product, BioMate is a testament to the pioneering spirit of FIC, a company also known for introducing custom colorants to the plastic industry.