Filipino firm produces additive to make plastic items biodegradable

May 31, 2010, 3:01pm
Manila Bulletin


The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), an agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), has verified the claim that a unique additive produced by a local company makes plastic materials biodegradable.

The agency has issued Environmental Technology Verification (ETV)-013 for the additive, BioMate®, which is manufactured by First In Colours, Inc. (FIC), a sister company of the publicly listed green technology firm Chemrez Technologies Inc.

This is 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.

“Polyolefin plastics formulated with BioMate® undergo a 2-step degradation process; first by photodegradation and then biodegradation,” said FIC’s Operations Manager Lester Lao.

Lao explained that “photodegradation is the breakdown of plastic by ultra-violet light and thermal energy from the sun. On the other hand, biodegradation is the process where the broken plastic materials are digested by bacteria and living organisms and eventually transform into carbon dioxide, and water.”

If exposed outdoors, films with BioMate will become brittle in 30-45 days and embrittlement continues until films are small enough for bacteria and microorganisms to consume (within 9-12 months). Indoors, shelf life of plastics with BioMate is 6 to 9 months.