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issue 03/2021

Highlights: Bottles / Blow Moulding Joining Bioplastics Basics: Carbon Capture

Chinaplas Review

Chinaplas Review CHINAPLAS 2021 C HINAPLAS 2021 closed on April 16 with a total of 152,134 visitors (149,771 local and 2,363 overseas). Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the move to the new venue at Shenzhen World Exhibition & Convention Center, Chinaplas has once again proved itself to be a high-standard platform for presenting new technologies and sourcing latest products for the plastics and rubber industries. Bioplastics were again presented in a special bioplastics zone split into two areas in hall 13 and 16. With an exhibition area of over 350,000 m², Chinaplas 2021 hosted more than 3,600 leading exhibitors from all over the world, showcasing 3,800+ machines, raw materials, chemicals, and other solutions. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we couldn’t travel from Germany to Shenzhen this year. So, we cannot give a detailed report about what was shown in the bioplastics zone. This is why our esteemed colleague John Leung (Biosolutions) shares with us his insight about the general Chinese bioplastic market on the following pages. The bioplastics market in China In the past, the bioplastics market in China mainly focused on biodegradable plastics.y. Nobody really cared about the biobased content. There hadn’t been any legislation to encourage a higher biobased content on government level. Biobased materials like starch and natural fibres are used because of cost reduction. The announcement of a carbon neutral target for the year 2060 has changed the situation. Different levels from the Chinese government are now planning how to meet this target. A common point is to reach a carbon maximum no later than 2025. In other words, from 2026 onwards carbon emissions must be reduced. Different legislation or promotion of biobased content will come into place. Biobased content will have to be integrated into companies’ long-term development strategies. Until 2020, the total demand for biodegradable plastics in China was less than 10,000 tonnes per year. Due to three important laws in China, the existing demand for biodegradable plastics has rapidly increased to over 200,000 tonnes. The first law in October 2020 was the ban of non-biodegradable materials for single use straws. As a result, a new market for 50,000 t/a was created. Unlike in western countries, in China straws are not limited to cold drinks, but they also widely used for hot milk tea. For this application, PBS with its heat resistance of up to 85 °C has a huge advantage over certain other biodegradable plastic materials. In a second regulation in November 2020, the Hainan Province became the first in China to ban non-biodegradable plastics for shopping bags. This will increase the market for PBAT to 40,000 t/a. The third and most important law came in April 2021. From July 1 st 2021 Beijing will ban any use of non-biodegradable single use shopping bags. This legislation in China’s Capital City clearly shows that the Chinese government has confidence to reach the target of a national ban of nonbiodegradable plastic bags in 2025. The demand in China will be over 2.5 million t/a in 2025. At that time, China will be the largest consumer of biodegradable plastics but also the country with the largest biodegradable plastics production capacities. The government’s direction into biodegradable plastics is certain because China is spending a lot of effort to build up an internal circular economy to reduce the country’s dependence on petroleum imports. China’s production capacity of 100 % biobased PLA, which was just below 50,000 tonnes in 2020 will rapidly increase to 200,000 tonnes at the end of 2021. The total PLA capacity in China may exceed 3 million tonnes by 2025. PBAT is a fossil based bioplastic, but 50 % of the butanediol (BDO) needed can be made of abundantly available natural gas from North West China. The 2020 capacity of less than 100,000 tonnes is projected to increase to 500,000 tonnes by the end of this year, the total supply to reach 5 million tonnes by 2025. Let’s look at the market situation in Hainan in the first quarter of 2021. From the predicted 10,000 tonnes of biodegradable plastic materials only 5,000 to 6,000 tonnes are actually consumed. While big brand names and chain supermarket already switched to biodegradable plastic bags, in the second line markets hardly any real biodegradable bags can be found, although many are claimed to be biodegradable. Legislation is important for the growth of the biodegradable plastic market but the enforcement of special regulations on the punishment of fake products are just as important. Another interesting debate is that China is incinerating or landfilling waste. So, many people think “what is the point of using biodegradable plastic bags?” Here a sustainable economy loop should be created. In Hainan plans for two anaerobic digestion plants are discussed. However, until now no company has shown any interest. The Hainan government may have to take responsibility to build the first anaerobic digestion factory in the province to prove that the solution works. JL / MT www.chinaplasonline.com 12 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/21] Vol. 16

Automotive 2020 / 21 The Bioplastics Award will be presented during the 15th European Bioplastics Conference Nov 30 - Dec 01, 2021, Berlin, Germany PRESENTS THE FIFTEENTH ANNUAL GLOBAL AWARD FOR DEVELOPERS, MANUFACTURERS, AND USERS OF BIOBASED AND/OR BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS. Call for proposals Enter your own product, service, or development, or nominate your favourite example from another organisation Please let us know until August 31 st 1. What the product, service, or development is and does 2. Why you think this product, service, or development should win an award 3. What your (or the proposed) company or organisation does Your entry should not exceed 500 words (approx. 1 page) and may also be supported with photographs, samples, marketing brochures, and/or technical documentation (cannot be sent back). The 5 nominees must be prepared to provide a 30 second videoclip and come to Berlin on Nov. 30 More details and an entry form can be downloaded from www.bioplasticsmagazine.de/award supported by bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/21] Vol. 16 13

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