Development of biodegradable and practical PLA resin


1、 PLA resin is generally  made of plant-derived components and is biodegradable, so it meets the recent demand for reducing environmental loads. In addition, it has a high melting point and crystallinity among biodegradable materials, and it is favored due to its practicality It is widely used in various products.

2、However, PLA resin exhibits biodegradability in a composting environment with high temperature and humidity, but its biodegradation rate is extremely slow in oceans, rivers and soils, so there are long-term microplastic residues; on the contrary, if the biodegradability is improved, Its usefulness will be impaired, for example, its strength will be reduced.

3、In order to solve these problems, a PLA resin that is both biodegradable and practical was developed by adding a new type of biodegradation accelerator to the PLA polymer. Degrades faster than conventional products without compromising crystallinity and formability.

Features of the developed product

1、 Excellent biodegradability and practicality

Generally speaking, when PLA polymer is hydrolyzed to less than 10,000Mn (number average molecular weight), it can be eaten by bacteria and fungi and degraded into carbon dioxide and water. By adding a biodegradation accelerator, the product developed this time promotes hydrolysis and can reduce molecular weight faster than PLA polymers without additives. Therefore, biodegradation is promoted faster even in oceans, rivers and soils. On the other hand, during processing and storage, as with common PLA polymers, the decrease in molecular weight is small, thus achieving practicality without compromising crystallinity and formability.

2、 Support various processing and molding

Since it can be processed and shaped like ordinary PLA polymers, it can be processed and shaped into resins, films, injection/extruded products, textiles, non-woven fabrics, etc. The degradation time can also be controlled by adjusting the amount and condition of the biodegradation accelerator. For example, when using it for materials related to agriculture and fishing, the degradation time can be set according to the desired service life.

3、Reduction of environmental load

The PLA resin developed this time contributes to the reduction of microplastics as it also promotes faster biodegradation in oceans, rivers and soil. Furthermore, since it is made from plant-derived ingredients, it can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions during the life cycle of the product.

Future Prospects

1、 Production and sales of processed products such as pellets, injection/extrusion products, textiles and non-woven fabrics will start in the future.

2、Start production and sales of the material in 2023, aiming to achieve sales of several hundred million yen in 2026.