PHA plant starts up in Italy, targets microbeads

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In Italy, Bio-On has started up its first polyhydroxyalkanoate bioplastics plant for markets such as cosmetics microbeads. The €20 million investment—which includes associated research laboratories to expand the range of applications—is designed to produce 1,000 metric tons per year.

“From today, thanks to our bioplastic, many companies will have the chance to protect the environment and give ecological credentials to their products, in compliance with ever more stringent limits on the use of conventional plastics,” Bio-on Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri tells Chemical Engineering Online.

The unit is undergoing tests and is expected to be fully operational some time in the fall, Riccardo Casoni, Bio-on Plants director, adds. The first product out of the plant will be Minerv Bio Cosmetics bioplastic microbeads to replace petroleum-based microbeads that end up in the ocean and have been subject to recent regulatory bans.