Japanese company investing $130 million to increase biopolymer production

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In Japan, Kaneka has announced plans to triple production capacity for its biodegradable poly 3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate (PHBH) polymer. The company expects to spend about ¥15 billion (US$130 million) to add 15,000 tons of annual capacity by 2024. The company already has capacity for 5,000 tons a year. 

The biopolymer—sold under the brand Green Planet—is produced from plant oils and biodegrades easily in both soil and water. 

Kaneka estimates Green Planet could replace roughly 25 million tons of traditional single-use plastic products per year worldwide. It is already being used for straws, cutlery, coffee capsules, bags, and films, and these applications alone amount to over 5 million tons per year. 

Kaneka also said it plans to eventually add capacity in Europe and Americas.