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Supermarket giants gain compostable bag boost with the aid of expanded Novamont plant.

Posted on Oct 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Supermarket giants gain compostable bag boost with the aid of expanded Novamont plant (Courtesy of Novamont)“In all of this, the world of agriculture and the soil and its preservation and regeneration are of vital importance.”

Italian bio-plastics company Novamont has launched its revamped Mater-Bioploymer plant this month with a significant expanded capacity from 120,000 tonnes to 150,000 tonnes per year. The converted facility, which previously manufactured polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and is based in Rome, will allow Novamont to increase its production of ORIGO-BI renewable bio-polyesters and MATER-BI compostable bio-plastics. This year has seen a large number of retailers switch from fossil fuel-based bags to compostable bags in response to growing customer pressure. These compostable bio-plastics have been used to replace conventional plastics in products varying from coffee cups and carrier bags to cutlery and straws.

Novamont’s total investment in the plant is around €70 million, which is set to rise to €100 million over the next three years.

In a statement, the company said it had also perfected a process of wastewater purification that will operate on the site to obtain tetrahydrofuran (THF) from renewable sources. THF is a chemical intermediate used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce hormone drugs and antidepressants. It will be the industrially produced bio-THF.

The additional capacity will help Novamont (@Novamont) to meet the demands of recent compostable bags supply deals with European retailers, including Leclerc, Co-op, Carrefour, Delhaize and Esselunga.

Speaking about the new plant, Catia Bastiloli (@Bastioli), CEO at Novamont, said: “Novamont’s industrialisation efforts over the last few years have been enormous and have few equals anywhere in Europe.”

She also said that the whole supply chain needed to work together towards a regenerative approach to natural resources, which would provide a “great opportunity to redesign our society on a sustainable basis with its roots on the land”.

“In all of this, the world of agriculture and the soil and its preservation and regeneration are of vital importance.”

The conversion of the old plant, which was formerly owned by Italian chemicals company Mossi & Ghisolfi and was acquired by Novamont in 2016, has seen large parts of the site upgraded to be able to use Novamont’s technologies, which are capable of producing ORIGO-BI bio-polyesters from raw materials such as the bio-based monomers bio-butanediol and azelaic acid in an increasingly sustainable, low-emission way.

The new plant forms part of Novamont’s circular bioeconomy model, which has seen six interconnected reactivated sites, four proprietary technologies and a number of service plants capable of producing new products come online, providing a template for local regeneration through the reutilisation of decommissioned infrastructure.

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Topics: BBWNChemicals, ProcessRefining&Plants

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About the Author

Liz Gyekye
Liz Gyekye
Liz has spent more than ten years working in the waste management and bioenergy sector as a more