14th September 2017
The first batch of Bonsucro certified sugar for production of Corbion PLA (Poly Lactic Acid) was delivered last month to the Total Corbion site in Rayong, Thailand. For the first time, PLA biopolymer resins made from Bonsucro certified sugarcane are commercially available.
Corbion, headquartered in Gorinchem, the Netherlands, is a leading producer of PLA polymers and lactide monomers. As part of its 50/50 joint venture with Total (‘Total Corbion’), Corbion has constructed a lactic acid polymerisation plant in Rayong, Thailand. PLA is a biobased and biodegradable plastic produced with renewable biomass feedstocks like sugarcane, offering an alternative to fossil-based plastics. Using Bonsucro certified cane sugar as a feedstock, sugar is converted to lactic acid through fermentation, which in turn is used as a base for bio-based innovations, such as PLA bioplastic pellets. PLA pellets are used in a broad range of applications, such as packaging, consumer goods and automotive components.
Total Corbion’s Senior Marketing Director, François de Bie, highlighted the benefits that sugarcane-derived bioplastics can bring: “A reduced carbon footprint and the multiple end-of-life solutions that PLA offers are key reasons why many brand owners convert from traditional plastics to PLA bioplastics.” Such credentials suggest some of the reasons behind the continuous growth of the bioplastics market. “With the Bonsucro certification, we now offer our customers the guarantee that the biomass used to produce PLA was grown supporting the principles of sustainable agriculture”.
Total Corbion are investing in the bioplastics industry in Thailand and are sourcing their raw materials from Mitr Phol, the Thailand-based mill group with two Bonsucro certified mills. The innovative portfolio is the result of continuous improvement and commitment towards sustainable sourcing, recently outlined in a whitepaper published by the company.
The whitepaper highlights Total Corbion’s position regarding feedstock sourcing and selection for bioplastics, land use, feedstock efficiency and food security. In addition, Corbion have developed and implemented their own sugarcane Code of Conduct for their suppliers, based on Bonsucro’s definitions for sustainable sugarcane and derived products.
The future of PLA looks sweet, as Total and Corbion contribute to the growth of Bonsucro certified sugarcane production in Asia.
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