On November 13, 2019 at the Crystal room, Century Park Hotel, the National Metal and Materials Technology Center (MTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA), Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation together with Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBiA) and its alliance have joined in the press conference of Bio-Compostable Plastic Bag. This product results from the research collaboration between MTEC and SMS Corporation Co.,Ltd. to develop bioplastic formulas to be processed into plastics with enhanced engineering properties and suitable characteristic for blowing into a thin film.
Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul, Executive Director of MTEC, mentioned that plastic wastes become a huge problem around the world, and Thailand was ranked the 6th place as the country that disposed largest amount plastic wastes into the ocean. The major cause comes from single-use plastics, which constitutes up to 40% of all the plastic wastes. To cope with this problem, the government has cooperated with various sectors to create an action plan for the plastic waste management in the next 20 years and will first focus on reducing the use of single-use plastic products which are found in a significant amount in the sea of Thailand and deteriorate its ecological environment. To this end, the concept of Red Cross Fair this year was aimed to be a model of “Green Fair” to reduce wastes, especially styrofoam and plastics.
Dr. Julathep mentioned that the key method of the waste management process is the use of plastics bags for collecting and transporting the waste, and most importantly, the organic waste and food waste should not to be contaminated with the recyclable wastes and others. This would help reduce the impact on the health of refuse collectors. Therefore, MTEC has cooperated with the Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBiA) to produce Bio-Compostable Plastic Bags by developing bioplastics formulas using tapioca starch, a raw materials produced in Thailand.
This innovative Bio-Compostable Plastic Bag was produced by Thai researchers and private sectors, and would be used the very first time in the Red Cross Fair 2019, starting from November 15-24, 2019 at the Lumphini Park. The product resulted from the cooperation from various companies, namely Total Corbion Pla (Thailand) Company Limited and BASF (THAI) Co., Ltd, which supplies the raw materials, and Thantawan Industry Public Company Limited, which provides the facilities for processing the raw materials into the plastic bags. Therefore, the government would like to invite everyone to join the the Red Cross Fair this year and help separate the waste within the event as it would help drive and promote the sustainable waste management conforming to the circular economy. Moreover, it would help create new values for the Thais, to be responsible for their consumption and make the societies more livable in accordance with the project’s objectives to change the environment for the better.
Dr. Noppadon Kerddonfag, a researcher of the Plastics Technology, Advanced Polymer Technology Research Group, said that the strength of a Bio-Compostable Plastic Bag is that it made from a natural ingredient, which is tapioca starch produced by SMS Company. The tapioca starch is used as the main raw materials and mixed with heat melting. The research team had designed the technique of mixing process by kneading the materials together to produce a compound tablet or a mixed tablet, which is tough, flexible and strong. It could be easily molded with a machine or a plastic bag dryer, which is sponsored by Thantawan Company, and the result is a prototype of the biodegradable plastic bags. There were 2 sizes of bags provided in the fair, i.e., 18-inch bags for collecting food wastes and 30- inch bags, to be placed more than 40 sorting locations around the area. Also, there would be volunteer teams helping and providing the information of the waste separation methods within the event.
Dr. Noppadon and his research team expect that the Bio-Compostable Plastic Bag would be used in real life, thus facilitating the refuse collectors to manage the wet waste more easily and safely. Although, the research team is confident that that these bags will be decomposed under the right conditions, it had planned to monitor the degradation of the wastes by tracking the garbages and bags for 3 months. Dr. Noppadon concluded that this research results from the cooperation of various parties to encourage people to protect the environment.
Dr. Werawat Lertwanawatana, Managing Director of SMS Corporation Co.,Ltd. and the representative of Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBiA), said that the company supports the modified tapioca starch in the form of plastic pellets, TAPIOPLAST, for the production of Bio-Compostable Plastic Bag using in the Red Cross Fair this year. SMS Company is a manufacturer of modifying tapioca starch for the food, papers, textiles and various industries by using cassava as raw materials and employ the technology and innovation to add value to the casava, thus improving Thai farmers’ lives.
Dr. Werawat also mentioned that currently, there is only 1% of biodegradable plastics used since the production cost is the major problem. If the company can help reduce these costs, it would help maintain the sustainable environment. The development of tapioca starch in the form of TAPIOPLAST plastic pellets and the production of bio-compostable products, such as the film prototype for producing bio-compostable bags, as TAPIOPLAST is compatible with compostable plastic pellets. Thus, it could be used in the production of bioplastic products that contain good quality and naturally biodegradable, turning into carbon dioxide and fertilizers in soil that are beneficial for plants. Therefore, using TAPIOPLAST as the component in the production of biodegradable plastic products is not only help reduce the production cost, but also provide the entrepreneurs to be more competitive on pricing, and it would benefit the environment.
Miss Narissai Mahathitirat, Assistant Managing Director of Thantawan Industry Public Company Limited, stated that Thantawan Company has a policy to support the activities for the sustainable society under the concept of “Thantawan for all sustainable lives” and continuously conducts various social activities. In the Red Cross Fair this year, the company wants to join force with other parties in this Green Fair event and to support the degradable waste bags that can be naturally biodegradable. The company believes that the government, the private sectors and the participants participated in the event this year, aside from consuming good quality products and enjoying the activities, would like to save the environment. Moreover, for the participants who interested in the information of a 100% naturally biodegradable plastic products of the company under the trademark (SUNBIO), which is the company’s innovation and has promoted its to various product lines, such as the business alliances in Modern Trade and other distributors. However, it is very important to remind that the plastic itself is not a culprit, and it would be useful if it was reused and managed into the suitable management methods. Lastly, Thantawan Company as the organization that operates in Thailand, would like to be a part of this campaign together with other partners to support and promote the Red Cross Fair this year.