South Korea: Sustainable Solutions LG Chem Announces World’s First Biodegradable Material

Editor: Ahlam Rais

LG Chem claims that the new biodegradable material is the only biodegradable material with 100 % bio contents and is also the only material which offers mechanical properties equivalent to polypropylene.

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LG Chem’s new biodegradable material significantly improves flexibility (elongation) and transparency compared to existing biodegradable materials.
LG Chem’s new biodegradable material significantly improves flexibility (elongation) and transparency compared to existing biodegradable materials.
(Source: LG Chem)

South Korea – LG Chem has successfully developed a new biodegradable material that could realise mechanical properties equivalent to synthetic resins for the first time in the world. Regarding this, LG Chem recently announced that it had developed a new material that significantly improved flexibility (elongation) and transparency compared to existing biodegradable materials through proprietary technologies and production processes.

The new material developed by LG Chem is the only biodegradable material with 100 % bio contents using corn-based glucose and crude glycerol and it is the only material in the world that manifested mechanical properties and transparency equivalent to synthetic resins such as PP (polypropylene).

In the case of existing biodegradable materials, other plastic materials or additives must be mixed to strengthen properties and flexibility, thus having constraints in properties and prices being different per supplier, but the new biodegradable material developed by LG Chem is a single homogenous material, thereby making it possible to achieve the quality desired by customers and properties for its specific use.

In particular, flexibility, which is a core factor, was improved by more than 20 times compared to existing biodegradable products, thus making it possible to maintain transparency even after processing and it is expected that the ripple effect in the eco-friendly packaging industry normally uses biodegradable materials.

Existing biodegradable material have been used as non-transparent packaging material products due to the nature of mixed materials.

In addition, as global disposable product usage regulations are becoming stricter especially focusing around the European Union, it is expected that it can be applied in many other fields such as plastic bags, air cap buffers, disposable cups, foaming products and mask felts, etc. where there is a growing demand for biodegradable materials.

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According to a market survey firm, the biodegradable materials market is expected to grow by 15 % a year from 4.2 trillion KRW in 2019 to 9.7 trillion KRW in 2025.

LG Chem was able to successfully develop new materials since it possessed proprietary platform technologies on core biodegradable materials. Based on this, the LG Chem Future Technology Research Center conducted research on technologies to enhance the molecular weight of core biodegradable materials and to polymerise them, thus successfully developing new biodegradable materials with properties distinguishing itself from existing materials.

LG Chem recently received confirmation that over 90 % of the newly developed biodegradable material was decomposed within 120 days according to the industrial biodegradable certification standards of Europe from the German biodegradable materials international certification agency ‘DIN Certco’.

LG Chem plans to accelerate its entry into the biodegradable materials market based on new technologies it has procured while also expediting procurement of bio materials to expand its business. It is scheduled to conduct prototype evaluations for client companies in 2022 with the goal of mass production in 2025.

LG Chem CTO / President Kisu Ro said, “At a time where there is growing interest around the world in eco-friendly materials, it is very meaningful that we successfully developed biodegradable platform materials with proprietary technologies using 100 % bio ingredients.”

He added, “We will concentrate on R&D in the eco-friendly materials sector and become a leading company for a virtuous circulation of resources and for protecting the ecosystem.”