South Korean companies ride the eco-friendly wave

Market Expertz   |     July 22, 2019


Major chemical companies based in South Korea are expediting research and development as well as commercialization of eco-friendly plastics. Currently, Bioplastics are the center of attention across the globe and rapid growth is seen in environment protection efforts due to the issue of non-biodegradable plastic waste.

Lotte Chemical Corp. has gradually been expanding research on eco-friendly products and technologies to address the green plastic issue. The company is also running an “innovation group” within its research center in keeping with its 5Rs model – reuse, reduce, recycle, replacement, and resign. The company is also collaborating with its affiliates to work on manufacturing biodegradable products made with waste plastics. It has already achieved success in producing bio-PET, using bio ethylene glycol derived from plants like sugar cane. SK Global Chemicals Co. is responsible for developing high crystalline polypropylene plastic (HCPP). HCPP is exceptionally robust and can give the same results as traditional plastic, with a small quantity, and has significantly lowered the use of plastic by 10 percent as compared to the general-purpose plastic. It is widely used in automotive interior as well as exterior materials, a prominent sector where the company is working to incorporate its green plastic products. SK is actively working to develop polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic made from renewable biomass, usually from fermented plant starch like sugarcane, corn, or cassava.

Hanwha Chemical Corp. is a supplier of green plasticizer “ECO-DEHCH” for leading wallpaper manufacturers. Plasticizers are typically used as an additive to increase the flexibility of plastics. Phthalate plasticizers are becoming a popular choice due to the concerns regarding the harmfulness of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Hanwha initially commercialized ECO-DEHCH after dedicating eight years to its development. Despite the apparent progress, the South Korean companies are moving at a pace slower than foreign companies as they have to tackle the high price barrier, reduced demands, and other hindrances in commercialization.

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