TOKYO (Aug. 20, 11:15 a.m. ET) — Japan's Toray Industries Inc. has developed what it says is the first biodegradable polylactic acid film resin made without costly solvents, and it plans to set up commercial production in 2014 initially targeting agricultural markets.
The company, headquartered in Tokyo, said that previous biodegradable PLA films needed an expensive solvent to manufacture, but the company has developed a new particle dispersion technology to create breathable microporous PLA film that can be used in agriculture and healthcare applications such as sanitary napkin and disposable diapers.
A company spokesman said details of the commercial production, including amounts invested, have not been decided.
The company said most agricultural film is now polyethylene, but replacing it with a biodegradable polymer like PLA will reduce environmental problems and waste from the plastic film, which is used to cover fields and help protect and insulate some crops, among other uses.