German chemicals giant BASF SE has declared force majeure for production of its ecoflex and ecovio brand bioplastics after detecting technical defects at its production plant Oct. 13.
The company announced Oct. 18 that it was shutting down its ecoflex plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany, which produces both products.
The chemicals supplier said it was working “intensively” to repair the technical defect and expected the shutdown to last for “at least three weeks.”
The company is also in contact with customers to withdraw the 1,500 metric tons of affected products.
According to BASF, the defect was found in the heating circuit of the plant and as a result “a small amount of the thermal oil Marlotherm SH has entered the product loop.”
The thermal oil is biodegradable.
The technical product and processing properties of ecoflex and ecovio are not affected by the defect and they remain biodegradable, BASF added.
According to the initial calculations, BASF said it did not expect any health risks from intended product applications such as agricultural films, trash bags and coffee capsules.
However, for food contact applications such as thin plastic bags for fruit and vegetables, the product does not meet the required standards.