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Environment

Japan's Kaneka to quadruple plastic that biodegrades at sea

Chemical company spends $130m to expand production of PHBH polymer

If products made with Kaneka's biodegradable polymer are dumped into the sea, more than 90% of the total eventually decomposes into carbon dioxide and water. (Photo courtesy of Kaneka)

TOKYO -- Kaneka, a Tokyo-based chemical company, plans to ramp up production of a biodegradable polymer that can be used for a broad array of plastic applications to 20,000 tons per year, four times the current output.

Kaneka's polymer, dubbed PHBH, is biosynthesized by microorganisms using plant oils as the primary raw material, according to the company. The 100% plant-derived polymer is certified to biodegrade in seawater. If PHBH products are dumped into the sea, microorganisms will eventually digest more than 90% of them into carbon dioxide and water, the company says.

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