CJ Cheiljedang ties up with Yuhan Kimberly to develop consumer goods with biodegradable plastic material

By Lim Chang-won Posted : October 7, 2022, 15:00 Updated : October 7, 2022, 15:00

[Courtesy of CJ Cheil Jedang]

SEOUL -- CJ Cheiljedang, a key subsidiary of South Korea's food and entertainment conglomerate CJ Group, tied up with Yuhan Kimberly, a major domestic sanitary product maker, to promote the development of consumer goods such as diapers, wet wipes, masks, and packaging materials using a biodegradable plastic material produced by bacteria during the fermentation process of sugar or lipids including fats, oils and waxes to store carbon and energy.

CJ Cheiljedang said that the partnership will serve as an opportunity to expand sustainable products based on eco-friendly raw materials. "We will expand the use of eco-friendly biodegradable materials that replace petroleum-based plastics, and daily disposable products will be the starting point," CJ CheilJedang's bio business head Hwang Yun-il said in a statement on October 7.

CJ Cheiljedang has developed polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), that can be used with other monomers to create different types of bioplastics that break down over time. CJ CheilJedang's PHA, which is 100 percent biodegradable even in seawater, has been certified by the Korea Conformity Laboratories (KCL), a state testing and certification organization, for the first time in South Korea.

CJ Cheiljedang is the world's largest producer of lysine, an amino acid used as additives for animal feed and food additives. The company has pushed for white biotechnology that uses living cells to synthesize easily degradable products. The global demand for bioplastics is growing as governments and franchise companies shun polyester products such as plastic bags, plastic straws and disposable cups to protect the environment.

Many degradable plastic products have failed to attract attention because of their weak durability, while some bioplastics are very brittle compared to those made from fossil fuel. CJ Cheil Jedang said that PHAs have overcome such problems. In August 2022, the company signed a business agreement with Accor, a hospitality company in France, to replace plastic products provided by Accor-affiliated hotels with PHA materials. 

In April 2021, CJ Cheil Jedang tied up with SKC, a polyester film and chemical material manufacturer, to produce a flexible and durable bioplastic material that is good for food packaging by utilizing the characteristics of polylactic acid (PLA) and PHAs. PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic polyester obtained by the synthesis of lactic acid, which can be produced from renewable resources.

CJ CheilJedang has built a 5,000-ton PHA production facility in Indonesia. The annual production volume of PHA will be expanded to 65,000 tons by 2025.
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