Phthalate-free plasticiser for plastic packaging Plasticiser is a polymer additive that serves to increase the polymer’s flexibility, elongation or ease of processing. The total global consumption of plasticisers is approximately 6 million tonnes, of which 13% are non-phthalate plasticisers. This presentation on plasticisers was made by Chok Hak Leong from speciality chemicals firm Lanxess’s Functional Chemicals business unit at PRA’s Green Packaging conference held recently in Jakarta.
he global market for phthalate-free plasticisers is currently estimated at EUR1.3 billion – with annual growth rates of around 7%. An increase in demand is also being observed in global growth markets such as Latin America. Asia has been building up significant capacities of plasticisers, attaining half of the total global capacity in the recent years. Asia’s capacity is largely designed towards high-volume general purpose plasticisers ( DEH P , DI N P ) , whereas capacities for non-phthalate plasticisers are largely concentrated in the Western hemisphere, where Lanxess’s Chok Hak Leong speaking at PRA’s Green Packaging conference regulations are much more stringent. in Jakarta Phthalate-free plasticisers gaining importance Phthalate-free plasticisers have been growing in demand due to legislative initiatives in developed markets such as North America, Western Europe and Japan. The trend is now being seen in emerging markets around the world such as Latin America. Regulators are calling for consumer products such as toys, food packaging and cables to contain the flexible plastic PVC, which has only been processed by phthalate-free plasticisers. Lanxess already enjoys a leading position in the phthalate-free plasticiser segment, driven by its current portfolio that includes the flagship product Mesamoll – a 100% phthalate-free platiciser based on alkyl sulfonic esters. In 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of Mesamoll II in packaging for dry and aqueous-based food. In Europe, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also approved the use of Mesamoll in food contact applications.
Flexible PVC represents up to 90% of global plasticiser demand
As a leading supplier of phthalate-free plasticisers, Lanxess has large capacities, expertise in production and a global distribution network. Its key products include Mesamoll, Adimoll, Ultramoll and Unimoll. Tightening regulations on phthalate-free plasticisers Authorities are increasingly restricting the use of phthalate-containing plasticisers for consumer goods such as toys, food packaging and cables. As a result of legal initiatives, demand for phthalate-free plasticisers is growing in markets such as North America, Western Europe and Japan.
n All phthalate plasticisers are continuously losing market share n Those that are subject to specific regulation (e.g. REACh-SVHC) are declining even more rapidly
The global plasticiser market is going through a structural change towards compliant products
In recent years the rate of substitution of phthalatebased plasticisers with non-phthalates has accelerated noticeably, largely driven by rapidly increasing regulatory and public pressures. As of 1 May 2011, Commission Regulation (EU) No.10/2011 has set the rules that plastic materials and articles that come into contact with food are to be regulated by consolidating 14 directives of EU regulation on plastics including plastic packaging. For instance, plasticisers used in cling films in Europe have to be listed in the Regulation (EU) No.10/2011, where food contact materials must not transfer their components into the foods in unacceptable quantities (migration). Similarly, FDA compliances are applied in the US.
sugarcane processing as starting materials. Together with BioAmber, Lanxess is aiming to produce phthalate-free plasticisers from bio-based succinic acid from 2012 onwards. With the acquisition of UNITEX and the partnership with BioAmber, Lanxess now has access to an additional capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year, plus an extensive portfolio of phthalate-free plasticisers such as benzoates, citrates and trimellitates. ◆
Leading in the market through acquisitions Recently, two major moves by Lanxess reinforced its market position as a leader in the phthalate-free plasticisers production industry: In October this year, the company announced its acquisition of American firm UNITEX Chemical Corporation based in Greensboro, North Carolina. Through this acquisition, Lanxess has gained access to UNITEX’s flexible manufacturing facility coupled with an extensive portfolio of phthalate-free plasticisers, including benzoates, citrates and trimellitates. UNITEX’s product portfolio further strengthened Lanxess’s Mesamoll, Unimoll, Adimoll and Ultramoll brands. Shortly after this acquisition, Lanxess announced its partnership with US-based global leader in succinic acid BioAmber. BioAmber produces succinic acid through the fermentation of renewable raw materials. The process developed by BioAmber consumes considerably less energy than the production of succinic acid using fossil fuels, is significantly more costeffective and has a better carbon footprint. In the future, the company plans to use waste from the agriculture industry and
“…With the acquisition of UNITEX and the partnership with BioAmber, Lanxess now has access to an additional capacity of 50,000 tonnes/year....”