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South Korean chemical company LG Chem has partnered with petrochemical firm TK Chemical to produce biodegradable plastics, LG Chem announced on 12 September.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the production of poly butylene adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT) on 10 September, according to the statement.

A petroleum-based synthetic plastic, PBAT is used in a range of materials such as agricultural vinyl and disposable envelopes.

As part of the agreement, the companies said they were planning to construct a PBAT production line due to become operational by the second half of next year.

The partners said they would also pursue a number of plans including the production of agricultural vinyl and disposable envelope materials and the construction of a marine biodegradable mass production system.

“We will pursue omnidirectional collaboration with various companies in the sustainability sector to continuously strengthen our eco-friendly product portfolio,” LG Chem executive vice president and president of the petrochemicals business Kug Lae Noh said.

The agreement followed an earlier announcement by LG Chem in August that it would start construction of a 50,000 tonnes/year PBAT plant within the year and begin full-scale mass production from 2024.

According to its website, Seoul-based LG Chem is active in the petrochemicals, advanced materials and life sciences sectors and also has a subsidiary specialising in batteries.

A subsidiary of the Samla Midas (SM) Group, TK Chemical is a Korean company specialising in chemical fibres and manufactures polyester (PET), PET-Chip, and spandex.

Since 2019, TK Chemical has also operated a circulating system that collects and recycles plastic (PET) bottles through business agreements with the Ministry of Environment, local governments, and a number of partners, according to the statement.