AS the Philippines mulls a ban on single-use plastics, listed firm D&L Industries, Inc. is hopeful of the potential of biodegradable plastics.

The Lao-led manufacturing firm said in a statement over the weekend the two solutions made by its subsidiaries D&L Polymers & Colours, Inc. (DLPC) and First in Colours, Inc. (FIC) — Biorez and Biomate — will prepare it in case the Philippines implements a ban on single-use plastics.

“We are optimistic on the potential of biodegradable plastics as the world shifts towards more sustainable and environment-friendly materials,” D&L President and Chief Executive Officer Alvin D. Lao said in the statement.

DLPC currently develops Biorez, a “ready-to-use compound” which it said may be “instantly molded into various single-use plastic applications such as films, straws, cutlery, cups, etc.”

The advantage of the product is it can hasten biodegration of a plastic product to 90% in a span of six months if given proper environmental conditions in a composting facility. “The end-product of this composting process is either high value fertilizer or biomass feedstock for electricity generation,” D&L said.

For FIC, it created Biomate, an additive that can be mixed into plastics to achieve 90% biodegration in two years. The product can be added to plastics produced from polyolefins, making it ideal for perishable product packaging such as in meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. FIC noted Biomate does not leave persistent microplastics in the process of biodegration.

“Over the long-term, we continue to innovate by investing in R&D (research & development) as part of our strategy to stay ahead of the curve. In addition to biodegradable plastics, there are several other product developments in the pipeline that provide runway for growth,” Mr. Lao said.

The Philippines is joining a global call for the reduction of single-use plastics. A bill currently lies with the House of Representatives seeking to impose an excise tax on the material, which has been approved by the Ways and Means committee last week.

A separate bill has also been filed in the Senate that proposes to ban manufacturing, importing and using all single-use plastics.

“While this will likely put pressure on manufacturers of single-use plastics, there is a greater opportunity for us to increase our relevance to customers and provide innovative and higher value-added products,” DLPC and FIC Managing Director Lester A Lao was quoted in D&L’s statement as saying.

He noted, however, that “it may not be possible” to completely ban single-use plastics instantly, referring to demands in medical and personal care.

“Plastic is a technological advancement that continues to play a crucial role in modern-day society. We believe that educating people to properly dispose, sort, and segregate, is the key to address the negative environmental impact of single-use plastics,” Mr. Lao said.

Earnings from the plastics business of D&L went down 18% in the nine months to September as its net income slumped 29% to P617 million.

Shares in the company at the stock exchange ended 0.20 points or 2.33% up to P8.80 each on Friday. — Denise A. Valdez