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|The biodegradable plastics manufacturing line at the An Phat Bioplastics factory|
As of now, An Phat Bioplastics is still the largest nylon manufacturer in Southeast Asia and 100 per cent of its products are exported to numerouscountries on the world, with polyethylene (PE) products being the main source of its revenue. However, at the recent annual shareholders’ meeting organised in mid-April, the leader of the company affirmed that they will refocus on manufacturing biodegradable plastic bags which are environmentally friendly.
Pham Anh Duong, chairman of An Phat Bioplastics cum chairman of An Phat Holdings, said, “Green consumption will be a popular trend in the world and in Vietnam. Our change is to catch up with this trend to ensure the sustainable development of our company and the community.”
Numerous countries have issued bans on nylon and single-use plastics products.
In Vietnam, in early April, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked authorities and people’s committee in cities and provinces to build solutions to stimulate both manufacturers and customers to turn towards environmentally friendly plastics.
Besides, on April 25, the prime minister also flagged plastic garbage as an urgent problem, impacting the ecosystem and the environment every hour and challenging the sustainable development of countries. Thus, the PM called on enterprises and the people to join hands to deal with plastic waste and use environmentally friendly products instead.
|AnEco bags are widely used in supermarkets|
According to Duong, although customers generally understand the benefits of using environmentally friendly products, however, An Phat Bioplastics’ work is cut out for it to change customer behaviour. Besides, there are concerns whether An Phat Bioplastics will be able to maintain its growth momentum after giving up its main PE products to manufacture green packaging. However, the company has been preparing for this change for years now.
Since 2013, An Phat Bioplastics has been investing heavily into R&D to create truly safe plastic products which ensure "microbiological" elements are 100 per cent decomposed when they are buried.
Previously, the company sponsored a number of organisations in Vietnam to study these products, but eventually, the company leadership decided to directly manufacture these products. In 2015, the company launched biodegradable bags under the AnEco brand to export abroad.
An Phat is the first production unit in Vietnam to receive TUV Vincotte OK HOME COMPOST standard for its fully biodegradable bags and is the only Vietnamese company to be recognised as an official member of the European Bioplastic Association. The OK HOME COMPOST standard is one of the highest and most stringent standards, certifying that these products will decompose completely in the home environment when they are buried in the garden or in the normal environment without the need of industrial conditions.
In 2018, AnEco biodegradable bags were launched in Vietnamese markets and are present in almost all supermarkets, including Vinmart, Lotte, Aeon, and Big C. The AnEco brand currently offers numerous products, such as straws, paper cups, and spoons, and the company will continue to research more products.
|AnEco received a warm welcome from customers|
When the company formulates the development plan for these products, the board of directors always considers three factors, namely trendiness (whether the product segment is being watched by customers), profit, and market share. The company saw that manufacturing environmentally friendly bags will create sustainable growth and more benefit for the company compared to general packaging.
An Phat Bioplastics plans to invest in the construction of an environmentally friendly bag manufacturing factory in the US and expects to bring it into operation in the first quarter of 2020 and will distribute the first products in North America.
To date, there are approximately 10 companies manufacturing biodegradable plastic bags, the four largest ones of whom are located in France, Germany, Italy, and China, thus An Phat Bioplastics has found a segment with massive development potential.