Bio-on has inaugurated its first bioplastics production plant in Castel San Pietro Terme, Italy.

The new plant will produce biodegradable special polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics, which can be made into niche, high-value market products such as replacements for the harmful and non-biodegradable oil-based plastic microbead particles that are used in the cosmetics industry.

The first product to be produced at the plant will be Minerv Bio Cosmetics.

At the plant, more than 20 researchers in Bio-on’s cosmetic, nanomedicine and smart materials (CNS) division will test new carbon sources from agricultural waste with an aim to produce new types of biodegradable bioplastic.

Bio-on chairman and CEO Marco Astorri said: “From today, thanks to our bioplastic, many companies will have the chance to protect the environment and give ecological credentials to their products, in compliance with ever more stringent limits on the use of conventional plastics.

“Thanks to our bioplastic, many companies will have the chance to protect the environment and give ecological credentials to their products.”

“We are very pleased because, since March 2017 when the first stone was laid, we have kept to our schedule and kept the promises we made to the market.”

Located outside Bologna, the 30,000m2 production facility has a space covering an area of 3,700m2 and an additional 6,000m2 land for development.

Bio-on made a total investment of €20m for the development of the production plant in addition to new research laboratories.

The Castel San Pietro Terme plant has a current production capacity of 1,000t every year.

The new production hub is managed by Bio-on plants, the division responsible for production, future expansion and development of new plants. Bio-on plants director Riccardo Casoni said: “Like all complex industrial plants, the new production hub is running a series of tests before becoming fully operational in the autumn.”