GEORGE TOWN: Fancy having a meal and eating the containers too? You can when edible plates and cups hit the local market at the end of the year.
Biodegradable product manufacturer Green World Biotech Sdn Bhd is investing RM100 million in Penang over the next four years to set up a plant that will churn out edible containers from cane husks and other agro-based materials.
The facility on a 4ha site at Penang Science Park on the mainland would start production by the fourth quarter of this year, Green World CEO and managing director P Ramaness told a press conference yesterday.
Phase One will commence production this year, making seven types of food packs, including biodegradable cups, plates, lunch boxes, burger boxes and hospital meal trays.
Phase Two, involving the production of biodegradable garbage and supermarket bags, will be launched by February 2011.
Ramaness said the company was also negotiating with MAS to supply biodegradable meal boxes on its flights.
The company is also designing packaging products for electronics applications, telecommunications devices packaging, audio/video packaging, medical packaging and other related products.
Unlike other packaging materials, the products have a shelf-life of two years and once discarded, would become organic material within 45 days.
“We already have orders from American and European companies in the food packaging industry and we are also negotiating with hypermarket and supermarket chains in Australia and New Zealand to supply these products this year.
“Though the cost of these products will initially be 30% to 40% higher than the polysterene variety, we hope to make our prices comparable in the near future, when we are fully operational in four years,” Ramaness said.
He said 80% of the products would be exported and the rest marketed locally.
Green World will spend RM20 million in its first year of operations and initially employ 80 workers, gradually increasing the number to 1,000 in four years.
In announcing the investment, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said with the European Union’s requirement that only biodegradable products be used for packaging from 2010, the market for such products would be valued at €167 billion.
He said green technology was in line with the state’s four main thrusts of propelling k-economy, halal hub, professional and shared services, and industrial clusters, which include bio-technology, high technology and green technology.