Using imported resins made from U.S. corn in Blair, Neb., Taiwan has long been one of the pioneers in the production of packaging materials made from polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic-like material used to make everything from plastic cups to egg cartons and even noodle soup containers.

Wei Mon Industry Co. Ltd., a sewage pipe manufacturing company dedicated to the reduction of Taiwan’s environmental waste, now has its eyes set on the greater Asian market. According to Clover Chang, U.S. Grains Council director in Taipei, Taiwan currently exports about 65 percent of finished products made from PLA. As the main producer of PLA products in the country, Wei Mon imports about 10,000 tons of PLA resins a year to support its growing production.

Chang also said Wei Mon is looking at the Chinese market in particular with plans to extend its business to the Mainland.

“The company has already ordered several containers of PLA resins to be directly imported from Blair to China,” he said. “However, to further spur the rapid introduction of PLA into the Chinese market, China’s Environmental Protection Agency needs to develop a policy mandating a certain percentage of bioplastics in the production of single-use disposable food containers, similar to Taiwan’s policy which mandates a 35 percent usage rate.”

In the meantime, Chang said the future of Wei Mon rests in research and development and the production of “Plant Paper,” the trade name for materials made from paper laminated with PLA film and used to produce cups, lunch boxes, plates and more.

“’Plant Paper’ is expected to be tomorrow’s star for Wei Mon,” Chang said.

The Council has worked with Wei Mon since 2002 and continues to find partnerships with companies like Wei Mon where U.S. value-added products can be readily used.