Kureha PGA, a unit of Kureha America, has officially opened its $150m polyglycolic acid polymer plant in Belle, West Virginia, US.

The plant is expected to produce up to 8.8 million pounds of the chemical annually.

Polyglycolic acid is a high-strength biodegradable plastic used in food and beverage packaging, due to its low gas permeability.

When used in carbonated soft drink bottles made from PET, the material reduces the amount of carbon dioxide that escapes, providing longer shelf life, while maintaining recyclability.

The plant is the only facility in the world to produce large quantities of olyglycolic acid.