Regional News  |  June 21, 2023

BASF opens Biodegradation and Microplastics Center of Excellence in North America

  • Center located at BASF’s site in Wyandotte, Michigan will support customers seeking a broad range of biodegradable circular economy solutions
  • BASF officially opens regional biodegradation laboratory at ribbon cutting ceremony

WYANDOTTE, MI, June 21, 2023 – BASF has officially opened its Biodegradation and Microplastics Center of Excellence at its site in Wyandotte, Michigan to help customers across North America achieve their circularity and sustainability goals. The center’s targets include providing holistic, tailored solutions directly for customers supported through scientific studies and consulting, increasing speed-to-market for circular economy products, and advocating on sustainability topics. The center also includes a biodegradation laboratory, which BASF officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by BASF representatives from across North America within research and business divisions.

“The Wyandotte site houses a broad range of business, manufacturing and R&D activities within BASF. I’m excited to see the center at the site furthering BASF’s support to our customers and our company’s goals toward a sustainable future,” shares Benjamin Knudsen, Vice President of Research North America. “I am convinced our Center of Excellence differentiates BASF as a regional leader in biodegradable and microplastic product solutions because our expertise is committed toward shaping sustainable innovations and supporting circular economy strategies.” The Wyandotte site has a broad R&D portfolio including chemicals, materials, formulations, analytics, and piloting. Because of this interdisciplinary setup, the site is poised with technical competencies, collaborative networks and centralized analytics, streamlining the R&D process.

When it comes to analytical testing at the Wyandotte labs, information gained will vary from disintegration performance of compostable materials, to biodegradation performance of novel chemistries, to unique insights on microplastics and the behavior of plastics through their life cycles.

“From the technical perspective, we are advancing cutting edge analytics and sound scientific breakthroughs in the field of microplastics and biodegradables while we support our customers’ needs,” says Dr. Jeanne Hankett, Leader for the Center of Excellence and the Microplastics Research Liaison for North America. “By advancing our understanding of current materials and the characterization techniques needed to examine next generation materials, we help pave the way for a more sustainable future. This same logic can be applied towards advocacy – through extensive external collaborations, colleagues help us drive the development of new methods, educate stakeholders, and create paths forward to achieve a circular economy.”

A regional lab supporting a global vision

As part of the Center of Excellence, the biodegradation laboratory is starting operations at the site working closely with customers to address the important end of life performance of their products. “The lab is an important tool which enables us to directly support our customers by accelerating their product development processes with measurable data they would not have had access to in-house,” says Dr. Jeanette Hanna, Biopolymers Market Development Manager for North America. “I am proud to collaborate with colleagues across BASF in the development of both the Biodegradation Laboratory and the Center of Excellence which will be able to provide a comprehensive service for our customers.”  

The new laboratory will support biodegradable product development primarily in food service and packaging, agriculture, detergents, cleaning, and cosmetics industries. Furthermore, the lab will have the capability to assess rates of disintegration for novel compostable products designed to divert food waste to composting facilities. Closing the loop in the food value chain has a range of positive environmental impacts, from reducing potent methane generated in landfills to creating valuable compost that supports climate resilience by sequestering carbon, increasing water holding capacity for dry soils, preventing erosion, and restoring organic carbon to depleted agricultural soils.

The building of the biodegradation laboratory in North America is part of a broader network of similar labs at BASF globally, all of which sharing the same vision.

“For BASF to develop fully biodegradable products for our customers, this requires a fundamental understanding of chemistry and of biological processes combined with digital tools. It is essential to test these products under various framework conditions, which, among others, means, in different environments around the globe,” says Prof. Andreas Künkel, Vice President, Biopolymers Research in Ludwigshafen, Germany. “BASF has significantly expanded its R&D activities relating to biodegradability over the past 10 years and is now seen as the leading company in this field. The opening of Biodegradation and Microplastics Center of Excellence in Wyandotte is one further important step to strengthen this position.”


About BASF

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has approximately 16,000 employees in North America and had sales of $25.7 billion in 2022. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. More than 111,000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €87.3 billion in 2022. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the United States. Further information at

Joshua Dunn
Joshua Dunn
North America Innovation Communications Manager
Wyandotte Ribbon Cutting.JPG

Benjamin Knudsen, VP of Group Research North America, marks the official opening of the North American Biodegradation Laboratory with (left to right) Matt Orehowsky, Director for Analytical & Material Science North America, Dr. Jeanette Hanna, Biopolymers Market Development Manager - North America, Dr. Jeanne Hankett, Lead for the Biodegradation & Microplastics Center of Excellence, and Dr. Joe Dellamorte, Wyandotte Site General Manager.
Last Update June 21, 2023