Oxo- Biodegradable Plastics
Oxo-Biodegradble Plastic the New Technology
This new technology produces plastic which degrades by a process of OXO-degradation. The technology is based on a very small amount of pro-degradant additive being introduced into the manufacturing process, thereby changing the behaviour of the plastic. Degradation begins when the programmed service life is over (as controlled by the additive formulation) and the product is no longer required.
The plastic does not just fragment, but will be consumed by bacteria and fungi after the additive has reduced the molecular structure to a level which permits living micro-organisms access to the carbon and hydrogen. It is therefore "biodegradable." This process continues until the material has biodegraded to nothing more than CO2, water, and humus, and it does not leave fragments of petro-polymers in the soil. Oxo-biodegradable plastic passes all the usual ecotoxicity tests, including seed germination, plant growth and organism survival (daphnia, earthworms) tests carried out in accordance with ON S 2200 and ON S 2300 national standards.
Oxo-biodegradable film has been certified as safe for long-term contact with any food type at temperatures up to 40°C, and oxo-biodegradable bags are being bought and distributed by the UK Soil Association, and used for direct contact with organic food products.
Oxo-biodegradable plastic products are now being supplied by the leading UK supermarkets, Tesco and the Co-op. In Portugal the country's largest retail group, Sonae, has adopted oxo-biodegradable plastic carrier bags for their Continente, Mondelo and Mondelo Bonjour supermarket chains. Other major users include Marriott, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, BUPA, News International, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Walmart. Oxo-biodegradable plastic is ideal for frozen food packaging, as it can be kept for extended periods at low temperature, and will then quickly degrade when it becomes a waste product at normal temperatures.
The length of time it takes for oxo-biodegradable products to degrade can be ‘programmed' at the time of manufacture and can be as little as a few months or as much as a few years. They are protected from degradation by special antioxidants until ready for use, and storage-life will be extended if the products are kept in cool, dark conditions.
Unlike PVC, the polymers from which oxo-biodegradable plastics are made do not contain organo-chlorine. Nor do oxo-biodegradable polymers contain PCBs, nor do they emit methane or nitrous oxide even under anaerobic conditions.
From: Oxo-Biodegradble Plastics Association http://www.biodeg.org/