Posts including "End-of-life":

What is biodegradation?

2017-06-19T14:50:21+02:0019 June 2017|

Biodegradation is a chemical process in which materials are metabolised to CO2, water, and biomass with the help of microorganisms. The process of biodegradation depends on the conditions (e.g. location, temperature, humidity, presence of microorganisms, etc.) of the specific environment (industrial composting plant, garden compost, soil, water, etc.) and on the material or [...]

What is the recommended end-of-life option for bioplastics?

2023-03-15T14:05:26+01:002 March 2016|

Bioplastics are a large family of different materials with widely varying properties. Drop-in solutions, such as biobased PE or biobased PET can be mechanically recycled in established recycling streams. Biodegradable and compostable plastics can be organically recycled (industrial composting and anaerobic digestion). All bioplastics can also be treated in recovery streams (incineration and [...]

How do bioplastics behave in landfills? Do they release methane gas?

2017-06-19T15:55:48+02:002 March 2016|

Studies have shown that there is little risk posed by biodegradation of biodegradable plastics in landfills (Kolstad, Vink, De Wilde, Debeer: Assessment of anaerobic degradation of Ingeo® polylactides under accelerated landfill conditions, 2012). Most bioplastics remain inert in landfills. Landfilling remains a widely applied method of waste treatment in Europe. Forty-two percent of [...]

Are biodegradable plastics a solution for the problem of marine litter?

2017-06-19T15:53:34+02:002 March 2016|

Marine litter is one of the main threats to the environment. The largest share of marine litter consists of plastics that originate from a variety of sources, including shipping activities, ineffectively managed landfills, and public littering. In order to minimise and ultimately prevent further pollution of the marine environment, the full implementation of [...]

Are biodegradable plastics a solution for the littering problem?

2017-06-19T15:50:37+02:002 March 2016|

A product should always be designed with an efficient and appropriate recovery solution in mind. In the case of biodegradable plastic products, the preferable recovery solution is the separate collection together with the biowaste, organic recycling (e.g. composting in industrial composting plant or anaerobic digestion in AD plants), and hence the production of [...]

Are enzyme-mediated plastics truly biodegradable / compostable?

2017-06-19T15:47:46+02:002 March 2016|

Biodegradation is defined as the biochemical process by which materials metabolise completely to water, carbon dioxide, and biomass with the help of microorganisms. However, the term “biodegradable” is not valuable if the timeframe and the conditions are not specified and related scientific data is not provided. Currently, there are no known, scientifically reliable [...]

How can one recognize enzyme-mediated plastics?

2017-06-19T15:45:58+02:002 March 2016|

Enzyme-mediated plastics usually neither look nor feel different from conventional plastics. However, when a product carries claims such as “this plastic degrades faster”, or “makes conventional plastics like PE or PP biodegradable” together with “organic additives” and “eco-friendly”, it is likely that the material is an enzyme-mediated plastic. Related links: Background paper: [...]

What are enzyme-mediated plastics?

2023-03-15T14:06:22+01:002 March 2016|

Enzyme-mediated plastics are not bioplastics. They are not biobased and they are not proven to be biodegradable or compostable in accordance with any standard*. Enzyme-mediated plastics are conventional, non-biodegradable plastics (e.g. PE) enriched with small amounts of an organic additive. The degradation process is supposed to be initiated by microorganisms, which consume the [...]

How can one distinguish oxo-fragmentable from biodegradable plastics?

2017-06-19T15:37:38+02:002 March 2016|

Truly biodegradable plastics can be distinguished from so-called ‘oxo-fragmentable’ plastics through the use of labels and certification that adhere to acknowledged industry standards for biodegradation. The European standard for industrial compostable packaging EN13432, for example, is such a clear and specific option, and corresponding certification and labels such as the ‘Seedling’ logo (according [...]

What is the difference between oxo-fragmentable and biodegradable plastics?

2017-06-19T15:33:36+02:002 March 2016|

So-called ‘oxo-fragmentable’ products are made from conventional plastics and supplemented with specific additives in order to mimic biodegradation. In truth, however, these additives only facilitate a fragmentation of the materials, which do not fully degrade but break down into very small fragments that remain in the environment. Biodegradability is an inherent characteristic of [...]