Masterbatch Additives for Manufacturing Biodegradable Plastic Packaging and Products

Additives for Manufacturing Biodegradable Plastic Packaging and Products

• Basic Technology • • • • • Marketing Considerations Biodegradation Mechanism Manufacturing Processes Applications New Developments

Basic Technology
• Bio-Tec additives make all polyethylene and polypropylene plastic packaging and products fully biodegradable
– – – – one percent loading no special manufacturing requirements physical properties of applications unchanged fully tested for polyolefins but preliminary results show that it will work with PS and is likely to work with many other plastic resins; more testing required but is proceeding well

Figure 2.

Study of Film Samples Buried in Soil for One Month
Otherwise identical 40 µm LLDPE blown film samples (the test samples contained one percent load, by weight of the company’s MBP while the control samples were without the company’s additive) were buried in the same soil conditions for one month then removed and photographed using a scanning electron microscope.

Control
Photographs courtesy of Hyosung Corporation, Korea

Test

Basic Technology
• The three “R’s” of environmental friendliness for plastic products make better music as a little “R(s)&B”
– – – – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, & Biodegrade

Basic Technology
•Reduce – the strength-to-weight-ratio for plastic packaging and products is far superior to other materials thereby dramatically reducing the overall amount of material used – the additives for biodegradation do not negatively affect the strength of the plastic products (the plastic products do not need to be made thicker when using the additives)

Basic Technology
•Reuse
– many plastic products can be reused for other purposes before eventual disposal – the MBA mechanism for the breakup of the long polymer chains does not use heat, light or mechanical stress as initiators therefore things like plastic shopping bags and coffee cans can be reused indefinitely

Basic Technology
•Recycle
– Recycling of plastic materials makes sense when natural resources are truly saved – Plastic products with our additives can be recycled both by the manufacturer in their internal scrap regrind recycling and in postconsumer recycling programs – Additives can be used with recycled resins as well

Basic Technology
•Biodegrade
– All of the commodity plastic resins used in the world today will take hundreds of years or more to degrade naturally in the environment – Plastic products with our additives will biodegrade to become some of the soils’ organic components in a hundredth of that time or less

Marketing Considerations
•FTC Guidelines
– “An unqualified claim that a product or package is degradable, biodegradable or photodegradable should be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature, i.e., decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal.”
-- Federal Trade Commission Part 260. Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims, Section 260.7(b); Authority: 15 U.S.C. §§ 41-58; emphasis mine

Marketing Considerations
–Examples
• Claim of degradable misleading if a product needs oxygen and/or sunlight to degrade and product is mostly disposed of in landfills where it gets neither. • A manufacturer makes an unqualified claim that its package is compostable. Although municipal or institutional composting facilities exist where product is sold, package will not break down into usable compost in a home compost pile or device. To avoid deception, manufacturer should disclose that package is not suitable for home composting.

Marketing Considerations
• Myth: If a product does not pass the ASTM D6400 standard in the allotted time period it is not biodegradable
– Tactic of some competitors and other interested parties is to purposely blur the concepts of compostability under commercial conditions (ASTM D6400) with compostability under home composting conditions and biodegradability as a generic concept
– ASTM D6400 (and equivalent tests, i.e. DIN V54 900, et al.) Conditions
• • • • High heat Moisture control Oxygenation High concentration of microorganisms

Marketing Considerations
–BPI (Biodegradable Plastics Institute)
• Are these products designed for composting at home, also? No, the Compostable Logo identifies products that will perform satisfactorily in well managed municipal and commercial facilities-ones that meet the requirements found in the USCC’s Field Operator’s Guide. We will insist that producers use the appropriate language in the conjunction with the Logo to make this distinction clear. While there are hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of home composters, their piles or composting units typically do not generate the temperatures needed to assure rapid biodegradation of this new class of materials. For this reason, claims are limited to larger facilities. -- FAQ from www.bpiworld.org (website of BPI) • The Certification Program is limited to an assessment of whether a product presented for review by an applicant will biodegrade and disintegrate in accordance with standard D-6400-99 of the American Society for Testing and Materials (“ASTM”) entitled “Standard Specifications for Compostable Plastics,” provided that to the extent products certified under this program are not composted under best composting management practices, the certification and logo shall be deemed inapplicable. – Certification Program for Products Made of Compostable Plastics -Program Rules, March 24, 2000, pg. 4

Marketing Considerations
• Where are the ASTM D 6400 conditions directly applicable?
– When the plastic packaging or other product is going to be processed by a commercial composter – Not if the product is to be composted at home – Not if the product is to be landfilled – Not if the product is littered – Not if the product is an agricultural product eventually to be tilled into a field – Not if the product is for erosion control purposes

Biodegradation Mechanism
• If a plastic product has at least one percent of one of our additives, by weight, then the entire product is fully biodegradable • The only condition that is necessary for a plastic product with our additives to biodegrade is that it needs to be in constant contact with other biodegrading material

Biodegradation Mechanism
• Where are these conditions found? – Home composting – Commercial composting – Landfills – Buried in, or otherwise in contact with, soil
• Erosion control netting and fabrics • Agricultural films • Litter

Biodegradation Mechanism
• Where are these conditions not found?
– – – – Warehouses Store shelves Offices Homes

• The proprietary, trade secreted technology structures communities of microorganisms into biofilms that produce necessary byproducts that breakdown long polymer chains
– Anaerobic (without the presence of free oxygen) – Aerobic (in the presence of free oxygen)

Manufacturing Processes
• • • • Extrusion (blown or cast) Injection molding Blow molding Roto-molding

Applications
• Automobile and airplane parts • Film packaging and product
– Food packaging – Agricultural film – Etc.

• Toys • Milk, shampoo, and oil bottle • Any plastic product

New Developments
• Accelerator spray
– Composting (biodegradation in 45 to 60 days) – Agricultural films

• Use with other resins
– Polystyrene – PVC – Etc.

Conclusion
• Make all PE and PP products fully biodegradable • No toxic residue • Manufacture clear or in any color with no appreciable change in physical properties • FDA compliant for use in applications with food contact • Products can be marketed as “biodegradable” because they will biodegrade aerobically or anaerobically and without the need for additional reaction to heat, light or physical stress and therefore will biodegrade wherever there is other biodegradation occurring.

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