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[Category: Oxo-biodegradable Plastic Products]
March 2013

[The Green Label Category for Oxo-biodegradable Plastic Products establishes grading criteria on
environmental, health and performance parameters for plastic products that biodegrade in the open
environment owing to the inclusion of a pro-degradant additive during manufacture. The standard
includes product specific environmental and health prerequisites, such as reduced eco-toxicity and
toxicity to humans.]

For additional information on the SGLS or any of the SEC’s The scheme hopes to create a backlash effect.sec. contact: Singapore Green Labelling Scheme 1 Kay Siang Road #04-02 Singapore 248922 +65 6337 6062 greenlabel@sec. Green Label offers certification of a range of products in conformance with its www. encouraging manufacturers to design and manufacture with the environment in The Green Label aims to help the public identify environment-friendly products that meet certain eco-standards specified by the scheme and seeks to encourage the level of eco-consumerism in Singapore as well as to identify the growing demand for greener products in the market.The Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS) was launched in May 1992 by the Ministry of the Environment. It was handed over to the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) on 5 June 1999 and is currently fully owned by the .

...................... Health and Environment Criteria ................... DEFINITIONS .... GREEN LABEL CERTIFICATION CHECKLIST ................ 5 IV.............................. 4 II.......................................................................... 11 ................................... 11 REFERENCES ......................................................... 6 Quality Control / Assurance ............................................. B.............................................................TABLE OF CONTENTS I......................................................................... 4 III.................................................. SCOPE ..................................................................... 6 A.................................. V................................................................................................. RATIONALE .................................................

e. causing visual pollution. semi-rigid applications i. In order to meet these concerns oxo-biodegradable plastics have been developed and are now in use worldwide. blocking drains. and products that do not require more than 2-3 years of useful life.I. turn ordinary plastic at the end of its useful life in the presence of oxygen into a material with a different molecular structure. either simultaneously or successively. and harming wildlife. These products are most commonly used in flexible plastics. it is no longer a plastic and has become small fragments of a material which is inherently biodegradable in the open environment. and oxo-biodegradation as “degradation resulting from oxidative and cell-mediated phenomena. carrier bags.000 Daltons in the open environment. and not the time taken for complete biodegradation to occur. SCOPE This standard establishes human health and environmental criteria for the certification of oxobiodegradable polypropylene and polyethylene products that degrade and biodegrade in the open environment. disposable products.e. or harming wildlife. from an environmental perspective. Businesses. blocking drains. the relevant timescale in relation to litter is the time taken for the molecular weight of the material to descend to 10. When the molecular-weight of the material has descended to 10. Oxo-degradation is defined by CEN (the European Standards Organisation) in TR15351 as “degradation resulting from oxidative cleavage of macromolecules. In other words. RATIONALE There is growing concern around the world that if plastic waste is not collected for disposal and gets into the open environment it can subsist for decades. packaging.”. films. and whether they Page | 4 . whether they will therefore degrade and biodegrade if they get into the open environment.” An additive can be included at manufacture to enable oxo-biodegradation i. consumers.000 Daltons after exposure to the open environment. agricultural products. At this stage the material is no longer capable of causing visual pollution. II. and government in Singapore need to know whether products manufactured or imported as oxo-biodegradable are in fact oxo-biodegradable.

The report required by Section A is therefore of particular importance because in addition to answering the above-mentioned questions it will give an indication of how long the abiotic degradation process of the tested material is likely to take. products. III. A body that develops standards and testing methods for a variety of materials. Any organic compound which participates in atmospheric photochemical reactions and has an initial boiling point lower than or equal to 280°C measured at standard conditions of temperature and pressure. usually DNA. or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer Mutagen A mutagen is a physical or chemical agent that changes the genetic material.iso. for the purpose of this category. ISO International Organization for Standardization. radionuclide. (http://www. DEFINITIONS Carcinogen A carcinogen is any substance. The report can be used as a basis for understanding whether the type of oxo-biodegradable plastic tested is suitable for the purpose for which it is intended. followed by cell-mediated phenomena. It is not possible to prescribe timescales in this category because the composition of oxobiodegradable plastics is designed to be variable and conditions in the open environment are also variable. Page | 5 . and services. Oxo-biodegradation Degradation resulting from oxidative. For this reason a Singapore Green Label category has been developed by reference to which these questions can be answered. of an organism and thus increases the frequency of mutations above the natural background level Reproductive toxin A reproductive toxin is a substance or agent that can cause adverse effects on the reproductive system Label Refers to the Singapore Green Label Material Safety Data Sheet A document that indicates the physical and chemical properties of a substance or product informing the reader of its intended use and safety precautions to be undertaken when using it ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials. IARC International Agency for Research on VOC Volatile Organic Compound.contain heavy metals and are eco-toxic.

hours. Sample is exposed for 48 molecular weight. ISO Please see Environmental management guidelines and a declaration that “Supporting Documents” in the adjacent column. and determination of gel content. manufacturing process on the Overseas manufacturing units shall comply with the relevant local legislation. The applicant must provide details of the manufacturing process b) Hazardous and Prohibited substances  A declaration to this effect signed The following substances shall not knowingly be incorporated by the CEO or Technical Director into the manufacturing process or final product: of the applicant company  Carcinogens  Mutagens  Endocrine disruptors such as phthalates & reproductive toxins c) Abiotic Degradation  Third party laboratory test reports. Page | 6 .    UV Ageing: The test is performed The extent of degradation shall be evaluated by measuring the according to ASTM D5208-09 loss in mechanical properties. GREEN LABEL CERTIFICATION CHECKLIST A. and Heat Ageing to simulate the degradation ASTM D3045: processes. the company is in the process of Emissions to the air and water during the production process obtaining the relevant certifications in Singapore shall be controlled within the environment within 2 years regulation limits set by the NEA in the Code of Practice on  Documentation Pollution Control (2000). decrease in viscometry Cycle C. by UV according to ASTM D5208 and ageing. and pro-degradant masterbatch suppliers shall be accredited to 14001. or required to have ISO (or equivalent)  environmental management systems in place. Separate abiotic degradation tests shall be performed.IV. Health and Environment Criteria CRITERIA SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS  a) Environmental Management Guidelines  A company manufacturing oxo-biodegradable plastics in Singapore is   14001 management certifications.

according to ASTM D3335- Element Of dry mg/ kg Element Of dry mg/ substance kg substance Cr 50 Zn 150 Mo 1 Cu 50 Se 0. in either case Gel Fraction < 5%  If the material has been shown by High Temperature Gel 09 shall be accepted Permeation Chromatography performed according to ASTM D6474 to have average viscosity molecular weight <10. or D5510 . the material is no longer a plastic.5 85A (2009).1% Mercury 0.Average viscometry molecular weight <10. or  Chemical elements concentrations test according to RoHS EN 2011/65/EU Or. which is time-consuming and expensive.000 g/mole (Daltons). and has become inherently biodegradable.75 Ni 25 As 5 Cd 0. It is not then necessary to show biodegradation by carbon evolution test according to ISO 17556 or similar standards. for RoHS EN 2011/65/EU. for ASTM D3335-85A  Chemical elements concentrations (2009): test.1% Page | 7 . At the end of each test period not exceeding 18 days the  Heat Ageing: Samples which have samples should show: been exposed for 48 hours as above . the limits are as follows: Lead 0.5 F 100 Pb 50 Hg 0. such as ASTM G21-  And. (ASTM D 3826-98(2008)) degradation.Elongation-at-break of at least 75% of the test samples at  Reports based on other test the initial strain of 0.1 mm/ (mm · min) should be 5% or methods able to evidence abiotic less.000 g/mole are tested according to ASTM (Daltons). d) The residual material from the above tests shall not exceed the Third party laboratory test reports: levels specified in the table below.

and of wastage shall be implemented during the manufacturing process in Singapore.1% Polybrominated biphenyls 0.  h) Water efficiency  of water Policies and measures to maximise efficient water usage and consumption minimise manufacturing process. .1% e) Storage life and service life  Third party laboratory test reports: Useful life of product should be at least six months. minimisation policies including Page | 8 .  Documentation during the plans to minimise the same Overseas manufacturing units shall comply with relevant local laws.01% Hexavalent chromium 0.  g) Energy efficiency   Documentation of energy Policies and measures to maximise energy efficiency and consumption during the minimise the release of GHG. and the manufacturing process in Singapore. shall be implemented during manufacturing process.1% Polybrominated diphenyl ethers 0. i) Waste management for manufacturing in Singapore   To be substantiated by Policies and measures to minimise waste generation and documentation demonstrating increase material recovery shall be implemented during the effective waste management and manufacturing and distribution processes.Cadmium 0.  excluding time in storage away from UV light and at a Service life testing shall be carried out according to ASTM D 882 temperature no higher than 30ºC  f) Food Contact Third party laboratory test reports For products intended for direct contact with food the product based on EC 1935/2004 or FDA or shall comply with European Commission Regulation No equivalent 1935/2004 or the relevant provisions of the United States FDA Code of Federal Regulations. relevant reduction targets Overseas manufacturing units shall comply with relevant local laws.

inspection NOTE  A written. prodegradant additive used base materials.g. Purpose for which the test material is intended (e. The limits on effluent discharge to sewers are listed by the PUB1 in “Requirements for Discharge to Sewer”. signed. the Environmental Public Health Act. The materials used during production must not be otherwise treated to prevent end-life recyclability. Full details of the material tested. on the letterhead of the laboratory. and its will perform in Singapore and its effects in each scenario. as specified by Singapore statutes such as the Environmental Protection and Management Act. any other additives. and dated report must be provided. as 1 Public Utilities Board (www. including thickness. shopping annual figures of waste production. polymer material used.) and suitability of using the oxo-biodegradable additive/ material in the product based on parameters such as application of the product. recording the following information: 1. life of the product. the Sewerage and Drainage Act and subsidiary regulations such as the Sewerage and Drainage (Trade Effluent) Regulations. effects in each scenario k) User Information  Relevant documentation and The product shall include printed information on length of useful sample of final product for visual life and disposal. possible waste pathways of the The applicant shall deliver documentation on how the material product in Singapore.  Overseas manufacturing units shall comply with relevant local laws j) Impact of Product entering various waste streams in Singapore  Relevant documentation on The product must be able to degrade in a natural setting.  Waste released in the environment shall not exceed acceptable levels of impact on the receiving land or water bodies.) Page | 9 . garbage sack etc.

An estimate of the time the test material is likely to take to degrade in the open environment in Singapore from onset of degradation to 10. Page | 10 .000 Daltons.well as end-of-life (where the product needs to biodegrade) 3. Results of each test and time taken to complete each test. 4. An estimate of storage and service life in Singapore 5.

Elsevier Science BV. all pro-degradant master-batch suppliers must provide a copy of their valid ISO 14001 Environmental Certification issued by an accredited certification body.  The manufacturer shall have a documented method to ensure that sources of materials or parts continue to comply with specifications. A-C Albertsson et al Dept. 361368 (1997). Scott. Albertsson et al “Environmental Degradation of Polyethylene” 169 Long Term Properties of Polyolefins (2004) 177 A. Scott “Abiotic control of Polymer Biodegradation” 5 Trends in Polymer Science. 1994. pp 79-91. a) Purchasing and receiving  New sources of materials or parts are evaluated to comply with specifications or purchasing documents. G. 46 Polymer Degradation and Stability (1994) 211.36 no. 16. (1995) 3075 G Scott et al “Degradable Polymers in Waste and Litter Control” Degradable Polymers: Page | 11 . of Polymer Technology. et al “Photo-oxidation and biodegradation of commercial photodegradable polyethylenes”. Arnaud.-C.  Records shall be maintained to show that products are made in accordance with documented methods and materials. Quality Control / Assurance CRITERIA In lieu of the conditions below. Jakubowicz et al “Kinetics of abiotic and biotic degradability of low-density polyethylene containing prodegradant additives and its effect on the growth of microbial communities” 96 Polymer Degradation & Stability (2011) 919 A. thermal aging and fungal biodegradation” 95 Polymer Degradation and Stability (2010) 1106e1114 G.B. REFERENCES          Degradable Polymers: Principles and Applications. R. 2002 G. b) Manufacturing  Documentation that describes production methods and materials used shall be provided. I. Kluwer Academic Publishers. V. Corti et al “Oxidation and biodegradation of polyethylene films containing prooxidant additives: Synergistic effects of sunlight exposure. 2nd Edition. Stockholm “Degradation product pattern and morphology changes as means to differentiate abiotically and biotically aged degradable polyethylene” Polymer vol. Ed. Scott “Environmental Biodegradation of Hydrocarbon Polymers” Biodegradable Plastics and Polymers. Royal Institute of Technology.

Chapter 13. Chapter 5. May 1999. Royal Society of Chemistry. ICSUNIDO.Scott ‘Green Polymers’. 37-48. Present Status and perspectives.” Polymers and the Environment. 68 Polymer Degradation & Stability (2000) 1-7 G. 1999. Chapter 12. Trieste. Page | 12 . p. 1995. G.     Principles and Applications. G.Scott “Environmentally degradable polyolefins: When.Scott “The role of Environmentally Degradable Polymers in Waste Management” Wastes Management. J. Why and How” Expert group meeting on Environmentally degradable plastics. 38-39. 2001. Chapman & Hall.Guillet “Plastics and the Environment” Degradable Polymers: Principles and Applications.Scott “Biodegradable Polymers. 1995. Chapman & Hall. G.