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Carolina Researchers Clear Confusion & Report Beneficial Effects of Oxo-biodegradable Plastic

SpecialChem / Jun 17, 2011

Researchers at North Carolina University, USA published a report on the performance of biodegradable plastics in landfill. It concluded that some of them might be doing more harm than good. The findings were published online in "Environmental Science & Technology."

Symphony has issued the following statement: "It is really important not to confuse the two fundamentally different types of biodegradable plastic. The NC State report is about hydro-biodegradable or "compostable" plastic, which is usually made from vegetable matter. This type of plastic is intended for industrial composting, and that is why a rapid rate of degradation is required by ASTM D6400; EN13432; and Australian 4736. It is not designed to degrade in the open environment, and it will emit methane (a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2) deep in landfill."

Agreeing with the NC State University report, but they have not distinguished between "compostable" and Oxo-biodegradable plastic. Oxo-biodegradable plastic will not cause the problem they have identified, because it has a deliberately slower rate of degradation and it is inert in landfill in the absence of oxygen.

The fundamental point about Oxo-biodegradable technology is that the additive, included at low cost at manufacture, turns ordinary plastic at the end of its useful life in the presence of oxygen into a material with a different molecular structure. At that stage it is no longer a plastic and has become a material which is inherently biodegradable in the open environment in the same way as a leaf. Approximate timescale for degradation can be set at manufacture as required.

About Symphony Environmental Technologies

Symphony Environmental Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc that is a British Public Company established in 1995 and dedicated to finding technical solutions to the world's environmental problems.

Symphony has its own laboratories and test facilities in England where it constantly tests, develops, and improves its products, working closely with universities and other specialist scientific canters in the UK and overseas. Symphony's team has a total of more than 100 years experience in the manufacture of plastic products, and is able to provide a high-quality product, and an after-sales service without parallel in the industry. During 2010 Symphony made substantial investments in the latest equipment, and strengthened its technical team with the addition of a PhD in polymer science and a BSc in physics. Symphony has also strengthened its marketing and sales teams, and is now established in larger and more modern operating facilities, with room for expansion.

Symphony is a member of the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association; the Society for the Chemical Industry (UK); the British Plastics Federation (BPF); The European Organization for Packaging and the Environment (EUROPEN); and the British Brands Group. Symphony actively participates in the work of the British Standards Institute (BSI); the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM); the European Standards Organization (CEN); and the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Source: Symphony Environmental Technologies


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