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Symphony Announces Four Major Advances for d2w Oxo-biodegradable Plastic

Published on 2011-06-24. Author : SpecialChem

Symphony's CEO, Michael Laurier commented "Public pressure to ban plastic is driven by the fact that plastic litter can last for hundreds of years in the environment. It is now clear that there is no need to ban plastic just use d2w oxo-biodegradable technology to control the life of the plastic at little or no extra cost. It can still be re-used and recycled during its service-life, and can be safely incinerated and landfilled."

"In view of these four important developments the supermarkets and other commercial end-users can now move forward with confidence to adopt d2w technology for all their short-life plastic products made from polyethylene, polypropylene or polystyrene."


On 20th June 2011 the British Standards Institution ("BSI") published BS8472 which provides tests for biodegradation in soil and simulates the real-world behaviour of plastic products which get into the environment and cannot realistically be collected.

This is the first and only Standard in Europe for biodegradability of plastic litter in the environment a major breakthrough for d2w oxo-biodegradable plastics in Europe and around the world. BS8472 is the result of more than five years work in the Committees of BSI, in which Symphony played a leading role.

Until now, the only standard in Europe by which biodegradable plastics could be tested was EN13432 for plastics which biodegrade in the special conditions found in industrial composting, but compostable plastic can obviously not address the problem of plastic litter as it must first be collected.

Much confusion had been caused by allegations that a plastic could not be described as biodegradable unless it complied with EN13432 or its equivalents (American Standard D6400, Australian 4736 and the corresponding ISO Standards). This confusion is now at an end.


For the first time the EU commission have expressly recognised the problem of plastic litter in the environment, which d2w is designed to address. In their Consultation Document on Plastics Bags the Commission said: "Plastic carrier bags are packaging products with a short lifespan that due to their low weight and small size can easily escape the waste management flows and be conveyed to the sea by rain, drains and rivers. Once in the environment, plastic bags can last for hundreds of years. Because they last so long, every year the number of plastic bags in the litter stream increases. "

The Commission also said "In the current practice, a packaging product is acknowledged to be biodegradable if it biodegrades in industrial composting facilities in controlled conditions. However, a product that is compostable in an industrial facility will not necessarily biodegrade in natural conditions in the environment." The Commission made the important point that "Advertising a packaging product as biodegradable when in fact it will not biodegrade in natural conditions can be misleading for the consumer and can contribute to the proliferation of littering of products that will persist in the environment."

Symphony therefore expects that suppliers of compostable plastic will stop describing their product as "biodegradable." The Commission also said "The current legislative provisions do not allow for a clear distinction between biodegradability and compostability highlighting the need for a Standard for oxo-biodegradable plastic, which has now been published as BS8472."


In February 2011 the UK Environment Agency published a Life-Cycle Assessment which showed that oxo-biodegradable bags have a better LCA than paper or compostable plastic bags.


In April 2011 the British Plastics Federation submitted to the UK Government (DEFRA) a scientific dossier which proves the biodegradability, non eco-toxicity, and recyclability of oxo-biodegradable plastics.

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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