Bioplastics - It's a better choice - English 1
Non-biodegradable bioplastics - degrades exactly
the same as fossil-based plastics through heat, UV light, hot water, oxygen and solvents. PE, PP, PET, and PA fall into this group and are highly suitable for mechanical recycling, which is the most commonly used method today. Biodegradable plastics - degraded by microorganisms, with or without the presence of oxygen. Moisture and heat are contributing factors. This is full degradation resulting in the end products water, carbon dioxide and/or methane, and biomass. There are fossil-based plastics that are biodegradable, PBAT, for example. Compostable plastic - for a biodegradable plastic to be classified as compostable, degradation must occur within a specified timefame as defined in European standard EN 13432. Oxygen is needed in this process for the microorganisms to be able to act quickly, as is a suitable balance of moisture and heat. Compostability has a lot to do with the product dimensions, whereby the product's thickness affects the rate of degradation. Therefore, thin products break down more quickly than products with greater material thickness. Certified compostability It is almost impossible for an end consumer to easily determine whether a product is made with bioplastic or conventional fossil-based plastic. And making the distinction between biodegradable plastic and compostable plastic is equally challenging. To this end, standards, certifications and marking symbols have been established. Certain European standards are known as harmonized standards, which means that the European Commission has instructed the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to specify the content of the standard. Certification under such a standard is performed by independent, third-party laboratories. There are currently a number of different certification systems for industrially compostable plastics. They apply similar testing methods and criteria, but use different certification marks. Certification is indicated by certification marks, which provides the end consumer with The Seedling symbol in the middle of the mark is a registered trademark of European Bioplastics, which indicates that a product or raw material meets the requirements under the standard EN 13432/EN for industrial compostability, in accordance with independent certification bodies, such as DIN Certco and TüV Austria (Vincotte). For example, Standard EN 13432 stipulates that compostability means that at least 90 percent of the plastic is able to be converted to carbon dioxide within six months, and that after three months of composting, no more than ten per cent of remaining plastic fragments may be larger than two millimetres. Testing takes place in industrial composting plants under optimal process conditions in terms of moisture, temperature and the presence of oxygen. Even if bioplastics meet the requirements for industrial composting, degradation in nature can still take considerably longer than the halfyear period in the standard, since our natural environment does not always offer optimal conditions to support the degradation process. Oxo-degradation Products that are claimed to be oxo-biodegradable do not fulfil the requirements in Standard EN 13432 for industrial compostability. According to currently applied definitions, oxo-fragmentation is not the same thing as biodegradation. Oxo-degradable plastic is therefore not considered to be a bioplastic but a fossil plastic with an additive that fragments the plastic or product into smaller particles that remain in the environment for a long period of time. IT'S A BETTER CHOICE – BIOPLASTICS 17 a guarantee that the product is industrially compostable. It is not only the bioplastics themselves that undergo testing, product-related features are also tested, such as the paint, label, adhesives used in packaging, for example.