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Sustainable Development and Environmental Degradable Plastics

Making packaging greener – biodegradable plastics

Australia has established a new sugar research body that will study using sugar for biodegradable plastics, ....

Degradable Polyethylenes

The new generation plastics fully degradable from symphony environmentals offers considerable advantages such as increased landfill capacities by 20-30% and can be engineered to degrade in as little as 60 days or over 5 years to suit end required application.

The process of degradation is through the breakdown of carbon-carbon bonds in the polyethylene reducing the molecular weight down to the level of 4000 from a quarter million, at which point the material can be digested by microorganisms in the soil and water. The DCP additive is neither water soluble nor toxic and hence safe for disposal in landfill sites.

The materials is also degradable under other conditions viz. photo and thermal degradation. The bags degrades to mulch in just 55 days.

The new polyethylene promises extensive applications that include small produce bags, carrier bags, industrial products packaging and even degradable plastic aprons. Refuse sacks are already in the market.


Biodegradable Polyester Amide

BAK, a semi-crystalline largely transparent thermoplastic developed by Bayers is a new biodegradable polyester amide plastic claimed to be 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable with excellent properties including high tensile produced without solvents, chlorine or any aromatic ingredients, adds to its green credentials. The biodegradability is achieved as it breaks down into carbondioxide, water, biomass under composting conditions. The rate of degradation is similar to other organic materials and properties similar to typical polyolefins. The new developed material also seem to be amenable to various process conversions that include extrusion, blow, thermoforming, colouring, printing etc., Applications are extensive including agrihorticulture and food etc.,

Recycling regulations have spurned ecologically safe consumer friendly bioplastics. The leading chemical industry in Germany, BASF is testing food bags and packaging from its ecoflex bioplastic which contains a biodegradable petrochemical polymer.

The latest development of bioplastic in Australia lends itself to biodegrade at temperatures as low as 0.5 degrees Celsius or mere exposure to moisture and micro organism in the soil. The technology appears to be unique as ascertained by Biodegradable Institute in New York.

Plastics has patented its development of the polymeric looking material - that looks, feels and is flexible like any conventional plastic. The process uses standard industrial extruders to produce cornstarch based pallets and can be converted by blowing and moulding. The prices are comparable to petroleum based plastics. However, the drawback of inadequate product preservation under adverse conditions need to be overcome. This could add to the cost and thus the costs should come down for plastic to expand and reach out wider markets. The market trials by leading multinational food companies should provide the lead for further developments.

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