Is oxo-biodegradable technology the sustainability keystone for plastics?

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Response to comment by Anne Marie Mohan on oxo-biodegradable plastic. Regarding oxo-biodegradable plastic being a safe, sustainable alternative


We agree with Anne Marie Mohan that in an ideal world all plastic bags and packaging waste should be collected and re-cycled, but that is not yet possible especially in the developing world where a lack of technology, infra-structure and organisation often prevent waste from being collected at all, let alone sorted and recycled.
However, she has been misinformed about oxo-biodegradable plastic It does not just fragment, but converts at the end of its useful life into a biodegradable material. The American ASTM and British Standards authorities would not have included tests for biodegradability in ASTM D6954 or BS8472 if that were not the case. These standards also require proof that there are no toxic materials nor harmful residues.
Oxo-biodegradable plastic is made from conventional plastic to which small amounts on non-toxic metal salts have been added. These salts act as a catalyst to speed up the molecular breakdown of the polyolefin chains, and the timescale for breakdown can be controlled by adjusting the formula at manufacture.
At the end of the abiotic phase the material is no longer a plastic and will no longer have any visual effect on land or sea. It has also become polar so that it will stick to the earth and be much less likely to blow around as dust, as would conventional plastic. The material can then be broken down further by micro-organisms and fungi in the same way as a leaf - only quicker - and leaving nothing behind.
If the plastic is collected during its useful life it can be recycled along with conventional plastic, but if not, oxo-biodegradable plastic presents a practical solution to a major environmental problem. Don’t just take our word for it. You can find numerous reports and studies at www.biodeg.org We would be happy to supply further information.
The Secretariat,
Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association

The Secretariat more than 2 years ago

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