Following the recent announcement that a 5p levy will be charged from October 2015 in England on all single use PE carrier bags obtained from retailers with over 250 employees, UK firm Enzymoplast has submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee for what it claims is a “biodegradable and recyclable solution for plastic carrier bags”. The group claims that with its technology, “plastic carrier bags do not have to be either biodegradable or recyclable but can be both”. ISO14855 and EN13432 are the accepted industry standards for biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging.
One of the Government’s proposals is that the levy will not apply to biodegradable carrier bags, which is a concern for the recycling industry in the UK as such materials may contaminate the recycling stream. Enzymoplast says that its product is based on an enzymatic reaction in which the enzymes remain inert until they come into contact with a microbial source. The firm’s claim is that the product is recyclable with standard PE waste streams without contamination. Enzymoplast has recently been certified according to ASTM D 7209 – 2006, the Standard Guide for Waste Reduction, Resource Recovery and Use of Recycled Polymeric Materials and Products.
Wayne Dobson, Sales and Marketing Director, said “Once reprocessed, the PE containing the enzyme pack will be diluted to such an extent that the enzymatic reaction simply will not start. The consequence of this is that the recyclate will retain all of the inherent mechanical properties of standard plastic recyclate. If the product containing Enzymoplast does not enter the recycling stream, then the material can be reintroduced into the carbon cycle, whatever the End of Life of the material”.