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Oxo-biodegradable plastics  #12 (94), 2010

EPI Environmental Technologies Inc. offers a wide range of oxo-biodegradable additives for such resins as polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. In Russia the product range of the Canada-based company is supplied by Eco-Safe Ltd.

The term of "oxo-biodegradable plastics" occurred not long ago but now it occupies its niche in a long list of tailor-made polymer materials.
Oxo-biodegradable plastics are produced by means of adding special agents into base polymers such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. The technology is approved by ASTM International and meets ASTM D6954-04 standard.
EPI Environmental Technologies is a pioneer in developing fully degradable additives. The first trial samples were developed in 1992. Nowadays the company offers a wide range of oxo-biodegradable products for polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene.
Catalyst additives accelerate polymer material degradation process up to 10 times. The two-stage process of polymer degradation process – oxidation and subsequent biodegradation with microorganisms – produces water, CO2 and biomass.
The catalyst can be added to polymer during extrusion of injection molding process.
It is noteworthy that depending on polymer structure, processing method as well as product dimensions the additive formulation is adjusted and the formulation gets its special name and number. For example DCP  128 additive is applied in plastic bag production process.
EPI Environmental Technologies additives formulations allow to dose them into polymer matrix as much as 1 weight percent. Adding less than 1 percent has no sense as it would not accelerate degradation process. If the company states in specification that 1 or 2 percent has to be added to polymer it is forbidden to apply greater or less quantities in any case. It is necessary to follow the instructions for additive dosing in order to degradation process would be foreseeable.
Unfortunately, there is no universal additive for nay polymer or product type. So if a plastic processor is being offered with a single biodegradable additive for any polymer it should make a conclusion on the extent of additive producer's competence in biodegradation.
According to ASTM D6954-04 standard EPI Environmental Technologies performs tests on oxo-biodegradable plastics in three stages:
–destruction (oxidation) test;
–biodegradation (with microorganisms) test;
–toxicity and environmental impact test.
According to tests results the customer is provided with certificate approving the fact that the plastic is biodegradable.
EPI Environmental Technologies biodegradable additives are free of heavy metals and are approved for food contact according the requirements of:
– U S Food and Drug Administration (FDA);
– European Food Safety Authority (EFSA);
– Council Directive 89/109/EEC;
– Plastics Directive 2002/72/EC;
– Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

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